Health

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Safe?

Women who are unable to produce enough estrogen can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Hormonal insufficiency presents with symptoms that can be unbearable, sometimes like hot flashes and mood swings. Depending on your exact problem, your doctor should choose a hormone replacement method that is safe for you and give you the required dose.

Hormone replacement therapy has some side effects and that is why you should consult a doctor before starting. Doctor Kaplana Desai MD will review your medical history to determine whether you can safely use hormonal therapy. The doctor may also conduct a physical examination on you to determine whether you have any underlying medical conditions that can affect your treatment. Sometimes the doctor may also order some laboratory tests and imaging tests to rule out any diseases.

What are the Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) That are Used?

Two types of hormone replacement therapy are used. Each of these types has specific uses and side effect profiles. The two types are systemic hormone replacement therapy and vaginal hormone replacement therapy that comes in a low dose. Systemic hormone replacement therapy has high doses of estrogen which is delivered throughout the entire body.

Systemic hormone replacement therapy can come in the form of pills, sprays, gel, or patches. This form of treatment helps to relieve the systemic symptoms of menopause and estrogen insufficiency, like hot flashes and night sweats. Vaginal hormone replacement therapy uses a low dose of estrogen and helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause that are localized in the vaginal and urinary system, like vaginal dryness.

Vaginal hormone replacement therapy comes in the form of a vaginal ring, creams, or tablets. One effect of estrogen in the body is it causes the endometrial layer of the uterus to thicken and this puts you at risk of endometrial cancer. In women who still have their uterus, their hormone replacement therapy includes both estrogen and progesterone because progesterone prevents the unwanted effects of estrogen.

Why Would You Require Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy can help relieve the symptoms of menopause that include hot flashes, night sweats, bone fractures, and osteoporosis. Vaginal hormone replacement therapy can help you if you are having vaginal dryness and itchiness which causes pain during sexual intercourse.

If you have your uterus removed before menopause, you will be given hormone replacement therapy to avoid suffering from the symptoms of menopause. You may also require hormone replacement therapy if you have estrogen deficiency which puts you at risk of stroke and mood swings.

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Risky?

Hormone replacement therapy has some side effects which increase when you begin using the therapy after the age of sixty years.  If you start hormone replacement therapy 10 years after menopause, you are more likely to experience the unwanted effects of this treatment.

The side effects are worse in women who get estrogen-only when they have an intact uterus and in those with a family history of heart diseases. The common risks of hormone replacement therapy that are caused by estrogen include stroke, cardiac arrest, breast cancer, and abnormal blood clotting. A good assessment by a qualified doctor helps to avoid these unwanted effects.

Hormone replacement therapy helps to reduce the symptoms of menopause in women who have started menopause, in women who have had the removal of their uterus before menopause, and in those women with hormonal deficiencies. Hormonal replacement therapy can be systemic or vaginal and can have risk factors like stroke and blood clotting. To get the benefits of hormone replacement therapy with minimal side effects, you should visit a qualified doctor who will determine the best choice for you.

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