What is HRT?
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a medication that contains estrogen that your body stops making during menopause. It is commonly used to treat common menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and vaginal discomfort.
There are 2 types of HRT:
ET is Estrogen-Only and can provide the most menopausal symptom relief, and is usually prescribed for women without a uterus due to a hysterectomy.
EPT is Estrogen plus Progestogen Therapy. It can be known as combined HRT. Progestogen is added to ET to help protect women from uterine cancer from estrogen alone. This is the most common HRT used.
There are Benefits.
EPT may help relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal discomfort. It can also protect against osteoporosis and reduce the risk of colon cancer. (It should be noted that HRT is not recommended to prevent colorectal cancer)
But there are Risks Too.
ET can really only be given to women without a uterus, due to the risks of ovarian cancer.
Research shows that long-term use of EPT can increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots. This suggests that the risk of long-term HRT can outweigh the benefits for most women.
HRT is a common way for women to reduce menopausal symptoms, but it isn’t for everyone, and it really depends on one’s individual and family health history. The decision to take HRT is personal and should be made with the help of your medical professional. Any concerns should be discussed when considering the benefits and risks of HRT.
If HRT is not for you, there are alternatives to finding comfort and relief. You may manage hot flashes by keeping cool, limiting caffeine and alcohol, reducing spicy foods and practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.