Life 52 _ Menopause _ Benefits and Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy _ HRT
As I said in the previous video, menopause is the time when a woman’s ovaries stop producing fertility hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and it’s also when a woman stop her period.
While the age of menopause can vary from woman to woman, it typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Also, in some young women, but due to the side effects of other types of medical treatment, such as chemotherapy or removal of the ovaries, a phenomenon called premature menopause occurs with them.
I would also like to reiterate here some very typical symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, sleep disturbances, etc. and of course, these symptoms occur to varying degrees of severity in each person.
There are many different treatments that can help a woman in need relieve the distressing symptoms mentioned above. However, the effectiveness of the treatment and the unwanted side effects of each method are not the same. Therefore, the application of a method of treatment requires seriousness and extreme caution in evaluating and choosing for each individual a number of specific treatments, truly suited to each condition.
In this video, I will be covering just one treatment that is currently widely used around the world, with both sides of the concern: on the positive side, these are effects that quickly relieve symptoms. At the same time, the downside is that the risks can also be worth thinking about and considering. It is a so called “Hormone Replacement Therapy” or “Hormone Treatment for Menopause”.
So why apply hormone replacement therapy for a postmenopausal woman?
The answer will of course be : some women have opted for this method to relieve their symptoms of menopause. This treatment involves taking hormonal drugs to replenish hormones that the ovaries produce less and less as a woman ages and enters menopause.
In fact, for women were not menopausal, hormone replacement therapy cannot supply and respond adequately to their estrogen needs because it only provides a small addition of estrogen to the body.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy: or estrogen-only hormone therapy; or estrogen supplementation with progestin, also known as combined hormone replacement therapy.
In fact, the first type (i.e., estrogen only hormone therapy) may increase the risk of uterine cancer and as such it is generally only recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy.
In contrast, combined hormone replacement therapy (that is, hormone therapy combining estrogen and progestin) has a lower risk than estrogen-only hormone therapy. So, it is therefore the most common form of hormone replacement therapy available today and for women who still have a uterus.
What are the benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
The main benefits of hormone replacement therapy are estrogen supplementation to help menopausal women:
- Relieves vasomotor symptoms of the body,
- Repels skin aging
- Minimizes the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and dryness,
- Strengthen the skeletal system, limit and reduce fracture rates.
In addition, timely estrogen supplementation can also improve the performance of the cardiovascular system and atherosclerosis.
- Increases sexual libido,
- Increase memory,
- Strengthens blood brain and reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
On the contrary, what are the risks of hormone replacement therapy?
Many studies show that prolonged use of this type of treatment (for 5 years or more) increases the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary embolism (formation of blood clots in lungs). Researchers now believe that for most women, if they use hormone replacement therapy for a long time, the risk of risk outweighs the benefits.Of course, the decision to use hormone replacement therapy is a matter of personal choice. However, if you are faced with options, you should do so in consultation with your doctor. Topics discussed and considered very important should relate to cancer risk and cardiovascular disease risk.
In fact, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends that women avoid using hormone replacement therapy for any reason, unless:
- you have severe menopause symptoms
- at the same time, you no longer have the possibility to choose another treatment which might be effective
Therefore, if you are in the learning and deliberation stage, I would like to suggest the following important aspects that should be considered to discuss with your doctor before applying:
- The severity of the menopausal symptoms you experience, such as very severe and prolonged hot flashes, chronic insomnia, etc., you have tried many treatments to no avail.
- Your personal and family history (for example) of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, ect. If there is anyone in your family who has had any of the diseases listed above, it is very important that you are very careful before choosing this hormone therapy.
- And the deadline for hormone replacement therapy. Be aware that the longer the duration of hormone replacement therapy, the greater the risk.
For all of the above reasons, I want to stress as a final reminder, if you and your doctor decide that hormone replacement therapy is right for you, you should also use only the lowest but effective dose, and in the shortest possible time.