What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

What are hormones?

Chemical substances produced in our body which brings different changes and are produced in different situations are called hormones.

Types of hormones:

There are several types of hormones listed below:

  1. Growth hormones- for growing height.
  2. Sex hormones- for sexual intercourse.
  3. Thyroid hormones- maintain and keep in balance the energy of the body.
  4. Parathyroid hormones- to secrete thyroids.
  5. Progesterone- secreted in females.
  6. Estrogen- female hormones.
  7. Oxytocin- female hormones.
  8. Testosterone.- male and female hormone which produces hair on the body. Females have lesser amount of testosterone comparable to men, hence they have lesser hair than men. and many others.

Every hormone produces relevant change in our body and deficiency or excessive amount of hormones causes an imbalance and problems in a person’s body. Therefore, the imbalance needs to get cured through therapy.

What is hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy is done in order to cover the deficiency of hormones by using different medicines in different forms. It helps keep the estrogen and progesterone balanced in a woman. Both of them are released during pregnancy and while giving birth and helps in producing breast milk. It is also used in menopause (time period in which periods stop at the age of 45 to 50).

Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation (typically between the age of 45 and 50) happens in every woman and this is the time they need hormone replacement therapy. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or menopausal hormone therapy helps in several ways i.e. It reduces the chances of osteoporosis, relieve sweating, and other manifestations of menopause.

 Types of HRT:

HRT injected in women are of two types:

  1. Progesterone
  2. Estrogen

and sometimes testosterone too.

HRT injected in males are called testosterone.

HRT is for male and female both and for the ones who go for the sex change i.e. gender change (male to female and female to male).

Facts about HRT:

There are certain points to be noted regarding HRT:

  1. It’s an effective way to reduce the chances of perimenopause (periods that stop before menopause) and menopause.
  2. Reduces the chances of osteoporosis and reduces the severity of feverish heat (hot flashes).
  3. Some studies have shown a link with cancer too, but it has not been proved up till now.
  4. Anyone who is thinking of HRT, should consult a physician who knows their history.
  5. It helps keep the person young, but it’s obvious it does not last because of the aging factor.

Uses of HRT:

Estrogen and progesterone play an important part in a woman’s reproductive system as estrogen energizes the excretion of eggs and progesterone makes the womb ready for implanting eggs in it. A young lady tends to have a balanced amount of estrogen and progesterone whereas they start to experience certain changes at the age of 40 when some of them have their last periods.

They go through three stages:

  1. Perimenopause: Perimenopause is the menstrual phase that occurs before the menopause. The phase usually occurs in the early 40s, however, can also develop in the late 30s in women depending on their genes. It is the period when the amount of estrogen reduces in the ovaries. Perimenopause continues until menopause, when eventually, the ovaries stop developing eggs at all.
  1. Menopause: when the woman menstruates for the last time (45 to 50 years), the woman is in menopause state.

Menopause state can occur out of the naturally aging factor too. Removal of the ovaries, smoking or cancer treatment can speed up the arrival of menopause.

Consequence of menopause:

Aging brings a lot of ailments but when it comes to menopause time period, it brings several discomforts and other health issues.

Some of them are as follows:

  1. Lower fertility
  2. Irregular or no periods
  3. Night sweats
  4. Hot flashes
  5. Mood swings
  6. Poor memory
  7. Forgetting things
  8. Breasts reduction and fat being transferred to lower abdomen
  9. Vaginal dryness
  10. Osteoporosis
  11. Burning urine
  12. Hair fall
  13. Sleeplessness

However, hormonal therapy is the solution to all these problems.

Consequences of hormonal therapy:

Hormonal therapy is used to reduce the symptoms of osteoporosis, menopause and cardiovascular disease. Later on it was found that hormonal therapy may result in ovarian cancer, endometrial or breast cancer, whereas, the new studies say the opposite and there is still a confusion.

Other recent studies have concluded that it may:

  1. decrease death rates in younger people
  2. decrease death rates in postmenopausal women.
  3. enhance the functionality of different muscles.
  4. decreases the rate of heart attack
  5. last but not least, prevents skin aging. However, it requires continuous checkup to keep things in place.

However, a hormonal therapy requires a professional lead, a doctor who knows the history of the patient so they can prescribe the Dos and Don-ts to them.

Who should not make use of hormonal therapy:

Every patient has a history and doctors recommend people to not to have hormonal therapy who have a history of:

  1. heart diseases- have higher chances of heart attack
  2. stroke- can lose memory or similar condition
  3. breast cancer
  4. ovarian cancer
  5. endometrial cancer
  6. severe migraines
  7. uncontrolled hypertension
  8. high blood pressure.
  9. women who intend to conceive or are already pregnant.
  10. women who have regular menstrual cycle

Women usually gain weight after hormonal therapy, however they may gain weight near to menopause and not because of hormone replacement therapy.

Weight gain may be due to increase in appetite due to reduction of estrogen, hormonal changes or no physical activity.

Maintaining a

  1. healthy diet
  2. regular exercise
  3. brisk walk
  4. intake of plenty of water

etc. can help in reducing weight rapidly.

Types of hormone replacement therapy:

hormone replacement therapy comes in the form of:

  1. vaginal ring
  2. tablets
  3. creams
  4. patches

However, they are classified into different types according to their combination and delivery of hormones.

  1. Cyclical hormone replacement therapy: a group of women who are menstruating or are having perimenopause symptoms can use sequential hormone replacement therapy. A dose of estrogen and progestogen can be taken in two ways i.e. at the end of menstrual cycle for 14 days or for 14 days every 13 weeks.
  2. Estrogen hormone replacement therapy: women who got their womb, ovaries or uterus removed, do not need progestogen.
  3. Non stop hormonal replace therapy: continuous intake of estrogen and progestogen is recommended during postmenopause.
  4. Long-cycle hormone replacement therapy: it’s safety is under question as it causes withdrawal bleeding every 3 months.
  5. Confined estrogen: vaginal tablets, creams or vaginal rings, all fall in this category. It is helpful in urogenital problems such as vagina irritations and vaginal dryness.

Intake of hormone replacement therapy:

Being a professional and expert, every doctor will recommend the patient according to his/her condition and symptoms.

He will prescribe and start the trial session with the lowest possible dose to avoid any complication.

Hormonal replace therapy is delivered in the following ways:

  1. skin patches – stick them to skin and replace after a few days.
  2. vaginal rings – used for the delivery of oestrogen to the vagina
  3. creams or gels- to increase bone mineral density.
  4. tablets – balance estrogen and progesterone.

Patients stop taking these things when the hormone replacement therapy is no longer required.

Substitute of hormone replacement therapy: everything has a substitute and an alternative, so does hormone replacement therapy has.

A woman facing perimenopause can substitute hormone replacement therapy with the following things that may help relieve the symptoms:

  1. sleep in a well ventilated room.
  2. avoid spicy food.
  3. brisk walk
  4. exercise regularly
  5. reduce caffeine
  6. avoid alcohol
  7. loose clothes to breathe openly
  8. no smoking
  9. fan in the room
  10. cooling gel pads
  11. pillows that are comfortable enough to put you to instant sleep

Whereas, hot flashes can be treated with the help of some anti-depressants and the anti-hypertensive drug.

Consumption of:

  1. block cohosh – used for perimenopause and menopause
  2. red clover – a plant whose flower tops are used to make medicine for lowering cholesterol and hot flashes in women. Also used to prevent cancer from happening, cough, asthma, acidity and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some women use for breast pain and for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  
  3. kava – is a beverage made from piper methysticum which is bitter in taste.
  4. ginseng – restores and enhances well being. It is one of the herbal remedies.
  5. soybeans – women who avoid hormonal replace therapy consume soy-rich foods such as tofu which reduces flushing, night sweats and hot flashes as they contain a high level of isoflavones, a substance that is used in place of estrogen can help with menopause.

Although, hormonal replacing treatment is effective for such kind of problems, but before getting it done, consulting a doctor and taking the decision carefully, keeping in view the consequences is very important.