Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy
You may be examining your options for treatment to alleviate symptoms of menopause. Choosing hormone replacement therapy or an alternative should be carefully examined and discussed with your health care provider.
- Symptoms of Menopause for Which HRT is Given
- Types of HRT Supplementation and Dosing Options
- Risks from Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Possible side Effects of HRT
- Lifestyle and Natural Treatments and Techniques
Symptoms of Menopause for Which HRT is Given
If you are approaching menopause or in menopause you may be considering hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is often recommended to relieve menopausal symptoms in women and to prevent osteoporosis. If considering this option be sure to have an honest, straightforward conversation with your doctor about your symptoms and concerns.
Diminished sex drive
Types of HRT Supplementation and Dosing Options
HRT supplements estrogen, progesterone and occasionally testosterone. These hormones are diminished in women after menopause. Women who have had a hysterectomy are generally not given progesterone. Progesterone causes the endometrial tissue to shed from the uterus therefore it is not needed for women who’s uterus has been removed. The dosing of HRT can be achieved through various methods including creams, pills, patches and gels.
Risks from Hormone Replacement Therapy
If progesterone is not given there is the possibility of an overgrowth of cells in the uterus of menopausal women leading to a higher cancer risk. To reduce the cancer risk in women who still have their uterus they are given both estrogen and progesterone.
HRT is sometimes offered as a method for preventing osteoporosis after menopause however the protection is not a long term solution and ultimately diet and lifestyle changes are an approach that should be explored during menopause as well as other medication.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study revealed that menopausal aging women on combination HRT have an increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, women on HRT should not smoke or participate in other activities that contribute to or increase the risk further. However a later 2006 study revealed that younger women actually showed a decrease risk. Women who participated in the WHI study were found to have continued high risk of stroke, blood clots and cancer.
Because of the increased risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke revealed in the WHI study the AMA now recommends only the lowest effective dosage to be given for the shortest amount of time.
Possible side Effects of HRT
Resumption of monthly bleeding and spotting
Lifestyle and Natural Treatments and Techniques
Practicing relaxation and deep breathing techniques, avoiding coffee, alcohol and spicy foods and dressing in layers can all be helpful in reducing hot flashes.
Weight bearing strength training exercise is recommended to help keep bones healthy.
There have been a number of herbal supplements and dietary practices reported by women to decrease hot flashes including black cohosh, dong quai, soy protein and an extract derived from red clover called Promensil.