What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) involves taking synthetic hormones to replace the female sex hormones – estrogen and progesterone – that a woman’s body produces naturally. HRT is often used to treat symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. The most common forms of HRT are estrogen-only therapy and estrogen-progestin therapy.

Should You Go to an HRT Clinic?

An HRT clinic, also known as a menopause clinic, has physicians and healthcare professionals that specialize in treating symptoms of menopause and determining if you are a good candidate for HRT.

They will review your medical history, symptoms, and hormonal levels to create a customized treatment plan. If you are considering HRT, consulting an HRT clinic is a good approach.

They have the expertise to prescribe the right type of hormones, dosages, and method of delivery based on your needs and risks.

Benefits of HRT

The benefits of HRT include relief from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. HRT can also help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. I

n some studies, HRT has also been shown to have anti-ageing effects and reduce the risk of other conditions like colon cancer and tooth loss. For many women, HRT significantly improves their quality of life during the menopausal transition and beyond.

Risks of HRT

The risks associated with HRT include an increased chance of heart disease, blood clots, stroke, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease.

The risks vary depending on the specific hormones and dosages used, as well as a woman’s individual health profile and family medical history.

The risks also increase the longer a woman undergoes HRT. For most women, the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks when only used short-term to help relieve the worst of their menopausal symptoms. The key is to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible.

How to Get Started on HRT

If you decide to pursue HRT, the first step is to talk to your doctor. They will evaluate your symptoms and risk factors and determine if HRT is right for you. They may refer you to an HRT clinic for consultation. blood tests may be ordered to check your hormone levels. If HRT is prescribed, the doctor will determine the type of hormones, dosage, frequency, and method of administration.

It can take time for your body to adjust to HRT, so your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments and monitoring to make sure you are on the right therapy.

Stopping HRT

The decision to stop HRT is made on an individual basis. Your doctor will determine if the risks now outweigh the benefits based on how long you have undergone therapy and your current health status. Gradual discontinuation of HRT is recommended to minimize side effects like hot flashes returning.

Your doctor will create a discontinuation schedule where doses are slowly tapered off over time. Alternative treatments may be recommended to help prevent symptoms from recurring.

HRT can be an effective option for relieving unpleasant menopausal symptoms. By working closely with your doctor, the benefits of HRT can safely outweigh the risks for short-term use when administered at the lowest dosage needed. But all women are different, so you must weigh your risks and quality of life priorities with your physician’s guidance. An HRT clinic can help navigate this important health decision.