Hormones are secretions from endocrine glands in our body. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs to help them do their work. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes like growth and development. Hormone replacement therapy is a relatively new invention, it is used to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach menopause(stopping of menstruation for life).
Types of Hormones in our body
- Steroid hormones – these are made from cholesterol.
- Eicosanoids: these are lipid hormones – hormones made from lipids, kinds of fats.
- Amino acid-derived.
- Peptides, polypeptides, and proteins – small peptide hormones include TRH and vasopressin.
Hormones used in Hormone Replacement Therapy:-
HRT substitutes the hormones that a woman’s body no more produces due to the menopause.
The two main hormones used in HRT are:
Estrogen – types used include estradiol, estrone, and estriol.
- Progestogen – a polymerized version of the hormone progesterone, which is dydrogesterone, medroxyprogesterone, norethisterone, and levonorgestrel.
Who can take HRT?
Most women can have HRT if they’re experiencing symptoms associated with the menopause.
But HRT may not be suitable if you:-
- have a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or womb cancer
- or, have a history of blood clots
- Untreated high blood pressure – your blood pressure will need to be checked before you can begin HRT
- have liver disease
- are pregnant – it’s still possible to get pregnant while on HRT, so you should use contraception until two years after your last period if you’re under 50 or for one year after the age of 50.
Symptoms of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The main advantage of HRT is that it can help relieve most of the menopausal symptoms, such as:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive
- Many of these symptoms go in a few years, but they can be very bothersome and taking HRT can give remedy for countless women.
- It can also help prevent the weakening of the bones (osteoporosis), which is more common after menopause.
IF not Hormone replacement therapy, then what?
If you’re incapable of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or choose not to, you may want to consider other ways of managing your menopausal symptoms.
Some measures are:-
- Take regular exercise – regular activity can reduce hot flushes and improve sleep. It’s also a good way of boosting your mood if you feel anxious, irritable or depressed. Weight-bearing exercises can help keep your bones strong.
- Have a healthy diet – a balanced diet can help ensure you don’t put on weight and can keep your bones healthy.
- Stay cool at nightwear loose clothes and sleep in a cool, well-ventilated room if you experience hot flushes and night sweats.
- Decrease intake on caffeine, alcohol and spicy food – as they have all been recognized to trigger hot flushes.
- Try to reduce your stress levels – to improve mood swings, make sure you get loads of rest, also getting regular exercise is necessary. Activities such as yoga and tai chi may help you rest.
- Give up smoking – if you smoke, giving up will help reduce hot flushes and your risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
- Try vaginal lubricant or moisturizer if you experience vaginal dryness – several distinct types are available to purchase from stores and drugstores.