Hormone Replacement: Benefits and Risks

Hormones in the body don’t just control certain physiological functions that are essential to health, but psychological and mental processes as well. When a woman goes through menopause, her body is deprived of female hormones and this causes a great upheaval in her system which would ultimately affect the way she lives her life. This translates to a whole slew of physical and psychological symptoms that she must endure, including hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness and itching, depression, loss of libido, insomnia, and mood swings.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been recommended for women, which entails regular doses of the hormones that a menopausal woman’s body has ceased producing — estrogen with or without combining it with progesterone and progestin. But in for the past couple of decades, risks of cancer and heart disease have caused doctors to be more restrictive in their recommendations. However, more recent studies have shown that HRT can address menopausal symptoms without increasing cancer risk.

There has also been a development in the type of hormones used for HRT. This is called bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Women can now have the hormones they take be exact replicas of the those that their body used to produce, this is so that their bodies can absorb the hormones better and achieve ultimate hormonal balance. Furthermore, the hormones are synthesized only from plant sources and not from chemicals in a lab.

Timing is important for how safe the selected hormone therapy is. Generally, it is recommended that women start therapy upon the onset of menopausal symptoms. Women who have undergone hysterectomies Studies have shown that hormone therapy could even lower the risk of heart attack and heart failure.

HRT is not recommended for women who have been post-menopausal for ten years or more, and for women with cancer in their family history, as hormone replacement therapy could still increase their risk for developing the disease.

Women who are considering hormone replacement therapy should enter into a discussion with their doctors about benefits and risks and which kind of hormone treatment is right for them. For those in Denver, check out Biovive.