When is hormone replacement therapy recommended to women?

Dr Jaishree Gajaraj, consultant gynaecologist tells us about the therapy and how it helps women.

Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is usually recommended for women who are experiencing severe discomforts during menopause. The aim of HRT is to introduce synthetically generated estrogen in the body to mimic its various functions. During menopause, the ovaries that produce estrogen ceases to do so any more and a lack of it makes a woman suffer from various kinds of physiological and psychological problems. Here are 11 symptoms signs of menopause that you should know.

Least to say some of the symptoms are difficult to deal with on its own. However, a few years into menopause these symptoms cease to exist. But for some, they might still pose discomforts. It is when the discomforts make it difficult to deal one is suggested to go in for an HRT. We spoke to Dr Jaishree Gajaraj, consultant gynaecologist from Fortis Malar, Chennai to know more about the therapy and how it helps women.

How does hormone therapy help menopausal women?

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During menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen which could lead to a number of problems ranging from vaginal dryness, hot flashes, low libido etc. Some women deal with these changes effectively while others find it difficult to do so. The symptoms that are present during the onset of menopause gradually pass after a few years. However, if it doesn't and a woman feels uncomfortable then HRT is suggested. In HRT estrogen is introduced in the body to help one get relief of symptoms of menopause.

What are the conditions that HRT help to deal with?

Some of the most common conditions that can be addressed with HRT are vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, low libido and mood swings. Apart from this, HRT also helps in keeping the heart healthy and prevent bone health deterioration that is common in women during menopause. Here are other causes of vaginal dryness that everybody should know.

When can one get started with HRT?

HRT is suggested to women only after a detailed check-up and taking into account all the medical history of the patient. In the beginning, a low dose of HRT is given and the doses can be titrated (increased or decreased) according to one's need and problems that need to be addressed. You might be asked to be on the therapy for three months, in the beginning, to see how you fair with the therapy and if it benefits you.

What about the side-effects?

There are few side-effects of HRT like bloating, nausea, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, cramps, but the benefits generally outweigh them. For women who suffer from premature menopause, HRT seems to be beneficial and prevents premature ageing. For women who reach menopause normally and need HRT, they also benefit from it. To ensure that they don't suffer due to the side-effects sometimes a combination of estrogen and progesterone is used to address the problems. Here is everything you need to know about premenopause.

Till when can one be on HRT?

Women can be on hormone replacement therapy till the time they want and are benefitting from the same. However, with time as the severe symptoms of menopause ceases the therapy can be stopped. You can either stop it (in case you are taking pills) or reduce the doses gradually and stop it later (if you take it in injectable form).

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