Health

Menopause (HRT): An Overview

Menopause is a biologically normal process. Women between the ages of 40 and 50 can have menopause. A diagnosis may be given once 12 months have passed with no menstruation.

This article is about hormone therapy given at the time of menopause. Read the article further to learn about it.

What is Menopause?

The menstrual cycle of a woman ends when she reaches menopause. In general, menopause refers to the phase that occurs when a woman stops getting her period.

Upon birth, a female has a full set of eggs that are kept in her ovaries. They produce the hormones oestrogen and progesterone in their ovaries, which regulate ovulation and menstruation. When the ovaries stop producing eggs, menopause sets in, and periods end.

What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?

The journey toward menopause is different for every woman. When menopause happens quickly or over a shorter period, symptoms tend to be more severe.

Ovarian health issues (such as cancer or a hysterectomy) and lifestyle factors (such as smoking) may exacerbate and prolong the intensity and duration of symptoms.

Perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause have similar symptoms apart from menstrual cycle changes.

These symptomsmay occur in the months or years before menopause (perimenopause):

  • Chills
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced breast size
  • Intense feelings of heat
  • Hair loss and skin dryness
  • Sweating throughout the night
  • Absence of a regular menstrual cycle
  • Having a feeling of dryness in the vaginal region
  • Putting on weight and a sluggish metabolism

Periods might stop for a month and then start up again, or they can stop for a few months and then start up again. Moreover, periods may occur more often since their cycles are shorter. You can still become pregnant if your periods are irregular. Think about getting a pregnancy test if you haven’t had your period in a while and aren’t sure whether you’ve already entered the menopausal transition.

What is Hormone Therapy?

Hormone therapy is a treatment to alleviate the usual menopausal symptoms and deal with the lasting biological changes. During and after menopause, a woman’s body naturally produces less oestrogen and progesterone, which may lead to adverse health consequences including bone loss.

For Menopausal hormone therapy, doctors may prescribe oestrogen replacement therapy (ERT) with either oestrogen alone or oestrogen in combination with progestin. A synthetic hormone with significant effects on progesterone.

Estrogen in combination with progesterone is the standard treatment for MHT in women with uteruses (who have not had a hysterectomy). This is because endometrial cancer risk is elevated in estrogen-deficient women.

Nevertheless, combining oestrogen with progestin is not. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy are only suitable for treatment with oestrogen.

Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms of menopause are often sufficient to inform the majority of women that they have begun the menopausal transition. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about irregular periods. In some instances, further testing may be needed.

Usually, no tests are required to identify menopause. However, your doctor may order blood tests in some cases to determine your levels of:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestrogen (estradiol), since menopause causes a rise in FSH levels and a drop in estradiol levels.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), may induce menopause-like symptoms.

There are available over-the-counter medical diagnostics for measuring FSH levels in urine. The tests might determine whether you have increased FSH levels and are perhaps perimenopausal or menopausal. Due to the fluctuations in Follicle stimulating hormones at home, FSH testing cannot definitively give a diagnosis.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Benefits

  1. Reduces the Discomfort Associated With Menopause

Everyone goes through menopause in a different way. Some women’s symptoms are so minor that they don’t need medical attention.

However, it’s possible that some women’s symptoms could be so severe that they’ll be unable to go about their regular lives.

Some menopausal symptoms that might be eased with the use of HRT include:

  • Vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may be alleviated with low doses of oestrogen.
  • Symptoms of menopause that affect the genital and urinary system. For example; vaginal dryness, painful sex, and urine issues may be alleviated by low doses of oestrogen.
  • Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Numerous studies have shown that HRT may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease if taken within 10 years after menopause.

A thorough medical examination should be performed before beginning HRT to rule out preexisting cardiovascular problems. While on HRT, your doctor will want to see you every year to ensure your heart is healthy.

  • Beneficial in Reducing Feelings of Despair

Many women suffer from mild to severe depression at the onset and subsequent years of menopause.

A skin patch containing oestrogen has been shown to alleviate depressive symptoms. In the case of postmenopausal depression, oestrogen has not been shown to be effective.

  • Assists in Preserving Bone Health

The risk of bone loss, osteoporosis, and fractures all rise with menopause.

Studies suggest that using a skin patch with estrogen-based HRT for a period of one to two years may assist increase bone density and protecting the skeletal framework as you age.

  • Muscle Loss Prevention

Most people see a significant drop in muscle mass as they become older. Muscle mass is crucial for motion, strength, and equilibrium. Hormone replacement therapy helps in theprevention of muscle loss.

HRT, when used in combination with regular exercise, has the potential to boost muscle growth and strength.

Preparation Before Appointment

  • You need to record your menopause symptoms. For instance, you may keep track of the frequency and intensity of your hot flashes by keeping a log.
  • List all of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements that you now take. You should specify how frequently you take each dosage and how much.
  • You should make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. Prioritize your list of questions.

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for Me?

Talk to a doctor online to help you balance the options and decide on the treatment options. A doctor will advise you depending on the severity of your symptoms and previous health conditions.

Some questions to enquire are as follows:

  • Is there any reason I shouldn’t use HRT based on my current health status?
  • Do you believe it has the potential to alleviate my symptoms, particularly my hot flashes, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness?
  • Do I have options for alternative treatments? (Vaginal moisturisers, for instance, may alleviate vaginal dryness.)
  • Could I have negative consequences with HRT? (You should notify your doctor if you experienced any problems with birth control pills.)
  • What role does my family history have in determining whether HRT is appropriate for me? (If your mother suffered from osteoporosis, HRT may help lessen your own risk for the condition. However, if your mother suffered from breast cancer, you should discuss this with your physician.)
  • When it comes to HRT, what would you recommend for me?

Takeaway

Although menopause is a normal phase, it is accompanied by a decline in oestrogen levels. This may result in a variety of symptoms, some of which can be severe.

Hormone replacement therapy(HRT) may alleviate several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It may also minimise your danger of heart disease, safeguard your bones and muscles, and alleviate your sadness.

HRT is not risk-free, particularly for women over 60 or who began menopause more than ten years ago.

Discuss with a healthcare provider whether HRT is an appropriate treatmentfor you and whether the benefits outweigh the hazards.

MR_JD

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