Is HRT Right For Me?
Middle age often brings a cacophony of troubling symptoms for women. From hot flashes to sleep troubles, premenopausal symptoms can be so uncomfortable that some patients will consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While menopause is often a deciding factor in pursuing HRT, healthcare professionals highlight that hormone therapy without the presence of menopause provides numerous health benefits as well. With a blend of hormones, patients can successfully treat symptoms of menopause that can last anywhere from a few months to over a decade. Minimizing symptoms can help many women live more easily with menopause while providing additional protection against osteoporosis, diabetes, and joint pain. For safe and long-lasting results, some experts emphasize that HRT must be fit for the individual patient and lifestyle.
Before you start
The efficacy of HRT depends on both the patient’s age and overall state of health. Medical experts suggest that hormones are most effective in healthy women under age 60, starting treatment within 10 years of menopause. Patients older than 60 that start HRT 10 years or more after menopause are at an increased risk for potential health risks, including heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. To maximize the symptom-busting benefits of HRT, many doctors recommend starting hormone therapy within 10 years of the onset of menopause.
The notable benefits of HRT
When administered correctly, the benefits of hormone therapy include significant reductions in the likelihood of certain serious health issues. Estrogen positively influences how the body uses calcium, an integral bone-building compound. Estrogen also boosts fat oxidation, thereby lowering abdominal fat distribution. Thanks to the influence of estrogen, patients on HRT experience a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis and diabetes. Key experts also note the relationship between HRT and less joint pain. Research has found that hormones can act as anti-inflammatory agents, keeping the joints healthy as lubrication recedes with age.
What’s in your family tree?
Although HRT lowers the risk of specific medical problems, patient history is the key to correctly utilizing hormone treatment. HRT may not be a good fit if a patient shows a proclivity to health concerns that increase the overall risk. Doctors do not recommend HRT if a patient has a family medical history, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, liver disease, and osteoporosis. Ultimately, the patient must assess their family history and decide if the benefits of HRT outweigh the potential risks.
Protecting your health with HRT
While HRT must be tailored to the individual patient to prevent potential health risks, hormone therapy can lower the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, and joint pain. Whether hormones will benefit a patient depends on age, the type of hormones, and family history. To ensure safe and effective treatment patients must maintain a healthy lifestyle while regularly seeking and attending follow-up care.