Hormone Replacement Therapy can be likened to an ‘oasis in the desert’ for women in the throes of menopause. Indeed, it can make a huge difference in the emotional and physical well-being of women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), also known as Menopausal Hormone Therapy, or Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) is a well established form of treatment for menopausal women, which involves replenishing the depleting levels of vital hormones – estrogen and progesterone- in the body.
The hormonal levels in a woman’s body tend to fluctuate in the pre-menopausal years. Levels of progesterone and estrogen fall and this can give rise to many symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and urinary problems with some women complaining of dryness in the vagina. Women find it tough to cope when symptoms become severe.
Hormone replacement therapy is generally prescribed to reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. It also offers protection against heart diseases, osteoporosis and even dementia.
Long term use of HRT is associated with a small increase in the incidence of breast cancer, heart disease, pulmonary embolism, and stroke; however many have felt that its benefits far outweigh the risks. Scientific research has now established that women who suffer from menopausal symptoms benefit from HRT. Prescribing the medication is generally decided depending on how much the symptoms are affecting the quality of life of a women and this to a large extent is dependent on the women's perceptions of their symptoms. Tailor-made approach to each person’s need is essential. Factors such as history of breast cancer in the family may alter the decision of a doctor, even when there seems to be a pressing need for the prescription.