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December 21, 2011

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy and What it Does

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Pill
Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Often called as the “change of life” menopause is such a dreaded thing. They say it literally changes everything about you, your emotions, your social skills and how you deal with life. This is where hormone replacement therapy can help.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy and Why Do You Need It?

As mentioned above, HRT is used by women in menopause. This is the state when a woman’s period stops. It is a normal part of life, yet, most women cannot accept it altogether because of the difference it gives to their lives. When a woman is in menopause, hot flashes are very common. There will also be vaginal dryness and sleep disturbance. This condition also leads to health issues such as stroke, osteoporosis and heart disease. Hormone replacement therapy is used to address these problems.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy? 

It is a treatment where a woman gets either bio-identical or  synthetic hormones (we recommend bio-identical hormones) to treat and avoid the health issues caused by menopause. It is a popular treatment in the US because of its effectiveness and while there are some risks, for most women the benefits far outweigh the risks.  These hormones are available as tablets, patches, implants and creams. Creams are easy to use and have the advantage of not being excessively metabolize by the liver like oral preparations.

Doctors advise that as soon as you feel symptoms of menopause, you could start doing the therapy. A website called EHealthMed.com, mentioned that taking HRT for five years or less can lessen the risks or even help avoid them completely.

Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Before taking any medications or undergoing therapies, surely, one of the first things you check are the side effects. As much as we’d like to think that HRT is all good therapy needs to monitored and supervised carefully by a physician.. This therapy has side effects like bloating, breast tenderness, nausea and most commonly vaginal bleeding which can generally be managed by adjusting dose and ensuring the estrogen and progesterone levels are in balance with one another.

A reminder, if you experience any symptoms while on HRT be sure to inform your doctor.  Vaginal bleeding while on HRT may require further testing including an ultrasound of the uterus.

Whether to get HRT or not is a personal decision. There are lots of talk shows on television that present the benefits of this treatment, however, what’s good for others may not be good for you. Always consult a doctor before starting anything, including hormone replacement therapy. And before you decide, make sure you know everything about what is hormone replacement therapy first.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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