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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Medication for Menopause
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to replenish a woman’s hormones that begin to drop as she approaches the menopause, effectively relieving its symptoms. Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, low sex drive and more.
With our wide range of effectual treatments, you’ll find the HRT medication that’s best suited to you as you reach this pivotal point in your female life.
Are you unsure if HRT is right for you? Take our Do I Need HRT Quiz!
What is the menopause?
A woman’s reproductive system only continues to work optimally for a certain number of years, usually beginning in your early teens and stopping towards the end of your forties. This means that at the end of this time, your body will no longer produce or release an egg, and you will no longer experience periods.
This, of course, can be a good thing (especially for women who have always experienced particularly heavy or painful periods) but in its place, you will experience a number of symptoms for roughly 4 years. These symptoms typically include mood fluctuations, struggles sleeping, hot flashes (of the face and neck), and a decreased libido.
Contrary to popular belief, the menopause is not the same for all women and some people don’t find that it causes them any trouble at all. However, a lot of women choose to alleviate symptoms with HRT medication.
What is HRT?
Hormone Replacement Therapy (also known as HRT) is used by women as they begin to show signs of the menopause. This happens to women at various ages, and treatment can be started as soon as you begin to show symptoms.
The medication contains the female hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. Oestrogen is responsible for many functions in a woman’s body, as well as a number of characteristics. When these levels start to fall, you begin to experience menopause symptoms, so topping these levels up with HRT medication helps to ward them off. A drop in oestrogen can also lead to osteoporosis (a bone mass deficiency), so it’s important to keep these hormone levels high to protect bone health.
All HRT medications contain oestrogen (for the reasons stated above), but most of them also contain progestogen. This hormone is responsible for maintaining womb health and keeping certain cancers at bay. So although the drop doesn’t cause the menopause symptoms, it’s important to keep these levels healthy too. However, women without a womb (due to hysterectomy, for example) might opt for an oestrogen-only HRT medication.
How do I use HRT medications?
HRT Treatment / Hormone Replacement Therapy Medication
Most women will use Hormone Replacement Therapy for anywhere from 2 to 5 years, and then slowly decrease the dose once it’s time to stop taking it. During treatment, the medication is taken daily, or worn weekly (if you go for the hormone patch option), and there are a number of different types of HRT available, for which you can choose which is best suited to you. This can be ordered safely from UK Meds with the help of our trustworthy doctor’s service,
Even though the medicine contains female hormones, it’s important to note that it’s not a contraceptive and if you are still having menstrual cycles then you could still get pregnant while taking it. Taking HRT can also carry risks of certain types of cancer, as well as blood clots, so it’s important that use is not long-term (unless advised by a doctor) and any symptoms are checked and reported.
What are some of the psychological effects that menopause can have on women?
The menopause can have an impact on a patient's psyche. The NHS state that women suffering from menopause may experience feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. This is supported by Whiteley et al (2022) who found that menopause can impact a woman's quality of life by causing depression, anxiety and joint stiffness. Changes in female hormones during the menopause could also contribute to depression and anxiety in a lady suffering from the condition (Harvard Medical School, 2020). Additionally, alongside physiological factors such as night sweats and hot flashes, other commonly-noted psychological menopausal symptoms include anxiety, depression, stress, mood disorders, and sexual concerns (Samami et al, 2022) and cognitive decline (Dalal & Agarwal, 2015).
Is there a lack of coverage for menopause in mainstream media?
Although menopause a natural part of ageing that affects 50% of the population, it's not reflected in many societies or their given health systems according to a report by The Lancet (2022). Many perimenopausal women are going through this stage of their lives with a lack of appropriate medical care and a lack of knowledge due to a lack of education from a young age at school and the media often presenting the menopause negatively (Harper et al, 2022).
Does a lack of coverage for menopause stop women from getting support if they are suffering with it?
A 2022 report by The Lancet highlights that many women experiencing the symptoms of menopause are suffering in silence due to a combination of factors such as embarrassment, stigma and miscommunication around the condition and a lack of public awareness. This was complimented by the findings of Constantine et al (2016) who note that women's attitudes towards HRT are mixed, partly due to participants of the study believing that the risks of hormone therapy have been exaggerated in the media; this is despite new studies demonstrating that HRT use in younger and/or postmenopausal women has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, reducing all-cause morality and coronary disease (Cagnacci & Venier, 2019). A 2023 campaign launched by UK Government aims to make HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) cheaper for thousands of women in the UK and offer better access to menopause support, with an aim to make treatment more accessible for patients.
Could more coverage help to destigmatise menopause?
Yes. More media coverage about menopause could help remove the stigma surrounding the health condition. A 2022 survey by the UK Parliamentary Committee found that 1 in 3 women missed work due to menopause symptoms but most women do not tell anyone that they're going through the condition despite the symptoms having a direct impact on how they feel in the workplace. Menopause stigma can be broken if the UK Government and others consistently continue to raise awareness and support for menopause (Institute of Government & Public Policy, 2023). Whilst Orgad & Rottenberg (2023) note that there has been a dramatic rise in menopause visibility since 2015, particularly since 2021, although this coverage has been mainly in the conservative right-wing press. This is aided by the idea that whilst there has been a rise in more media coverage for menopause, removing the stigma surrounding the condition, could be aided by more well-balanced and positive stories being shared in the media (Rowson et al, 2023).
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