Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, operates as a treatment that has you taking certain hormones so that a number of conditions are prevented. Some of the reasons that a woman could undergo HRT include treating menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. HRT hormones are what are known as synthetic. Synthetic hormones get made in a laboratory. Once you ingest synthetic hormones, they will act just like natural hormones.
Years ago, physicians prescribed HRT on a fairly regular basis. They felt that it could treat a few different diseases. Doctors also suspected that HRT could get used to treat menopause. However, many doctors hoped that this type of therapy could also treat certain types of cancers, as well as heart disease.
In recent years, studies have shown that HRT poses numerous risks for many women. But for a few female patients, the benefits of HRT could outdo its risks. For this reason, it is imperative that you talk to a physician about HRT.
Recently, a health initiative got created to study the various effects of HRT. The Women’s Health Initiative was a grouping of studies that got run by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers studied the health of female participants who went through menopause. During the HRT study, researchers looked at the effects of HRT on postmenopausal participants.
What researchers wanted to know was whether a patient who used HRT had a higher chance of developing one of the following conditions:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Heart disease
In the HRT study, two groups of women were examined. In the first group, women who had a hysterectomy took either a placebo or estrogen. The second group consisted of postmenopausal women who did not have a hysterectomy. Participants in the second group took either HRT or a sugar pill.
While this study would have ended on schedule in 2005, it was stopped three years earlier than planned. Researchers stopped the study because they could already see that the risks of HRT outweighed its benefits for most women. For example, researchers learned that if a woman used HRT for more than 5 years, she had an increased risk of some of the following conditions:
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
Is It Ever A Good Idea to Use HRT Long-Term?
As a therapy, HRT can still get used to treat osteoporosis. This treatment can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. If you have a higher-than-average risk for either of these diseases, you could be a candidate for HRT. The very best HRT candidates will also have a low risk for diseases like breast cancer and heart disease. Those women who have severe symptoms relating to menopause could also gain a lot of benefits from HRT. But before you embark on this path, you and your doctor will need to have a discussion about both the risks and benefits of this particular mode of treatment.
Medical experts state that women should not undergo HRT solely for the purpose of preventing certain chronic conditions. Experts also say that women who have undergone a hysterectomy should also avoid this type of medical treatment. However, women younger than 50 years of age who have undergone surgical menopause might be able to do HRT under certain circumstances. You will need to talk to your doctor about whether HRT is right for you and your situation.
Women who experience serious symptoms of menopause should definitely see their doctor to discuss options. The two of you can then figure out a treatment plan for your symptoms. For some women, this plan could include short-term usage of HRT.
Patients who currently take HRT should already be under the close supervision of a doctor. If this is the case, continue keeping up your communication with your physician. If you find yourself dealing with any unusual symptoms regarding menopause or anything else, contact your doctor and ask to see them.
Some other options that you have for the prevention of the chronic conditions mentioned here include maintaining a healthy weight for your height, eating a healthy diet, and exercising on a regular basis if you don’t already. Also, if you smoke cigarettes or use tobacco, quit as soon as humanly possible. The risks of HRT can increase if you’re smoking.
Want to see if the short-term use of HRT is right for you? Call or email our office today. Call our offices at 205-352-9141 and a friendly, knowledgeable member of our office staff will assist you.