Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the Body Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the Body

the Effects of
hormone replacement therapy on the Body

Hormone replacement therapy can relieve unpleasant symptoms of menopause, but there are some side effects and health risks that should be considered.

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Answer To Premature Menopause
Blood Clots
Improved Sex Life
Breast Issues
Gallbladder Problems
Hot Flash Relief
Dementia
Stronger Bones
Heart Disease Risk
Stroke Risk
Protection from Uterine Cancer
Bloating
Urinary Incontinence Issues
Headache
Skin Reaction

Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on the Body

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help to ease symptoms of menopause. As a woman approaches her mid-40s to early 50s, levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone start to decline. The menstrual cycle becomes irregular. Menopause is the point when a woman has not had a period for a year. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal discomfort. For most women, symptoms of menopause are mild and no treatment is necessary.

When symptoms do become troublesome, HRT may help. Another reason to take HRT is early menopause due to primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) or other diseases. Cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may trigger early menopause. You will go through menopause if you have your uterus removed but keep your ovaries. Removal of the ovaries (hysterectomy) causes immediate menopause.

Estrogen therapy (ET) and estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT) come in the form of pills, injections, and skin patches. It can also be dispensed in easy-to-use vaginal creams, suppositories, or a vaginal ring.

While HRT can ease symptoms of menopause, there are also some health risks to consider. In order to minimize risk, your doctor may start with a very low dose to see if your symptoms improve. Side effects vary from woman to woman and depend on the dosage and combination of hormones.

Circulatory and Respiratory Systems

Clinical trials show that oral EPT increases the chances of developing heart disease, blood clots, and stroke. Another trial of women who had a hysterectomy showed that when using estrogen alone, there was no increased risk of heart disease. However, there was still an increased risk of blood clots and stroke. The study showed that these risks are lower in otherwise healthy women between the ages of 50 and 59. The longer you take hormones following menopause, the greater the risk.

HRT is generally not recommended for women who have previously had blood clots or stroke. The risk of stroke is greater in smokers who are also overweight.

There’s no increased risk of lung cancer associated with HRT, but combination EPT may increase the risk of dying from lung cancer.

Reproductive System and Sexual Health

When estrogen levels drop, you may experience vaginal dryness, burning, and itching. That can make intercourse painful and interfere with intimacy. ET can relieve those symptoms and make sex pleasurable again. If vaginal discomfort is your main problem, you can use vaginal creams, a vaginal ring, or suppositories instead of oral HRT. HRT may cause vaginal spotting or bleeding.

HRT may offer some protection from uterine cancer. When progestin is added to estrogen, it helps to block an overgrowth of cells of the uterine lining (which may lead to uterine cancer).

HRT can cause swelling or tenderness of the breasts. It can also make your breasts appear more dense on mammograms, which can make it harder to find cancerous cells. EPT may increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

ET can raise your risk of endometrial cancer. HRT is usually not recommended for women who have had endometrial, ovarian, or breast cancer.

Digestive and Excretory Systems

HRT may cause bloating, fluid retention, and nausea. You may have a higher risk of developing gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

For some women, an unpleasant symptom of menopause is urinary incontinence. You may lose a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. EPT can sometimes exacerbate this problem. However, low-dose estrogen vaginal creams and suppositories may improve symptoms.

HRT is generally not recommended for women who have had liver disease.

Central Nervous System

Persistent hot flashes can become a problem in menopause. Night sweats can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. HRT can be quite effective in relieving these symptoms. It may also relive anxiety and irritability. In some women, it can cause mood changes and headaches. The Women's Health Initiative, a 15-year study, found that women who take menopausal HRT may have a higher risk of dementia.

Skin and Bones

HRT may relieve skin itchiness caused by menopause, but it can also cause some mild skin discoloration. If you use an estrogen patch, you may have skin irritation at the site of the patch.

HRT may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (thin, brittle bones). In a recent study, younger women with POI who took HRT showed an increase in bone mineral density.

When menopause happens before age 45 due to illness, hormone replacement therapy can help. Read more.

Women who take the estrogen and progestin combination are at increased risk of heart disease. Read more.

Women who have a history of blood clots will most likely be advised not to take hormone replacement therapy. Read more.

Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of stroke, especially for women who are overweight and smoke. Read more.

If vaginal dryness is ruining your sex life, estrogen therapy may ease discomfort and get you back in the mood. Read more.

Progestin can prevent an overgrowth of cells in your uterine lining, which may offer some protection from uterine cancer. Read more.

Hormone replacement therapy may cause breast tenderness and make it harder to detect breast cancer. Read more.

Hormone replacement therapy can cause fluid retention and mild bloating. Read more.

Women on hormone replacement therapy may be more prone to gallbladder problems like gallstones. Read more.

Some hormone therapies may improve urinary incontinence issues, but some can make it worse. Read more.

Some of the biggest complaints of menopause are hot flashes and night sweats. Hormone therapy is an effective way to get them under control. Read more.

Some women experience headache while taking hormones. Read more.

A 15-year study showed that menopausal women who take HRT may be at increased risk of dementia. Read more.

Itchy skin? Hormone therapy may help. On the other hand, it can cause skin discoloration. Read more.

Hormone therapy can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering bone fractures. Read more.