The Benefits and Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy


 

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For many women, menopause is a rude awakening. It happens most frequently between the ages of 45 and 55 and comes with a host of sometimes uncomfortable changes. Whereas men might deal with their midlife crises by buying sports cars, women desperately try to fight the effects of aging with botox, ultherapy, or other kinds of home health care that promises to keep them looking young and attractive.

But perhaps the more serious side effects of menopause are the hormonal ones: the mood swings, the hot flashes. In other words, the changes happening inside your body, not out. Menopause results in a decreased availability of the hormone estrogen, which in turn can leave women feeling not quite like themselves.

One of the most popular ways to deal with this hormonal imbalance is through hormone replacement therapy. Just like the name suggests, hormone replacement therapy involves adding manufactured estrogen and progesterone back into your system to help balance out everything that’s going on in there. Many women report that it helps them keep better control over their moods and emotions while also alleviating other symptoms like those pesky hot flashes.

Are there risks to hormone replacement therapy? Maybe. Some evidence suggests that extensive or prolonged treatment in this way might increase your risk of certain types of cancer, though the research isn’t absolutely proven yet and not all doctors agree with these results.

That said, most doctors today agree that hormone replacement therapy is safe for temporary relief. When you’re going through menopause, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone: By the year 2025, it’s estimated that there will be 1.1 billion postmenopausal women in the world, up from just 477 million in the year 1998.

If you’re looking for relief from menopause symptoms, talk with a doctor about hormone replacement therapy. The risks of side effects are more pronounced for women with a history of cancer, smoking, or other health issues. If you’re a good candidate, it could make your life — and the lives of those around you — much more pleasant during these transitional and tough years.

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