Women who find themselves experiencing uncomfortable symptoms during menopause are looking for the most effective type of treatment available. The standard treatment is known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Recent concerns over the health risks associated with long term use have many questioning whether this is a viable choice for them. Before making your decision about whether HRT is right for you, there are some facts that you need to know.
What is hormone replacement therapy?
HRT is the use of medications which contain female hormones, used to replace those that are no longer produced by the body during the stages of menopause. These medications are synthetically engineered to act the same way that estrogen and progesterone do in the body. They are effective restoring hormonal balance to the body and relieving most of the symptoms associated with the stages of menopause.
Risks associated with hormone replacement therapy
Clinical trials have found that the long term use of hormone replacement therapy, particularly for older women, can contribute to the development of related health issues. This is a bit of a complex issue as there are a variety of hormone combinations and formulations used. The estrogen and progestin pill is related in an increase in the incidence of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots and stroke. Women who take the estrogen only pill and who have undergone a hysterectomy on the other hand show no increased risk of breast cancer or heart disease while the risks of blood clots and stroke are comparable to those with the combination of progestin and estrogen.
There are several different factors involved in calculating a woman’s risk factor when considering hormone replacement therapy. Both personal and family history of cancers and cardiovascular issues can increase an individual’s level of risk. Those who have no personal or family history of these conditions are considered to be at a lower risk that those who do. When deciding if hormone replacement therapy is right for you, these are some of the factors that should be considered.
When the benefits of Hormone replacement therapy outweigh the risks
In some cases, symptoms of menopause may become so intense that standard HRT is recommended. When a woman is otherwise healthy with no personal or family history of cardiac issues or certain types of cancer, the benefits may outweigh the risks. This is particularly true when there is a loss of bone mask and other treatments methods such as natural supplements are not doing the job. HRT is also recommended more often for women who have ceased normal ovarian function prior to the age of 40. Women who experience premature menopause and who do not take estrogen therapy until after the age of 45 may actually have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s symptoms, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia, anxiety and depression disorders and sexual dysfunction. Discussing your unique situation and health with your health care provider is recommended to determine if HRT is the best choice for you, or if the risks are greater than the benefits.
Items for consideration
There are some instances when hormone replacement therapy can actually improve your health and help to prevent the development of potentially serious health complications. This all depends upon your unique health history and profile. Although many health care providers steer away from routinely recommending and prescribing hormone replacement therapy, this method of treatment is still useful and in addition, the most logical treatment for some women.
The ongoing debate over the safety of hormone replacement therapy will continue as the risks are genuine, but so are the benefits. The only certain way to determine whether this treatment option is the best choice for you, is to take into consideration your past health history, family history and your current health needs. If HRT can help to prevent the development of certain serious health conditions for which you may be at an increased risk over some other women, then the benefits may well outweigh the risks. If taking the therapy is not recommended because of your risk factors, the benefits of menopausal symptom cessation may in fact not be a good trade off in the long run. Even there are lots of menopause products available in the market which help to tackle with this symptoms up to some extent, but then choice is yours, as everyone is different from other. Whatever your decision, so long as it is based upon a sound and professional evaluation of the relevant factors that relate specifically to you, you now have the necessary information to make an informed decision as to whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you.