Hormone Replacement Therapy; What it is, Uses, Pros and Cons

Any person who struggles with osteoporosis or menopausal symptoms knows how uncomfortable and painful these conditions can be. Patients with either condition should book an appointment with their doctors. The medical professional will then conduct an in depth examination and offer proper diagnosis. Any patient diagnosed with osteoporosis experiences a weakening of the bones. He’ll then suffer frequent injuries and fractures even from the seemingly harmless slip or fall.

In such situations, the doctor will probably recommend hormone replacement therapy.

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Before answering this question, it would be great to learn more about osteoporosis first. A detailed understanding of this condition would then expose the mind to the reasons that make this replacement therapy a more effective treatment. Often, osteoporosis weakens patients to a point that they can’t even risk coughing. A simple cough is likely to worsen the situation further.

The fractures related with this condition are most common in the:

  1. Wrist
  2. Spine
  3. Hip

It mostly affects the bones, which are living tissues. The bones suffer a lot of breaking down. The good news is the body has developed a mechanism for replacing any broken down bone. The development of new bones gets derailed slightly in patients with osteoporosis. The condition makes it difficult for the new bones to grow fast enough and replace the old ones. This condition makes it impossible for the human system to regenerate new bones.

What are the common causes of osteoporosis?

First, patients will complain of increased back pains. The increase is because of the collapsed or fractured vertebra. Additionally, the patients will experience unplanned and unwanted weight loss with time. A stooped posture is also likely to arise; thus making it harder for patients to do things that were once easy to do even with the eyes shut. Lastly, bone fractures will occur with more alacrity than even before.

Good for other conditions

However, is hormone replacement therapy only effective in treating osteoporosis?

Well, the answer is it treats other conditions too. For example, patients diagnosed with menopausal symptoms are more likely to recover and feel good once more after this form of treatment. In menopause, estrogen levels drop alarmingly. Some of the symptoms it leaves behind are quite uncomfortable to the patients. A few of these uncomfortable symptoms include vaginal dryness and hot flashes.

Until today, scientists are yet to discover a more effective treatment for menopausal symptoms than hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Some doctors call it menopausal hormone therapy while others refer to it as hormone therapy or estrogen replacement therapy. Whatever the name, what’s not in doubt is the lasting benefits that it presents to patients. It makes their lives more comfortable once again.

It reduces the frequency of some of these symptoms.

Hot flashes and vaginal dryness no longer affects patients with the same frequency once patients leave the hospital after the therapy. It does this by building up the level of estrogen and progesterone in the patient’s body. These two hormones are crucial in women’s reproductive system. For example, estrogen is crucial in stimulating release of eggs. For its part, progesterone prepares the woman’s body for egg implantation. Naturally, the production of eggs reduces as the woman’s body ages.

When the number of eggs reduce, the production of estrogen also drops.

Hormone replacement therapy helps in treating symptoms associated with the following:

  1. Perimenopause
  2. Menopause
  3. Post-menopause

HRT offers relief to women diagnosed with symptoms and conditions arising at any stage of perimenopause, menopause, or post-menopause. The symptoms can make it impossible for women to lead normal lives. The symptoms prevent women from enjoying the best that their bodies have to offer. Women in any of these stages struggle with plenty of discomfort. The pain levels they experience are unimaginable. Without hormone replacement therapy, it’s hard to imagine the quality of these patients’ lives.

Nevertheless, HRT is not great for everybody. It’s not ideal for people with a history of:

  • Severe migraines
  • Blood clots (thrombosis)
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer or endometrial
  • High blood pressure or uncontrolled hypertension

Types of HRT

Doctors recommend one type of HRT depending on the patient’s symptoms and health condition. After all, several types of therapy exist. This explains why diagnosis is important. No woman should ever embark on any kind of therapy before consulting a doctor for a proper diagnosis of her condition. The type of HRT a doctor prescribes also depends on the specific problem the patient needs addressed, as stated above. Some of the options patients should be aware of include:

  1. Estrogen-only HRT
  2. Cyclical/sequential HRT
  3. Continuous HRT
  4. Long-cycle HRT
  5. Local estrogen

Knowledge of the different types of HRT isn’t everything though. Patients should also know how the therapy is administered. Most doctors recommend tablets. However, some patients experience massive improvement from applying creams and gels. Vaginal rings and skin patches are also proven effective at offering the therapy patients need. The mode of treatment might change after a specific period, especially if the patients experience a massive change in their condition.

However, patients should never stop using it immediately.

Instead, patients should take a more gradual approach.

What about safety? How safe is HRT?

Well, it’s only possible to understand the safety of the therapy after examining the benefits and risks that it presents. It’s good to state the fact that HRT isn’t an entirely risk-free procedure. Nevertheless, it remains the most effective therapy for osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms. For patients of certain age groups, HRT can also help by providing adequate protection against heart diseases. When used to treat menopausal symptoms, HRT should be administered for a specific period, which is often short-term.

Its use is more long-term when treating osteoporosis.

Visit Nexel Official Website for more information on hormone replacement therapy.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.