What is HRT?

Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) has become the “go-to” treatment for many women suffering from menopause symptoms. The safety and effectiveness of HRT has been the subject of many debates over the years.

Nowadays, medical knowledge is so broad that it is much easier to classify them as safe and effective. HRT can help many women by easing menopausal symptoms. Using this treatment can also protect from diseases that are more likely to arise due to menopause. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, depression, dementia and incontinence.

To understand how HRT works we first need to understand the hormones involved in menopause. This guide will walk you through the hormones and processes involved in the menopause. It will also provide an overview of the types of treatment available to you. The aim is to explain some of the medical terms along the way so that you can confidently discuss options with your GP or menopause practitioner

Hormones involved in HRT are: 

  • Oestrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone

The effect of the menopause on hormones

In the UK, most women go through the menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being 51 years. Around half of all women will experience some physical or emotional symptoms from the decrease in ovarian function and reduction in oestrogen production.

Symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, anxiety, joint and muscle pain, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive, and hip fractures later in life due to osteoporosis. These are just some of the 34 symptoms associated with menopause.

Taking HRT can ease some of the symptoms and give an easier transition into menopause. It remains the best option to treat menopausal symptoms for the vast majority of women and prevent some of the issues menopause may bring. Some women, especially those with a history of breast cancer (and some other types of cancer) cannot take HRT and should consider the use of more natural alternatives.