What symptoms prompt women to seek HRT treatment?
The range of symptoms that prompt women to seek HRT treatment can include hot flushes, fatigue, irritability/mood swings, depression, anxiety, palpitations, sleep disturbance and loss of interest in sex. Physical symptoms can also occur, including changes to the vulva and/or vagina such as vaginal dryness, which can make sex less comfortable and sometimes painful. Similar symptoms may be experienced by women who have had a hysterectomy, or those experiencing premature menopause.
Some women find the combination and duration of these unpleasant symptoms affects their whole attitude to life. They lack energy and can even start to feel depressed. HRT treatment offers a way to reduce their symptoms and give them a renewed energy at the start of their middle age.
What is HRT treatment?
Hormone replacement therapy treatment works by replacing the oestrogen that the body no longer produces after a certain point in the menopause. This can reverse many of the changes that naturally occur with the ‘change of life’.
HRT treatment is generally effective at relieving the physical symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. It can also help with many of the psychological symptoms associated with menopause that are due to declining hormone levels. However, if you are experiencing symptoms connected with the emotional impact of reaching menopause, or due to other aspects of your home or work life, these issues are unlikely to be resolved with HRT treatment alone.
What types of HRT treatment are available?
There are two main types of HRT treatment:
Women who have not had a hysterectomy are typically given combined HRT treatment so that progesterone can balance the effects of oestrogen on the uterus.
HRT treatment is most often taken as a daily tablet but it can also be administered through the skin via patches or topical gels, or using an implant placed under the skin. Alternatively, a pessary or cream can be used vaginally, although this only acts locally to reduce vaginal symptoms and will not relieve other symptoms. A ring that releases HRT treatment slowly over time can be placed into the vagina every 3 months, or a nasal spray can be used.
A synthetic steroid known as tibolone is sometimes used as an alternative to HRT treatment and can be more effective than natural HRT. However, it is not suitable for everyone. Your doctor will advise you whether synthetic or natural HRT treatment is best for you.