Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) refers to the usage of medications consisting of estrogen and progesterone (female hormones) as a treatment for their loss, post menopause. This therapy is also described as Estrogen Replacement Therapy, Menopausal Hormone Therapy, or just Hormone Therapy.
Commonly prescribed by doctors during or after menopause, this therapy has been the standard treatment for symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. After Menopause, the level of hormones in the woman’s body falls rapidly, which causes uncomfortable conditions like those mentioned above. Hormone Replacement Therapy restores those hormones that the body can no longer make.
In a woman’s reproductive system, both estrogen and progesterone are two important hormones. Where estrogen stimulates the release of eggs, progesterone prepares the womb for egg implantation.
However, the supply of eggs gradually begins decreasing with increase in the age of the woman. With a fall in the number of eggs, the production of estrogen begins deteriorating too. This generally occurs in the late 40s in most women, and leads to sweating, hot flashes and other health issues.
Perimenopause – It refers to the menopause transition phase, and can last for four to eight years. The estrogen level in this phase, on an average, is 20-30% higher than before, and display extensive fluctuations. These fluctuations result in physical changes which can be anything from sleeping difficulty to heart disease.
Menopause – It refers to the stage when the last menstruation in a woman occurs. This can happen somewhere around 51 years of age.
Postmenopause – It is after the passage of 12 months from the date of last menstruation, when menopause has ended, that a woman is said to be in her post-menopausal stage. It can however take 2 to 5 years for the symptoms to decline.
Hormone Replacement Therapy helps women by easing up the bodily changes that women come across in all these stages. Even after menopause, the risk for osteoporosis is still high in women, and this is also one of things that HRT helps control. This therapy consequently helps improve sleep, sexual relations, and the overall quality of life in the person undergoing it.
Although the right time to take the therapy can only be suggested by a doctor or specialist, there are certain symptoms/signs that indicate that it’s time to see a doctor for the same.
These include –
After going through your personal medical history and considering factors such as your age and family’s medical history, your doctor can make suggestion on the therapy you need, or if you need any at all.