For generations, women have suffered through the difficulties of menopause, using herbs and other folk remedies to try to alleviate the symptoms. There have been countless studies done on the benefits of these complementary treatments, but the one protocol that remains well established and returns significant results is hormone replacement therapy.
There are hard science benefits to the woman who uses HRT – there will be a reduction in bone loss, decreased risk of heart disease and stroke and other significant health benefits. There can also be risks, particularly if a patient determines to stay on HRT for a decade or more. The physician who manages an HRT program will be skilled and educated in the latest science, and will help a woman construct a treatment program that will give the most benefit.
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone Replacement therapy is the practice of treating the body with estrogens and other hormones like progestin in order to ease or alleviate the symptoms of menopause. As a woman’s body ages and enters menopause, there are a series of effects which can significantly impact quality of life. From insomnia to joint and bone problems, hot flashes and nausea, the body’s adjusting hormones can play havoc on daily processes handled by the circulatory, metabolic and structural systems of the body.
The Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
While there have been a huge number of medical studies showing hormone replacement therapy’s benefits, there was also a scare in the 1990s when the protocols were linked with increased risks of cancer and other illness.
However, further scientific review has shown that modern hormone replacement therapy can actually reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, prevent heart disease, and reduce the risk of a patient developing diabetes by 30%.
Heart attacks and deaths related to cardiac events in women under 60 years old have been shown to reduce by 32% when hormone replacement therapy is used. While the previous use of hormone replacement therapy as a lifetime treatment plan has been eliminated, the benefits outweigh the risks for most women who use hormone replacement therapy for up to 7 years.
How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
There are different prescription methods for different women, but the common factor they all have is the presence of female hormones. Estrogen and progestin are prescribed in a customized dosage for the patient, and may be given via pill, patch, spray, injection or suppository. The menopausal symptoms the woman is experiencing will dictate the physician’s approach and the delivery system recommended.
For women who begin hormone replacement therapy earlier in menopause, the results have been excellent. Those women who have already moved further into menopause still report excellent symptom alleviation, but the protective and preventative benefits are not as significant. Particularly for women who began to experience the symptoms of menopause early (before age 45) there are preventative benefits to increasing the levels of hormones in the body.