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Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you’re looking for relief from menopause symptoms, knowing the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help you decide whether it’s right for you.

Women's HealthCare of Dothan
Dothan, Alabama Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dothan, Alabama Obstetrics, Gynecology, Hormone Replacement Therapy

Definition

Hormone Replacement Therapy is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the menopause. Your age, family medical history, personal medical history and severity of your menopausal symptoms are factors that may affect your decision to take hormone therapy.

Manopause

As you begin to transition into menopause, your ovaries no longer produce high levels of estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormone levels can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Common menopause symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes.
  • Night sweats and/or cold flashes.
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex.
  • Feeling a need to pee (urinary urgency).
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Mood swings, mild depression or irritability.
  • Dry skin, dry eyes or dry mouth.

Types of HRT

There are two main types of HRT:

Combined HRT (estrogen and progestogen) – This form of HRT combines doses of estrogen and progesterone (or progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone).

Estrogen-only HRT – Estrogen is taken alone. Doctors most often prescribe a low dose of estrogen to be taken as a pill or patch every day. Estrogen may also be prescribed as a cream, vaginal ring, gel or spray. You should take the lowest dose of estrogen needed to relieve menopause symptoms and/or to prevent osteoporosis.

What are the Risks of HRT?

Research has shown that the benefits can be greater than the risks for many women. But HRT may still raise your chances of:
N

Endometrial cancer, if you take estrogen without progestin and you still have your uterus

N

Blood clots

N

Stroke

N

Breast cancer

Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons and suggest choices based on the severity of your symptoms and your medical history.

Additional Resources

Learn more from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists