Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is given to some women whose estrogen and progesterone levels lack significantly because of the menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones. HRT tops up a woman's levels of essential hormones. HRT may also means male hormonal treatment, the same as for individuals who undergo a sex change.

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This article focuses on HRT for women whose ages are in the menopause.

When estrogen and progesterone levels lack, as they do when the menopause approaches, some women can benefit from artificially boosting their hormone levels to drop certain menopausal symptoms.

The hormone estrogen stimulates the release of eggs. When a woman's supply of eggs has ended, estrogen levels start to drop down.

What are the signs and symptoms of a lack in estrogen levels?

Estrogen helps maintain better bone density, skin temperature and regulating moisture of the vagina. A lack in estrogen levels may cause:

Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary problems
  • Thinning hair
  • Sleep problems
  • Night sweats
  • Moodiness
  • Lower fertility
  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes (UK: hot flushes)
  • Concentration and memory difficulties
  • Breasts get small
  • Accumulation of fat in the abdomen

These sometimes unpleasant syndrome often go away within 2 to 5 years, except for vaginal dryness.

Symptoms can sometimes occur before the menopause starts (pre-menopause). In this case the woman's supply of eggs has not ended, they have just reduced significantly, which may trigger a drop in hormone levels. So, the patient can still have regular periods the same as menopausal symptoms.

HRT estrogen comes from pregnant horse urine or plants.

Progesterone's first function is to prepare the woman's body for possible pregnancies. This hormone helps protect the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) too.

Lower progesterone levels don't really make the woman any immediate discomfort. Experts say her risk of developing endometrial cancer can be higher.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

HRT, once the "Elixir of Youth", then a source of fear, and now....

In 2002, HRT was known as the "Elixir of Youth". This golden age gradually deteriorated as studies began to link HRT with potentially life-threatening consequences, including a higher risk of breast cancer,ovarian cancer and other illnesses and conditions. Consequently, HRT guidelines changed and doctors were told only to prescribe it in certain circumstances.