Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Prevents Heart Disease And Osteoporosis
Hormone replacement therapy involves the use of hormones to replenish the body’s diminishing supply. As hormone production wanes during menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to put the lost hormones back in to the body, thus easing some symptoms of menopause. Doctors recommend using the smallest dose of hormones for the shortest period of time possible. Still, for many women, this can mean years of HRT.
Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are two hormones used in HRT: estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is used alone or in combination with progesterone. Progesterone is never used alone, but only in addition to estrogen. Neither form can prevent any disease, including osteoporosis and heart disease, although estrogen has been proven to decrease the likelihood of bone fractures due to osteoporosis.
Estrogen is used at low doses in pill, cream and patch form. It does not increase the risk of breast cancer or heart disease, but it does increase the risk of stroke and abnormal mammograms due to an increase in breast tissue density. Estrogen seems to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, although it in no way prevents bone density loss.
Progesterone is known to increase the risk of heart disease, breast cancer and stroke, blood clots and dementia. It also increases breast tissue density and can cause abnormal mammograms.
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
- HRT may increase the risk of endometrial cancer in women who still have a uterus
- Blood clots and stroke
- Heart disease
Possible Side Effects of HRT
There are possible side effects to taking hormone therapy. Typical side effects include some monthly bleeding, spotting and tender breasts. Other side effects may include blood clots and stroke, bloating, headaches, dizziness, breast density and skin discoloration or irritation. Usually these side effects aren’t enough for a woman to stop taking hormones, unless there’s a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For Me?
It’s a personal decision. There are risks to taking hormones, just as there are risks that increase as you age. Be sure to talk thoroughly and carefully with your doctor to determine what treatment is right for you. You may want to explore alternative or holistic treatments before deciding on hormone therapy. Be sure to stay active and healthy. Eat a balanced diet get plenty of exercise, both of which can lessen your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and osteoporosis. Source: http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-hormone-therapy