As women inch closer to menopause, their bodies reduce oestrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones are responsible for a woman’s monthly cycle. As a result, a woman may experience a reduction in her bone density, prolonged vaginal dryness, heart disease, blood clots, hot flashes, fatigue, moodiness and irregular periods. Most women experience these symptoms in their late forties, and they can extend into their 60s and 70s. Hormone replacement therapy is a form of treatment that replaces oestrogen and progesterone with lab-created versions to relieve menopausal symptoms. There are many forms of HRT, depending on the woman’s needs. Oestrogen therapy, for example, is the administration of low doses of oestrogen in the form of a pill, gel, vaginal ring or spray to women who have had a hysterectomy. The text below highlights the benefits of hormone replacement therapy:
Reduces Osteoporotic Fracture
Osteoporosis is caused by accelerated loss of bone density after menopause. Reduced production of oestrogen minimises bone mineral density. HRT works by increasing and preserving bone mineral density at all skeletal sites like the forearm, lumbar spine and femoral neck in post-menopausal women. HRT replicates STEAR (selective tissue estrogenic activity regulator), which treats vaginal atrophy and osteoporosis. The therapy also provides SERMs (selective oestrogen receptor modulators) like bazedoxifene and raloxifene, which increase femoral bone mineral density and reduce the risk of developing osteoporotic fractures. This combination of conjugated oestrogens and bazedoxifene minimises climacteric symptoms and bone thinness.
Reduced Risk of Developing Dementia
Women are more likely to develop dementia than men. The risk increases during menopause as oestrogen levels reduce significantly. Oestrogen is used in the brain to help memory and other cognitive functions. The hormone also affects how chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and acetylcholine transmit signals to the brain. HRT that administers oestrogen protects the brain from dementia by prohibiting the harmful effects of amyloid-β protein. Alzheimer develops as a result of the accumulation of amyloid- β and tau proteins. Amyloid-β increases the production of free radicals that have been linked to dementia. The administration of oestrogen reduces the number of free radicals generated by the cells hence, keeping the dementia symptoms minimal.
Eases Vaginal Discomfort
Before menopause, oestrogen stimulates vaginal secretions and protects the skin of the vagina. Reduced oestrogen levels after menopause cause the vaginal walls to thin, become dry and inflamed. This condition is also known as atrophic vaginitis, a state that makes the vagina more susceptible to infections. The most common symptoms of atrophic vaginitis are pain during intercourse, yellow discharge, irritation when wearing specific clothing, frequent urinary tract infections and painful urination. Systematic HRT improves vaginal thickness and reduces vaginal PH. Oestrogen is administered in low doses as high levels are associated with endometrial hyperplasia.
Improved Sleep Quality
Sleep disturbance is another common symptom of the menopausal transition. During the menopausal stage, women experience difficulty initiating sleep due to hormonal changes. Other sleep problems during this stage include obstructive sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome. Oestrogen replacement therapy in menopausal and post-menopausal women is believed to reduce insomnia and instances of night-time awakenings, thus improving a woman’s quality of sleep. The Bazdoxifene/ conjugate oestrogen complex administered during HRT has been found to control these symptoms.
Reduced Hot Flashes
Changes in a woman’s reproductive system and the hypothalamus cause the body to become extremely sensitive to the slightest changes in body temperature. Smoking, obesity and ethnicity aggravate the condition. Women who smoke are more likely to experience hot flashes when compared to others. Also, obese women have a high body mass index, which increases the frequency of hot flashes. Studies also show that African American women experience hot flashes than their counterparts of the European, Japanese and Chinese descent. HRT normalises progesterone and oestrogen levels in the body thus, reducing hot flashes.
Effectiveness of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The effectiveness of this treatment depends on whether a patient opts for low-dose vaginal preparations or systematic hormone therapy. The latter is administered in the form of a pill, gel, skin patch or cream and relieves menopausal symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes. Systematic oestrogen also protects bone-thinning. Low-dose vaginal products with oestrogen are available in tablet, ring and cream forms and are used to reduce absorption into the body while effectively treating vaginal symptoms. However, they do not help in relieving night sweats, hot flashes or osteoporosis. Also, if a woman’s uterus has been removed, the doctor prescribes a combination of progesterone and oestrogen. This is because taking oestrogen alone can lead to the growth of the uterus lining, which increases the risk of developing uterine cancer.