Menopause is a natural biological event that occurs 1 year after a woman’s final period. It happens when the ovulation process stops in a woman’s body and estrogen is no longer produced by her ovaries. A number of women experience many uncomfortable symptoms before the onset of menopause and after menopause.
Some menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flushes
- Vaginal dryness
- Bladder infections
- Low libido
- Cognitive changes
- Dry eyes
Doctors have been recommending Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for years to treat menopause symptoms. The medications used consist of female hormones that are no longer produced in a woman’s body. Women who have early menopause symptoms are advised to take LRT till the average age of onset of menopause. The body’s hormone levels are boosted either by medication consisting of estrogen or both progesterone and estrogen.
Estrogen and progesterone have many functions other than thickening of endometrium. It aids in processing calcium, maintains cholesterol levels and maintains a healthy vagina. Estrogen-only therapy is recommended for those undergoing surgical menopause. Both estrogen and progesterone are administered for those who haven’t undergone hysterectomy.
How is HRT administered?
They are administered in the form of pills, gel, patch or vaginal cream. Some doctors suggest trans-dermal patch in low doses as the most effective method as hormones are sent in the body via bloodstream. By this way, potential metabolic risks are also averted since the hormone bypasses the liver.
- Risk of developing diabetes is reduced
- Arrests bone density loss, preserve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures
- The chances of bowl cancer are slightly reduced
Many women have a tough time deciding if they should go through HRT. Menopause symptoms varies widely in each woman. List your symptoms and rate the tolerability factor on a scale of 10. Consult a doctor based on it. Ask your mom about her menopausal experience. It may give an insight of how your experience is likely to be. Be sure to research if anyone in your family has a history of high cholesterol, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease or cancer. The risks associated with HRT therapy are high for some women. They are not recommended for women who:
- Are pregnant
- Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Have/had uterine or breast cancer
- Have liver diseases
Consult your doctor to clarify further doubts and talk to him/her about potential risks. Your doctor would suggest which treatment is best suited for you.