Hormone replacement therapy for women (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach menopause.
What should women who require hormone replacement therapy do?
- You can normally begin as soon as you start experiencing menopausal symptoms and won’t usually need to have any tests first.
- The doctor can explain the different types of HRT available and help you choose one that’s suitable for you.
- The therapy usually is started off on a low dose, which can be increased at a later stage.
- So, it may take a few weeks to feel the effects of treatment and there may be some side effects at first.
- Your doctor will normally recommend trying treatment for three months to see if it helps.
- But, if it doesn’t, they may suggest changing your dose or changing the type of HRT you’re taking.
Which doors are available for women to take hormone therapy?
Tablets, which are normally taken once a day, are one of the most traditional ways of taking HRT. Oestrogen-only and combined HRT tablets are available. For a few women, this may be the most manageable way of having medication.
2. Skin patches
Skin patches are also a prevalent way of taking HRT. You attach them to your skin and renew and replace them after some days. Hence, Oestrogen-only and combined HRT patches are available. Patches may be a more suitable option than capsules if you think you might feel it is inconvenient to take a tablet every day.
3. Estrogen gel
Oestrogen gel is an increasingly widespread mode of HRT. It’s implemented to the skin once a day and is consumed by the body. Similarly, like skin patches, this can be a convenient way of taking HRT while avoiding an increased risk of blood clots.
HRT can be delivered using small pellet-like implants implanted under your skin (usually in the tummy area) while your skin is numbed with a local anesthetic, although these aren’t broadly available and aren’t used very often. So, the implants release estrogen slowly over time and can stay in place for several months before needing to be replaced.
5. Vaginal estrogen
Oestrogen is also accessible in the form of a cream, pessary or ring that is put inside your vagina. This can help relieve vaginal dryness, but won’t help with other symptoms such as hot flushes.
Types of hormone replacement therapy women can choose?
The two types are: Cyclical HRT and Continuous HRT.
1. Cyclical HRT
Cyclical HRT, also known as sequential HRT, is often prescribed for women taking merged HRT who have menopausal symptoms yet have their periods. So, there are two types of cyclical HRT:-
- Monthly HRT – you take estrogen every day, and take progestogen alongside it for the last 14 days of your menstrual cycle.
- Three-monthly HRT – you take estrogen every day and take progestogen alongside it for around 14 days every three months.
2. Continuous combined HRT
Continuous combined HRT is ordinarily advised for women who are post-menopausal. A woman is normally said to be post-menopausal if she has not had her menstrual cycle for a year. As the name infers, continuous HRT involves taking estrogen and progestogen every day without a pause. Also, Estrogen-only HRT is usually taken continuously.
Side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
- Breast tenderness
- Headaches or migraines
- Mood swings
- Tummy (abdominal) pain
- Back pain
- Vaginal bleeding