The debate that followed the publication of the first results of the Hormone Replacement Therapy trials, gave many women the impression that experts did not agree on the topic of HRT. However, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, The North American Menopausal Society, and The Endocrine Society agree that healthy, recently menopausal, women can use HRT for relief of symptoms of menopause. They also take the position that all women should understand the facts about hormone therapy.
Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT, also known as Estrogen Replacement Therapy and Menopausal Hormone Therapy, uses female hormones to treat common symptoms of menopause. Doctors can prescribe it after or during menopause. Once a woman’s periods stop, her hormone levels fall, which causes her to experience uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Hormone therapy replaces the hormones, progesterone and estrogen, that her body no longer produces.
A woman’s body needs estrogen. It prepares the uterus to receive a fertilized egg in women of childbearing age. It also controls how the body uses calcium and raises good cholesterol. However, women who still have their uterus should take estrogen along with progesterone. Failure to do so raises their risk for endometrium cancer.
There are several types of HRTs, namely:
- Estrogen therapy
- Estrogen/progesterone/progestin therapy
However, before taking any type of hormone therapy, women should first consult with their doctors. A doctor can help one weigh the pros and cons; and suggest the best option based on one’s personal medical history, family medical history, and age.
In recent years, however, some studies have shown that women taking estrogen replacement therapy have a higher risk of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke. Nevertheless, several studies based on Women’s Health Initiative research have focused on the way the therapy is taken, the type of therapy, and when the treatment started. With all of the contradictory research findings, it is easy to see why many women are confused about HRT. Yet, overall, it’s still best to consult a physician when it comes to making an informative therapy choice that will work best for each woman.