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Hormone Therapy
(Estrogen Therapy, Estrogen/Progestin Therapy)

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Hormone therapy facts

  • Hormone therapy (HT) refers to either estrogen or combination estrogen /progesterone treatment.
  • Estrogen therapy is the most highly effective prescription medication for treating menopause symptoms and in light of recent research is still safe and effective for many women when used for fewer than five years.
  • Estrogen therapy reduces or eliminates several symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, disturbed sleep resulting from hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
  • Other safe and effective non-hormonal medications exist to address a woman's concerns regarding osteoporosis.
  • The use of estrogen therapy, without progesterone (progestin), is associated with an increase in the risk of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus).
  • Treatment with progesterone along with estrogen substantially reduces the risk of uterine cancer (endometrial cancer) so that the risk of developing this cancer is equivalent to that of women not taking estrogen.
  • Users of oral hormone therapy (HT) (in the doses of the Women's Health Initiative) for more than five years are at slightly increased risk of breast cancer risk, heart disease, and stroke than are nonusers.

The term "hormone therapy" or "HT" is being used to replace the outdated terminology "hormone replacement therapy" or "HRT."

What is menopause?

Menopause is the stage in a woman's life when menstruation stops and she can no longer bear children. During menopause, the body produces less of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. After menopause, the lower hormone levels cause the monthly menstrual periods to stop and gradually eliminate the possibility of becoming pregnant. These fluctuations in hormone levels can also cause troublesome symptoms, such as hot flashes (a sudden sensation of warmth, sometimes associated with flushing, and often followed by sweating) and sleep disturbance. Sometimes women experience other symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and mood changes.

While many women encounter little or no trouble during menopause, others endure moderate to severe discomfort.

Does menopause cause bone loss?

The lower estrogen levels of menopause can lead to progressive bone loss that is especially rapid in the first five years after menopause. Some bone loss in both men and women is normal as people age. Lack of estrogen after menopause adds another strain on the bones in addition to the usual age-related bone loss. When bone loss is severe, a condition called osteoporosis weakens bones and renders them susceptible to breaking.


Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/hormone_therapy/article.htm

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