“The risks of breast cancer, stroke, heart attack and blood clots outweigh the benefits for bones. And we have other drugs we can use to prevent osteoporosis.”-Dr. Jerry Avorn, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School
There are several symptoms that signal the onset of menopause in women. Most women suffer from vaginal hot flashes, severe mood swings and itchiness or dryness. These irritating conditions are relieved by a treatment called hormone replacement therapy, also called hormone therapy for women. It has been a very popular and preferred treatment for uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. With natural menopause, the monthly cycles stop. The amount of hormones (progesterone and oestrogen) produced by the ovaries of a woman reduces significantly. Also, hormone replacement therapy is used in treating surgically menopausal women. The ovaries are removed by surgery for various reasons, hence the term ‘surgical menopause’.
Action of HRT
What hormone replacement therapy does is to provide the body with these hormones in order to reduce the postmenopausal symptoms that many women suffer from. There may be a slight risk in supplying just one of these two hormones. For example, for women with intact uterus, being given oestrogen might have a greater risk of endometric cancer. Of course, the amount of replacement hormones is less than what the ovaries normally produce in reproductive women. At a time, the replacement may not have many risks, but regular replacement of hormones might expose these women to slightly higher risk of strokes, cancer and fractures.