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Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement TherapySome women experience a significant drop in the level of oestrogen and progesterone as they near the end of their reproductive cycle, often causing uncomfortable mental, physical and emotional symptoms. Declining oestrogen levels pose a threat of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy offers them some respite by raising the level of these essential hormones. HRT therapy produces effective results for women who haven't undergone hysterectomy and helps in restoring oestrogen to pre-menopausal levels. However, HRT is not free from side effects.

Symptoms of Drop in Oestrogen

Low oestrogen levels result in:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Thinning hair
  • Urinary problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Moodiness
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flushes
  • Irregular periods
  • Lower fertility
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Fat accumulation in the abdomen

A double-blind study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 explored the effects of phytoestrogens on bone density, concluding that women taking herbal hormone replacement, such as soy products, are less likely to experience bone loss in the lumbar spine. These herbal phytoestrogens also help in relieving mild symptoms and are known to be effective in countering hormone fluctuations when taken as part of a healthy diet.

Risk of Hormone Therapy

A combination of oestrogen-progestin drug increases risk of serious conditions, such as

  • Blood clots
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Stroke

Who Should Consider HRT

Systemic oestrogen is considered the most effective treatment for menopause. There are varied benefits of the HRT for different women:

  • Those who have lost bone mass and are not able to tolerate other treatments
  • Those who experience menopausal symptoms, including moderate to severe hot flashes
  • Those who have stopped having periods before 40 years of age
  • Those who have lost normal functioning of ovaries before 40 years of age
  • Those who experience early menopause, especially with their ovaries removed and have not taken oestrogen treatment until 45 years of age, have a greater risk of dementia, osteoporosis, anxiety, coronary heart disease, Parkinsons and depression.

You can ease menopause symptoms on your own by making a few lifestyle changes:

  • Consuming less caffeine
  • Consuming less spicy food and alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet

Sources of natural oestrogens include crushed linseeds and soya beans. Try to include cabbage, apples, carrots, beets, chick peas, oats, cucumbers, olives, green beans, potatoes and parsley in your diet.