What is Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women?

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Estrogen supplementation, that is, hormone replacement therapy, is recommended in estrogen imbalance or insufficiency, especially in pre-menopausal and menopausal women.

Estrogen is the female hormone. You can get more detailed information about estrogen from our article “What You Need to Know About Estrogen”.

Synthetic estrogen, bio-identical estrogen, and estrogens derived from pregnant mares (Premarin) are used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

The most common uses of estrogen are birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for menopause.

What Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Do?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) aims to relieve some menopausal symptoms by bringing female hormone levels back to normal. Treatment can be provided as estrogen alone or as a combination of estrogen and progestin.

For women who still have a uterus, the hormone progestin is used with estrogen to prevent the overgrowth of the uterus, which can lead to endometrial cancer. HRT is available in pill, nasal spray, patch, skin gel, injection, vaginal cream, or ring form.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Benefits

HRT can help relieve menopausal symptoms, such as:

  • hot flashes
  • vaginal dryness
  • painful intercourse
  • mood
  • sleeping disorders
  • anxiety
  • decreased sexual desire

Experts recommend using HRT at the lowest doses for the shortest amount of time needed to achieve treatment goals.

This can help you avoid some bothersome side effects, such as:

  • swelling
  • chest pain
  • headache
  • mood
  • nausea
  • water retention

Women who are taking or considering hormone therapy after menopause should discuss the potential benefits and health risks with their doctor.

Hormone therapy is also used to help transgender people who want to transition between the sexes, estrogen is often prescribed to help trans women who want to develop secondary sexual characteristics in women.

Because of the risks posed by this type of treatment, it is vital that a course of hormone therapy be followed under supervision by a medical professional.

What is Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT)?

Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is used to increase estrogen levels in women who have gone through menopause and have had their uterus removed. This is because ERT has been linked to uterine cancer, but women do not have this effect after the uterus is removed.

ERT can also treat a number of other conditions, including delayed puberty, symptomatic vaginal atrophy, and breast atrophy.

This treatment may have additional benefits, including:

  • prevention of symptoms during menopause
  • prevention of osteoporosis
  • colon cancer prevention
  • Reducing early bone loss and osteoporosis in women who have had their ovaries removed between the ages of 20 and 40

ERT can reverse the effects of low estrogen levels and also:

  • Controlling the occurrence and severity of hot flashes
  • improves mood and sleep problems caused by hormonal changes
  • keeping the lining and lubrication of the vagina
  • maintaining skin collagen levels
  • prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • reducing the risk of dental problems, including tooth loss and gum disease

In some cases people should avoid ERT, these are:

  • pregnant women
  • those with unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • those with liver disease or chronically impaired liver function
  • those with a strong family history of breast, ovarian cancer, or endometrium
  • smokers
  • those with blood clotting problems
  • those who have had a stroke

Topical application of estriol for vaginal atrophy has been shown to be effective with minimal side effects compared to combination estrogen therapy.

It can be taken in plant-derived estrogens. Plant-derived estrogens are called phytoestrogens. “What Are Estrogen-Containing Foods?” We suggest you check out our article.

Medical News Today, Everything you need to know about menopause, 2018

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17113977

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/

http://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/4/2/18

https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/contraceptive-use-united-states

http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-the-vagina-and-vulva

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/

https://www.thieme-connect.de/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0033-1350876

https://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/estrogen

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