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Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Gynaecology 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment that involves replacing the female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that the body stops producing after menopause. HRT can help relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood changes that are caused by the natural decline in hormone production that occurs during menopause.

 

HRT works by supplementing the body with either estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone (in women with a uterus), to mimic the hormone levels that were present before menopause. This helps alleviate the symptoms that occur due to the lower levels of hormones in the body. There are several ways to administer HRT, including pills, patches, gels, creams, and vaginal suppositories.

 

HRT can have various benefits, such as reducing the risk of osteoporosis and improving cardiovascular health, especially if started early after the onset of menopause. However, like any medication, HRT also carries risks, such as an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer in some women. The risks and benefits of HRT must be carefully weighed by the individual woman and her healthcare provider, taking into account her medical history and individual health status.

 

While HRT can be effective in reducing menopausal symptoms, it can also carry certain risks, particularly in women who use it for an extended period.

Here are some of the potential risks associated with HRT:

  1. Blood clots: HRT can increase the risk of blood clots, particularly deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), especially in the first year of use.
  2. Stroke: Long-term use of HRT may increase the risk of stroke.
  3. Breast cancer: HRT use, particularly for more than five years, may increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
  4. Endometrial cancer: Women who have an intact uterus and take estrogen alone (without progesterone) are at an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
  5. Ovarian cancer: Some studies suggest a possible association between HRT use and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
  6. Gallbladder disease: HRT use may increase the risk of developing gallbladder disease.
  7. Heart disease: The relationship between HRT and heart disease is complex and not well understood, but some studies have suggested an increased risk in some women.

 

It is important to note that not all women who use HRT will experience these risks. The risks associated with HRT depend on various factors, including the type of HRT, dosage, duration of use, and a woman’s individual health history. It is important for women considering HRT to discuss their individual risks and benefits with their healthcare provider to make an informed decision.

 

You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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