Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

What is HRT?

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is a therapy that women who are going through peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause can take to replace the hormones, namely oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, that are being lost durng this natural stage of every woman’s life. It is can also be given to women who have forced menopause due to situations such as cancer treatments. 

Women typically begin HRT due to symptoms that can be debilitating to manage and cause real distress. Some of these are hot flushes, vaginal symptoms, mood swings, disrupted sleep, bone loss and there are well over 40 symptoms recorded and yet many more that individuals are reporting . These are the areas that women will see improvements in quite quickly - around 2-3 weeks. However the full benefits of HRT can be seen between 2-4 months.

How do you take HRT?

You can take HRT in different forms, such as tablets, gels and patches. Most women have a choice, however some women are suggested a type of HRT due to medical reasons. There are different types of HRT you can take, which all depends on the stage of Menopause you are at, and the severity of your symptoms. Your your GP specialists will assign the type of HRT which is right for you.

If you are still seeing periods, you will be given a cyclical HRT which contains both Oestrogen and Progesterone. With this type of HRT you are still likely to have a monthly period. If you are no longer having natural period, you will be giving a 1 year+ continuous dose of HRT, which again contains both Oestrogen and Progesterone. 

What are the benefits?

The usual benefits that people see when they take HRT include those areas which they had suffered with during Menopause.

  • Sleep quality
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Sexual functions
  • Protection of bones from Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular benefits

What are the risks of HRT?

Women under 60 are great candidates for HRT, with minimal risk. Women above 60 may have more risk, such as increased risk of heart disease, dementia, and blood clots. However it’s important to understand the perspective of these risks, as HRT proposes only one risk factor. Women themselves carry other risk factors, such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles etc.

What are the side effects?

It’s common to get early side effects. These include headaches and breast tenderness. They typically last 6-8 weeks. Some women may need to change their dosage to eliminate the side effects. Your GP will make the best suggestion for you.

When should I take HRT?

It’s recommended to begin HRT as early as possible, as the benefits for younger women will be better, such as Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.

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