During menopause a woman’s body gradually produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopause is a normal change in a woman’s life and, in most cases, occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. However, in some women menopause starts at a younger age. Some of the reasons are associated with medical treatments such as surgery to remove the ovaries, family history (genes), or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation to the pelvic area.
Some women may not have any of the symptoms associated with menopause at all. Other women may suffer significantly from symptoms like hot flashes (waves of warm spells in the face, neck, or chest), night sweats or sleeping problems, vaginal dryness and thinning of bones, which may lead to loss of height and bone fractures.
Common Menopausal Symptoms
Hair Loss/ Brittle Nails/ Itchy Skin
Vaginal Dryness/ Incontinence
Night Sweats/ Sleep Disorders/ Fatigue
Weight Gain/ Bloating/ Digestive Problems
Difficult Concentrating/ Memory Lapses/ Dizziness/ Irritability
Mood Swings/ Depression/ Panic Disorder
Like all medicines, hormone therapy has risks and benefits. If a woman decides to use hormones, she should use the lowest effective dose. For treatment of menopausal symptoms, a health care provider should be consulted to discuss treatment options.
HRT is a system of medical treatment for menopausal (peri- and postmenopausal) women. It is a treatment that may prevent discomfort caused by diminished circulating estrogen and progesterone hormones. In case of surgically or prematurely induced menopause, HRT may prolong life and reduce incidence of dementia. The main types of hormones involved are estrogens, progesterone or progestins and, less commonly, testosterone.
Benefits from using hormones to treat menopause
What are the risks of using hormones?
For some women, hormone therapy may increase the chances of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer and gall bladder disease.
Estrogen increases the chance of developing endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining). Adding progestin to the estrogen regiment lowers this risk.