Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a topic in women’s health that can be confusing, because the results of some well-publicized studies have seemed contradictory. In fact, doctors have solid guidelines about who should and shouldn’t take HRT, as well as when it’s safe to begin taking it.
Menopause is a normal part of life for women, but it can be so uncomfortable that it makes meeting your day-to-day obligations difficult. Dr. Marsha Bornt and her staff understand that hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and all the other symptoms of menopause can make life harder than it needs to be. The team at Apple Hill Gynecology assesses each patient to determine whether hormone replacement therapy is a safe solution.
Clearing the confusion
Before we talk about who should take HRT and when it’s a good idea to consider it, we want to discuss why there’s so much confusion around the topic.
At one time, researchers thought that HRT could be used to prevent some conditions such as heart disease or to lower cholesterol. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) performed an extensive study that showed HRT is not appropriate for those uses, but is helpful in relieving moderate-to-severe symptoms of early menopause.
In a joint statement, The North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society “take the position that most healthy, recently menopausal women can use hormone therapy for relief of their symptoms for hot flashes and vaginal dryness if they so choose.”
There are some risks, though, so it’s crucial for you to talk to a highly qualified provider like Dr. Bornt. She can help guide you through the decision-making process and thoroughly understand the risks and benefits associated with HRT.
The timing of HRT
One thing that the WHI study revealed is that HRT is safest for younger women. If you’re 59 years old or younger, or you’re within 10 years of menopause, HRT could be a good option for you.
If you’re older or more than 10 years beyond menopause, the risks of HRT likely outweigh the benefits. Prolonged use of HRT may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and many other conditions.
When to consider HRT
Menopause is different for everyone, and you may sail through, with no need for HRT. But, you might also find the symptoms are overwhelming.
HRT is particularly helpful in relieving hot flashes and night sweats, along with vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. If you’re finding that you struggle with any of those symptoms, it may be time to discuss your situation with Dr. Bornt.
HRT can be a safe solution for many women. Dr. Bornt and her team always carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of any medication, including HRT. Before prescribing HRT, we also make sure you understand your options as many different types of HRT are available.
If you have questions or you’d like to learn more about HRT, schedule your appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology today.