There used to be a time when HRT – hormone replacement therapy – was a regular treatment during menopause as a common health protector. But when a number of clinical trials had been run, it turned out that there are side risks to be considered. So this is a point that needs clarification for us to know what attitude to assume.
On the one hand, HRT maintains its position as an effective treatment to allay menopausal symptoms, to prevent osteoporosis and even heart diseases if patients are a certain age. On the other hand, it cannot be held as a perfectly safe treatment, as clinic findings reveal that there may be various risks involved. So no cut-and-dried approach to it is possible.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Benefits
HRT provides efficacious relief to menopausal symptoms; besides, it is universally regarded as a good osteoporosis preventive. But there are more benefits that the therapy carries.
Research done by Sweden’s Uppsala University Hospital shows that the therapy can seriously improve the functions of many groups of muscles.
A study in the BMJ by scientists from Denmark reveals that women who underwent HRT when their menopause started have a substantially decreased risk of heart disorders and heart attacks, so the therapy helps to keep the heart healthy.
In women who had their menopause earlier than usual, HRT can decrease mortality risk in a significant degree, as is shown in a publication in The American Journal of Medicine.
Finally, HRT can be an effective measure for brain aneurysms, state researchers from Rush University Medical Center; the therapy (as well as oral contraceptives) works against the formation and subsequent rupture of aneurysms in the brain.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Now for the seamy side of the picture. There are recent studies that link HRT-taking with such health issues as breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and strokes. One of them, carried out by the Women’s Health Initiative, lasted for 15 years and involved more than 160,000 healthy women past their menopause. The findings showed that the combination therapy could result in the rise in the heart failure risk. The conclusion read that in the long run there are more risks than benefits.
This impressive research spawned other studies that dealt with the technological sides of the therapy: how exactly it was given when it commenced, and so on. It turned out that all these points can influence the results of the therapy. For one, research conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center proved that treatment with antidepressants can be as beneficial as that with low-dose estrogen, but carries no risks.
Unfortunately, all this information confuses rather than clarifies the issue.
Some of the registered side effects of the therapy can be:
- regular headaches
- unnatural tenderness of the breasts, swelling
- onsets of nausea
- vaginal bleeding
- frequent changes of mood.
If you notice these symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
HRT Benefits & Risks Balance
Defining the balance between the benefits and the risks has never been satisfactorily conclusive, yet with HRT there seem to be more benefits than threatening side effects. If you are about to undergo the therapy, you can rely on its usefulness under the following conditions:
- you undergo it for the right reason, namely to mitigate the menopausal symptoms. It can be taken for osteoporosis prevention but it will be a long-term undertaking
- you take it at the lowest working dose and not longer than it is absolutely necessary
- you get regular checkups with your doctor one time a year and probably more often
- you consult your doctor and you work out the details depending on your medical history, that of your family, your age and other important health factors.
If you need more information on hormone replacement therapy, visit this website.
Alternative Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms
While you are considering and discussing your situation, what are other ways to weaken the symptoms?
- Review your diet, lessen the amount or exclude completely the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy dishes
- go on with regular workouts
- lay off smoking
- go for loose clothes
- see that your bedroom is cool and well aired.
To deal with hot flashes consult your GP about taking recommended SSRI type antidepressants. Also you can judiciously use clonidine, an antihypertensive drug.
You can find information to the effect that menopausal symptoms can be held in check by taking stuff like red clover, ginseng, soya beans, block cohosh, or Kava. Please keep in mind that all of these haven’t been scientifically recognized as well-proven remedies yet.