Postmenopausal Health and HRT
The menopause refers to that time in every woman’s life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. In the UK the average age is 51.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy [HRT] is the most effective and widely used treatment for menopausal symptoms by replacing the hormone oestrogen that is lost during the menopause.
HRT aims to relieve those symptoms related to oestrogen deficiency – such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis. The benefits of HRT as a remedy for hot flushes, sleep disturbances, vaginal symptoms and some mood disorders have been proved. On the other hand, some women experience unwanted side effects when taking HRT for the first time, such as breast tenderness, leg cramps, nausea, bloatedness, irritability and depression. Usually these symptoms resolve after a few months, but change in type, dose [Oral: tablet; transdermal: patch or gel] or route of HRT may be required.
There have been many debates whether HRT is beneficial or harmful. Recent evidence and analysis of available data appear to support the use of HRT after careful counseling of patients on an individual basis.