Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the BodyHormone therapy was once routinely used to treat menopausal symptoms and protect long-term health. Then large clinical trials showed health risks. What does this mean to you? Hormone replacement therapy — medications containing female hormones to replace the ones the body no longer makes after menopause — used to be a side effects of hormone shots for menopause treatment for women steroid cream for hand dermatitis hot flashes and other menopause menipause. Hormone therapy as it's now called was also thought to have the long-term benefits of preventing heart disease and possibly dementia.
Side Effects of Menopause Treatments
Hormone replacement therapy can relieve unpleasant symptoms of menopause, but there are some side effects and health risks that should be considered. As a woman approaches her mids to early 50s, levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone start to decline. The menstrual cycle becomes irregular. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal discomfort.
For many women, symptoms of menopause are mild, and no treatment is necessary. When symptoms do become troublesome, HRT may help. Cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, may trigger early menopause. Removal of the ovaries oophorectomy causes immediate menopause, however. These can come in the form of pills, injections, and skin patches.
They can also be dispensed in easy-to-use vaginal creams, suppositories, or vaginal rings. While HRT can ease symptoms of menopause, there are also some health risks to consider. In order to minimize risk, your doctor may start with a very low dose to see if your symptoms improve. The most current recommendation by experts is to use the lowest dose of hormones necessary for the shortest period of time.
Side effects vary from woman to woman and depend on the dosage and combination of hormones. For women who still have a uterus, estrogen is combined with progesterone in order to decrease the risk of cancer of the uterus. However, these risks seem to be lowest in otherwise healthy women between the ages of 50 and The longer you take hormones following menopause, the greater the risk. HRT is generally not recommended for women who have previously had blood clots or stroke.
The risk of stroke is greater in smokers who are also overweight. When estrogen levels drop, you may experience vaginal dryness, burning, and itching. That can make intercourse painful and interfere with intimacy. HRT can relieve those symptoms and make sex pleasurable again. If vaginal discomfort is your main problem, you can use vaginal creams, a vaginal ring, or suppositories instead of oral HRT. Combination EPT may offer some protection from uterine cancer.
When progestin is added to estrogen, it helps to block an overgrowth of cells of the uterine lining which may lead to uterine cancer.
HRT can cause swelling or tenderness of the breasts. It can also make your breasts appear more dense on mammograms, which can make it harder to find cancerous cells. HRT may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Estrogen therapy without progesterone can raise your risk of endometrial uterine cancer. HRT is usually not recommended for women who have had endometrial, ovarian, or breast cancer.
HRT may cause bloating, fluid retention, and nausea. You may have a higher risk of developing gallstones or other gallbladder problems.
For some women, an unpleasant symptom of menopause is urinary incontinence. You may lose a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. Low-dose estrogen vaginal creams and suppositories may improve symptoms. Persistent hot flashes can become a problem in menopause. HRT can be quite effective in relieving these symptoms. It may also relive anxiety and irritability.
In some women, it can cause mood changes and headaches. HRT may relieve skin itchiness caused by menopause, but it can also cause some mild skin discoloration. If you use an estrogen patch, you may get skin irritation at the site of the patch. HRT may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis thin, brittle bones. Researchers say a new type of drug that blocks a receptor in the brain could provide relief for women going through menopause.
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