Answer To Premature Menopause
Improved Sex Life
Hot Flash Relief
Heart Disease Risk
Protection from Uterine Cancer
Urinary Incontinence Issues
Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the Body
HRT can help to ease symptoms of menopause.
As a woman approaches her mid-40s to early 50s, levels of
the female hormones estrogen and progesterone start to decline. The menstrual
cycle becomes irregular. Menopause is the point when a woman hasn’t had a
period for a year due to the declining levels of hormones.
Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, sleep
disturbances, and vaginal discomfort. For many women, symptoms of menopause are
mild, and no treatment is necessary. When symptoms do become troublesome, HRT
Another reason to take HRT is early menopause due to primary
ovarian insufficiency (POI) or other diseases. Cancer treatment, including
surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, may trigger early menopause. You won’t go
through menopause right away if you have your uterus removed (hysterectomy) but
keep your ovaries. Removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) causes immediate
HRT can be estrogen only (ET) or combined estrogen and
progesterone (EPT). These can come in the form of pills, injections, and skin
patches. They can also be dispensed in easy-to-use vaginal creams,
suppositories, or vaginal rings.
While HRT can ease symptoms of menopause, there are also
some health risks to consider. In order to minimize risk, your doctor may start
with a very low dose to see if your symptoms improve. The most current
recommendation by experts is to use the lowest dose of hormones necessary for
the shortest period of time.
Side effects vary from woman to woman and depend on the
dosage and combination of hormones. For women who still have a uterus, estrogen
is combined with progesterone in order to decrease the risk of cancer of the
Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
show that oral
EPT increases the chances of developing heart disease, blood clots, and stroke
when compared to not taking hormones. However, these risks seem to be lowest in
otherwise healthy women between the ages of 50 and 59. The longer you take
hormones following menopause, the greater the risk.
HRT is generally not recommended for women who have
previously had blood clots or stroke. The risk of stroke is greater in smokers
who are also overweight.
There’s no increased risk of lung cancer associated with
HRT, but combination EPT may increase the risk of dying from lung cancer.
Reproductive System and Sexual Health
When estrogen levels drop, you may experience vaginal
dryness, burning, and itching. That can make intercourse painful and interfere
with intimacy. HRT can relieve those symptoms and make sex pleasurable again.
If vaginal discomfort is your main problem, you can use vaginal creams, a
vaginal ring, or suppositories instead of oral HRT.
HRT may cause vaginal spotting or bleeding.
Combination EPT may offer some protection from uterine
cancer. When progestin is added to estrogen, it helps to block an overgrowth of
cells of the uterine lining (which may lead to uterine cancer).
HRT can cause swelling or tenderness of the breasts. It can
also make your breasts appear more dense on mammograms, which can make it
harder to find cancerous cells. HRT may increase your risk of developing breast
Estrogen therapy without progesterone can raise your risk of
endometrial (uterine) cancer. HRT is usually not recommended for women who have
had endometrial, ovarian, or breast cancer.
Digestive and Excretory Systems
HRT may cause bloating, fluid retention, and nausea. You may
have a higher risk of developing gallstones or other gallbladder problems.
For some women, an unpleasant symptom of menopause is
urinary incontinence. You may lose a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze,
or cough. Low-dose estrogen vaginal creams and suppositories may improve
HRT is generally not recommended for women who have had
Central Nervous System
Persistent hot flashes can become a problem in menopause.
Night sweats can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. HRT can be quite
effective in relieving these symptoms. It may also relive anxiety and
irritability. In some women, it can cause mood changes and headaches.
Currently, it’s unclear the role HRT plays in dementia. The ,
a 15-year study, found that women who take menopausal HRT may have a higher
risk of dementia. In 2017, a different , 20
years long, showed a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in those who used
Skin and Bones
HRT may relieve skin itchiness caused by menopause, but it
can also cause some mild skin discoloration. If you use an estrogen patch, you
may get skin irritation at the site of the patch.
HRT may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (thin,
brittle bones). A study from
2014 showed that younger women with POI who took HRT showed an increase in bone