Important Facts To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy In 2023
You may have heard 50 is the new 40, but unfortunately the menopause hasn’t gotten the memo. Women have a finite number of child-bearing years and once these come to an end, the menopause begins, usually around age 50.
Many women can go through the menopause with little to no disruption to their daily lives. Other women, however, struggle with severe menopausal symptoms, often for years. These symptoms can be intrusive enough to have an impact on their quality of life.
What are the stages of Menopause?
Menopause can be categorised into 3 stages. The reproductive system of a woman reacts to hormonal changes at different stages, each of which brings about specific symptoms in women. It is crucial to comprehend these phases if you want to manage the symptoms of menopause with ease. Here’s a closer look at what happens during each one:
- Post menopause
Perimenopause starts up to 10 years before menopause, usually in your 40’s. This is the point where the ovaries start to produce less of a female sex hormone called oestrogen, but you can still become pregnant. The loss of oestrogen is what causes many of the symptoms associated with the menopause, with this loss accelerating greatly in the final year or two of perimenopause. Perimenopause ends when the menopause begins.
Menopause is the point where perimenopause ends and occurs after you have gone a year without a period. Your ovaries no longer release eggs, and you are producing very little oestrogen. You will not be able to become pregnant after the menopause.
Post menopause is the third and final stage and essentially lasts the rest of your life. Menopausal symptoms should ease or completely go away, although some women will continue to have symptoms for several years afterward. At this stage, women are at a higher risk of health conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis because of the loss of oestrogen.
Symptoms of the Menopause
The hormonal shifts that happen during the 3 stages of the menopause can cause a wide range of symptoms. Many of them can be disruptive enough to prevent you from being able to go about your daily life. Not all women will experience all the symptoms or the same symptoms, and they will vary in severity over time.
Common Menopause Symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flushes/hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Trouble sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Memory problems
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Brittle hair
- Breast tenderness
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Symptoms similar to PMS
What is HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a commonly prescribed treatment for the menopause. HRT is basically what it sounds like: it works by replacing some of the hormones that are lost during the menopause. By replacing these hormones, any symptoms should reduce. In some cases, they may even drop to near imperceptible levels.
HRT can be prescribed as tablets, patches, gel, or as an implant. It may contain oestrogen, progesterone, or a combination of the two. The form and combination you take will depend on your medical history and the severity of your symptoms. You may need to try more than one type before finding a treatment that works well for you.
- Tablets: Taken once per day, you can get oestrogen only and combined HRT tablets. It is a simple way of taking HRT that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
- Patches: HRT patches are a common way of treating the menopause. Unlike pills, they don’t need to be taken or changed out each day. Instead, they are placed on clean, dry, hair-free skin on either the butter buttocks or lower stomach. They are available as oestrogen only or combined and will need to be changed out each day.
- Oestrogen Gel: Oestrogen gel is rubbed into your skin once per day and is a way to take HRT with minimal side effects. However, if you still have your womb, you’ll need to take a form of progestogen separately to reduce your risk of uterine cancer.
- HRT Implants: Small, pellet-like implants can be placed just under your skin to provide a gradual release of HRT medication. It can last for several months before needing to be replaced with a new one. This method is useful for people who are forgetful or for those who need an easy way to take their treatment. Like oestrogen gel, you will need to also take a form of progestogen if you still have your uterus.
HRT Side Effects
All medications come with the risk of side effects and HRT is no different. Any side effects you experience should be short term as your body adjusts but speak to your GP or pharmacist if your symptoms get worse or don’t go away. Sometimes taking HRT with low-fat, high card foods can reduce the side effects.
Side Effects of HRT:
Side Effects of Progestogen:
Other Ways to Treat the Menopause
Before trying medical treatment, some women opt for more natural remedies to reduce their symptoms. These methods can be especially effective for women who are unable to take traditional hormonal treatments for the menopause.
- Cut the Caffeine: Limiting how much caffeine you consume can help reduce symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Caffeine dilates the blood vessels, which can make hot flashes and sweating worse.
- Change Your Diet: Like caffeine, spicy food can make symptoms like hot flashes more intense. Instead, try milder food that has plant oestrogen in it. Plant oestrogen isn’t enough to replace the oestrogen you lose during menopause, but it can help. Eat foods like lentils, beans, soybeans, chickpeas, and peaches.
- Get Moving: When you’re a sweaty menopausal mess, exercising might be the last thing on your mind. However, exercise can improve blood flow, reduce stress, and help you sleep through the night. The added weight loss that comes from regular exercise can also reduce your menopausal symptoms and improve your overall health.
If you’re ready to try HRT to treat the symptoms of the menopause you can simply reach out to us. You can get the best HRT medication like Estradot Patches and Ovestin Cream online in the UK. Just complete a short online assessment and we’ll get you feeling like yourself again in no time.