What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
The three hormones of particular relevance at menopause are oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Menopausal symptoms are created by changes in the levels of these hormones. HRT, also called hormone therapy (HT), is the medical replacement of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone and sometimes testosterone. HRT is a treatment used to help manage menopause symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, when they are interfering with your life.
What are the benefits of HRT?
HRT can provide relief for many of the common symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, sweats, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, joint aches and vaginal dryness.*
Types of HRT
Oestrogen and progesterone therapy
Oestrogen is the main hormone prescribed to relieve menopausal symptoms, and for women who have had a hysterectomy, this is all they may need.
In women who still have their uterus, oestrogen alone can overstimulate the cells lining the uterus causing an increased risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus).
To neutralise the risk of overstimulation, women who have not had a hysterectomy need to take progesterone or a synthetic form known as ‘progestin’ together with the oestrogen. ‘Progestogens’ is the name used to refer both to the natural form of progesterone and the synthetic form ‘progestin’.
Some studies have shown women who experience a loss of sexual interest at menopause may benefit from testosterone therapy when it is used together with oestrogen.*
*Estrogens and progestins may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer. Women treated with combination estrogen plus progestin have a greater risk of developing dementia. There is a higher incidence of mammography abnormalities requiring medical attention.
*results may vary