Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms.
There are two main hormones: oestrogen and progestogen. Depending on the stage of the menopause, symptoms and your history, there are various ways to take this.
During the consultation, Dr Sam will discuss treatment routes in more detail to find out which is right for you. If you decide you would like to try hormone replacement therapy after the consultation we would encourage the use of body identical hormones as these have the same molecular structure as the hormones that we naturally produce. They are derived from a chemical extracted from a tropical root vegetable (the yam).
Oestrogen-only HRT is only recommended for those who have had their womb removed during a hysterectomy.
Sequential HRT, also referred to as cyclical HRT, is often recommended for women who have symptoms but are still having their periods. In the treatment plan, oestrogen will be taken every day with the addition of progestogen taken two weeks every month.
Continuous combined HRT is suggested for women who are postmenopausal. It involves taking oestrogen and progestogen every day without a break.
There are usually no side effects with such treatment and this is a very safe for most women.
Most women tolerate hormone replacement therapy very well and often feel back to their normal selves within a few weeks to months. The most common side effects of taking oestrogen includes bloating, breast tenderness, feeling sick or leg cramps. Progesterone can also cause breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings, depression or acne.
Follow-up is available and included in your appointment fee so that you can easily discuss any concerns you may have and we can adjust your prescription accordingly.
It can also be used as a preventative measure to help maintain healthy bones, connective tissues and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Over the years, hormone replacement therapy has caused a lot of confusion and negativity. It’s important to dispel the myths and provide clinical evidence to help put patients at ease. We often use resources from the British Menopause Society and Women’s Health Concern to help with these discussions. You can find a few here:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be useful and there is more information about this here. This can be discussed in your appointment. There are also prescriptions that may be helpful if you cannot take hormone replacement therapy such as anti-depressants.
For more information on complementary and alternative therapy, you can check out this factsheet. All of the above can be discussed in your initial consultation.