The most effective way to treat your symptoms is to replace the hormones that are falling in levels, this is called hormone replacement therapy – HRT. The hormones used are oestrogen, progesterone and sometimes testosterone.
Oestrogen is the main hormone need which will relive the symptoms. Oestrogen is produced by your ovaries, and as they are shutting down, our levels fall. The dose can be adjusted depending on your need. Oestrogen replacement comes in the form of gels, patches, spray and tablets.
Progesterone is needed to protect your womb (if you have had a hysterectomy, then generally this is not needed). Taking oestrogen alone will cause the lining of your womb to thicken and will cause bleeding problems and will increase the risk of cancer – Endometrial cancer. Progesterone is given as a capsule, tablets, or the IUS / hormone coil.
Testosterone can be supplemented also when HRT alone has not relieved symptoms such as low libido, brain fog, and energy levels. Not all women will require testosterone. Testosterone is given as cream or gel.
Alternatives to hormones
Some women will choose not to take hormones or may wish to try without initially. There are other medications and natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms, but they don’t change hormone levels. Not all remedies are evidence based or have had their safety approved.
Benefits of HRT
- Resolve symptoms and quality of life.
- Cardiovascular protection
- Bone protection
- Brain protection
Risks of HRT
- Initial side effects usually short-lived, breast tenderness, bleeding problems, bloating.
- Breast cancer – only 4 extra cases per 1000 women over 5 years! Not as high as we have been scared into thinking!