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Demystifying Hormone Replacement Therapy: Benefits And Risks

Hormone therapy (HT) is used to treat symptoms of menopause. You may choose hormone treatment based on your age, family medical history, personal medical history, and the severity of your menopausal symptoms. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of HT, its various forms, and other available alternatives with your doctor.

It’s critical to comprehend the advantages and disadvantages of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The possible hazards of HRT have been highlighted in numerous pieces of research during the past 15 years. Thus, HRT has thus been met with resistance from particular women and medical professionals. However, new research indicates that the hazards of HRT are minimal and typically exceeded by the advantages.

Female hormones are present in the drug known as hormone replacement treatment. You take the drug to replenish the lost estrogen caused by menopause. Hot flashes and vaginal soreness are two common menopausal symptoms most frequently treated with hormone therapy. In postmenopausal women, hormone therapy has also been shown to slow bone thinning and fracture risk.

What Are The Risks Of Hormone Therapy?

The use of hormone treatment carries several hazards. The type of hormone therapy, the dosage, the duration of treatment, and your health risks all affect these hazards. For best results, hormone therapy should be customized for each patient and periodically reevaluated to ensure that the advantages still exceed the disadvantages.

The estrogen-progestin tablet (Prempro) used in hormone replacement therapy was found to raise the risk of several serious diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer

Subsequent studies have suggested that these risks vary depending on the following:


Women who start hormone therapy at age 60 or older or more than ten years after menopause are more likely to develop the illnesses mentioned above. However, if hormone replacement therapy begins before age 60 or within ten years of menopause, the advantages seem to exceed the dangers.

Type of Hormone Therapy

The hazards of hormone therapy change based on the estrogen dose and type, whether administered alone or in combination with progestin and other factors.

Health History

If hormone replacement treatment is proper for you, it will depend on your medical history, family history, and risk factors for cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, liver disease, and osteoporosis.

You and your doctor should consider each of these concerns before choosing whether hormone therapy is viable for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Hormone Therapy?

The benefits of hormone therapy may exceed the hazards if you’re healthy and if you:

  • Have Moderate To Severe Hot Flashes: The most effective method of treating bothersome menopausal hot flashes and night sweats is still systemic estrogen therapy.
  • Have Other Symptoms Of Menopause: Estrogen can ease vaginal symptoms of menopause, like dryness, itching, burning, and discomfort with intercourse.
  • Need To Prevent Bone Loss Or Fractures: Osteoporosis, a disease that thins the bones, is precluded by systemic estrogen. To treat osteoporosis, however, doctors typically suggest drugs called bisphosphonates. However, if you are unable to tolerate it or are not responding to other therapies, estrogen therapy might be able to help.
  • Experience Early Menopause Or Have Estrogen Deficiency: Your body is exposed to lower estrogen levels than women who go through typical menopause when your ovaries are surgically removed before age 45, when you stop getting periods before age 45 (premature or early menopause), or when you lose normal ovarian function before age 40 (primary ovarian insufficiency). You can reduce your chance of developing illnesses, including osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and mood swings with estrogen therapy.

If You take Hormone Therapy, How Can You Reduce Risk?

Talk to your doctor about these strategies:

1. Find The Best Product And Delivery Method For You

It is possible to take estrogen as a pill, patch, gel, vaginal cream, slow-releasing suppository, or vaginal ring. A low-dose vaginal cream, tablet, or ring containing estrogen is typically preferable to an oral pill or a skin patch if you only experience vaginal symptoms associated with menopause.

2. Minimize The Amount Of Medication You Take

To address your symptoms, take the smallest dose that works in the shortest length of time. You need enough estrogen if you’re under 45 to guard against the long-term negative impacts of low estrogen levels on your health. Your doctor could advise longer-term treatment if you experience persistent menopausal symptoms that significantly lower your quality of life.

3. Seek Regular Follow-Up Care

Visit your doctor frequently to have screenings, including mammograms and pelvic exams, as well as to make sure the advantages of hormone therapy still outweigh the risks.

4. Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Include exercise and physical activity in your daily routine, consume a nutritious diet, keep your weight in check, abstain from alcohol and smoking, manage stress, and treat chronic health disorders like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

You’ll also require progestin if you haven’t had a hysterectomy and are taking systemic estrogen therapy. Your doctor can assist you in identifying the delivery strategy that provides the greatest convenience and advantages with the fewest risks and costs.

What are the Basic Types of Hormone Therapy?

The main goal of hormone replacement treatment is to replenish the estrogen that your body no longer produces after menopause. The two main forms of estrogen therapy are as follows:

Systemic Hormone Therapy

A larger amount of estrogen is often present in systemic estrogen, which can be taken as a tablet, skin patch, ring, gel, cream, or spray and is absorbed throughout the body. It can be used to treat any of the typical menopause symptoms.

Low-Dose Vaginal Products

In cream, pill, or ring form, low-dose vaginal estrogen treatments reduce the amount of estrogen absorbed by the body. Due to this, low-dose vaginal treatments are often solely used to treat menopausal symptoms of the vaginal and urinary systems.

Final Words

The choice to use hormone therapy must be highly individualized. Not everyone benefits from hormone therapy. Talk with your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of hormone therapy during a visit to the doctor’s office reserved just for this topic. To make the choice that is ideal for you, you’ll need the time to discuss all the topics and respond to queries.


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