Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment in which those hormones are replaced which body stops to produce after menopause. This therapy has several benefits and risks.
The Benefits are as following:
- Systemic Hormone Therapy–
Systematic estrogen hormone that is available in pills, skin patches, gels, creams, and sprays is considered to be the most effective treatment for menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. This can make vaginal symptoms of menopause like dryness, itching, burning and discomfort in course of intercourse easy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends systemic estrogen hormone to prevent the bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis. However, medical professionals often don’t recommend it and prescribe medications called bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis.
- Vaginal Products in Small Dose–
Vaginal products that come are available in cream, tablet and ring form can be effectively used to treat vaginal symptoms along with some urinary symptoms. However, you should use low dose of these products. Vaginal products in small quantity will not help you to deal with hot flashes, night sweats or osteoporosis.
In order to prevent postmenopausal conditions, long term use of systemic hormone therapy is not recommended by most of the medical professionals. But, some data reveals that use of estrogen in postmenopausal years may decrease the risk of heart disease. A recently done study has revealed that this treatment reduces the risk of mortality and heart failure.
The women whose menopause happens naturally may take progesterone with estrogen. This is because if you take estrogen alone, it may stimulate the growth of the lining of the uterus that increases the risk of uterine cancer. However, the women have removed their uterus need not take progesterone.
· The risks of hormone therapy:
Going for hormone replacement therapy has several side effects too, which are as following:
As per a recently done clinical trial, this treatment may cause heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.
Another study on the same subject has revealed that this treatment might increase the risk of breast cancer as well as heart disease.
Interestingly, this treatment might make it much difficult to detect breast cancer by making your breasts’ appearance denser on mammograms.
You may be encouraged to go for this treatment after reading benefits and discouraged after reading the risks. However, we will say that you should not decide whether you should take hormone replacement therapy or not on the basis of this article, but you should consult an expert medical professional and then only reach any decision.
Who should consider hormone therapy?
Despite the health risks, systemic estrogen is still the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. The benefits of hormone therapy may outweigh the risks if you’re healthy and:
- Experience moderate to severe hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms
- Have lost bone mass and either can’t tolerate or aren’t benefiting from other treatments
- Stopped having periods before age 40 (premature menopause) or lost normal function of your ovaries before age 40 (premature ovarian insufficiency)
Women who experience an early menopause, particularly those who had their ovaries removed and don’t take estrogen therapy until at least age 45, have a higher risk of:
- Coronary heart disease (CHD)
- Earlier death
- Parkinsonism (Parkinson’s-like symptoms)
- Anxiety or depression
- Sexual function concerns
Early menopause typically lowers the risk of most types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. For women who reach menopause prematurely, protective benefits of hormone therapy usually outweigh the risks.
Your age, type of menopause and time since menopause play a significant role in the risks associated with hormone therapy. Talk with your doctor about your personal risks.