Image source: cbc.ca
Hormone replacement therapy, HRT is a technique used to improve menopausal and post-menopausal health issues.
A study carried out by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) indicate that the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks associated with it.
When deciding to have hormone replacement therapy, it is good to understand the benefits and risks associated with those hormones. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Reduce weakening of bones: HRT reduces the risk of osteoporosis (bone weakening) due to its long-term benefits of estrogen which play an important role in maintaining a high level of calcium in the bones.
2. Relieve menopausal symptoms: HRT drugs taken can help relieve the symptoms associated with menopause. The drugs have protective effects against the common menopause symptoms like mood swings, reduced sex drive, hot flushes, and vaginal dryness among others.
3. Reduce colon cancer: Those who take long-term HRT reduce the risk of colon cancer by 30%.
4. Improved rheumatoid arthritis: The estrogen and progestogen hormones found in the HRT drug lead to improved conditions of rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Improved sleep: HRT reduces night sweats, hot flashes bone loss, and vaginal dryness and this results in better quality of life, increased sleep, and better sexual relations.
6. Increases estrogen levels: Hormone therapy can reduce hot flushes at night, and increase estrogen levels in the body.
7. Appropriate treatment: When HRT is used appropriately and in the right setting, there are reduced risks of some of the serious problems like blood clots and breast cancer thus its benefits outweigh the risk.
8. Increase libido: The hormones released into the bloodstream during therapy go to various body organs and tissues that need it and they can lead to increased libido in women as well as increase lubrication in the vaginal lining.
9. Reduce hip and spine fractures: The hormones protect against any bone loss prevent fracture of both hips and spine bones.
10. Health benefits: It leads to increased energy, concentration and reduces urine infections. It also reduces health risks associated with menopause.
1. Breast cancer: Taking the combined estrogen and progestogen results to small cases of breast cancer with the risk-reducing when you stop taking the hormone therapy.
2. Side effects: The hormones used in HRT can result in some side effects like bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, vaginal bleeding, and headache.
3. Weight gain: Taking HRT may make some women gain weight especially during menopause.
4. Blood clots: One of the serious risk concern on women taking HRT tablets is increased risk of blood clots and risk of certain types of cancer. Taking HRT patches or gel reduces the risk of blood clots.
5. Heart disease and stroke: A research carried out shows hormone therapy cause cardiovascular disease when taken after 60 years. Although the chances of heart disease and stroke are very minimal. The estrogen tablets have a small risk of causing a stroke to women under 60 years.
6. Womb cancer: Estrogen-only therapy is recommended to women who have undergone hysterectomy since it increases the risk of womb cancer. It reduces the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
7. Not suitable for everyone: Women with liver disease, ovarian or womb cancer and a history of high blood pressure are recommended to take an alternative to HRT.
8. Uterine lining growth: Taking both progestogen and estrogen tablets and vaginal creams or rings may affect the uterine lining increasing the risk of uterine cancer.
9. Gallbladder risk: Although the risks are small, the therapy can lead to an increased risk of the gallbladder. Before taking the drug, consider your individual needs and take them for a short time.
10. Pregnant women: It can cause birth defects or premature birth. Women under 50 years can also get pregnant while using HRT if no contraception method used.