Hormone Replacement Therapy has been used for decades to help women cope with the unpleasant side effects of menopause. As a woman ages, estrogen production decreases significantly over time. This can cause a multitude of unpleasant symptoms including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, irritability, moodiness, and night sweats. Hormone Replacement Therapy is often recommended after a woman has a hysterectomy or other procedure that affects how hormones are produced or released within the body. Women who have chronic illnesses that bring on early onset menopause may also benefit from this therapy.
Hormone Replacement Therapy may or may not have side effects. Because each woman is different, they will react differently to the various hormones that are included in the therapy program. Common side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy include weight gain, abnormal hair growth, breast tenderness, the increased risk of certain types of cancer, and vaginal dryness. Side effects can range from mild to severe, so the actual dosage prescribed may have to be altered to help relieve the discomfort associated with the treatment. Severe side effects may require the use of a different form of HRT.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is mainly used after a woman has had a partial or complete hysterectomy, or if woman has severe menopausal symptoms after natural menopause. Because the body is no longer able to produce the necessary amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones, they need to be provided through supplementation. If a portion of an ovary is left intact, Hormone Replacement Therapy may not be needed. The patient will have to monitor how their body responds to the procedure. If noticeable discomfort is present, the doctor may offer different strengths of Hormone Replacement Therapy to help compensate for the hormone loss caused by the surgery. Hormone Replacement Therapy may also be used when an illness alters the production and release of certain hormones.
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