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Is Hormone Therapy right choice to Treat Menopause?

Women Health
Contributed by : Dr. Sejal Shah

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Recently published result of a new study suggests that women planning on taking hormone therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms should be aware of a possible increased risk of ovarian cancer. Soon after reading this news, a middle aged lady came to me and said." I am experiencing severe form of menopausal symptoms, and that had made my life difficult (hell), my friend suggested it but after reading the news I am confused, whether hormone therapy is right choice of treatment for me? Well, I explain her about the HRT, its benefits and side effects in detail as follow,
"First, let me tell you that menopause is a difficult yet inevitable part of woman hood and every woman who menstruates has to pass from it. However, adopting certain lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, nutritious diet and engaging yourself in activities will make it easy.
Still, there are women who experiences severe form of menopausal symptoms that affects her quality of life greatly. Previously, the HRT was considered as a treatment of choice for them.
What is hormone replacement therapy?

In Hormone replacement therapy artificial female hormones are given to relieve the menopausal symptoms. They can be received either in the form of oral tablets, vaginal gel, patch, cream or tablet, skin patch, gel or cream and IUD.

Benefits of taking Hormones
HRT had been found highly effective at reducing the symptoms of menopause. A large study had reported an average 75 percent reduction in the frequency of hot flushes and night sweats with marked reduction in vaginal symptoms such as dryness itching and difficulty in intercourse in about 70 to 90 percent of women. It is also beneficial in controlling mood swings, depression and irritability while providing sound sleep.

The short term hormone (estrogen) therapy is advisable to avoid the risk of developing,
Osteoporosis
Colorectal cancer( cancer of intestine)
Heart disease

Risk and side effects of HRT
The number of studies had showed that 'although many of the health effects of hormones such as increased risk of heart disease are diminished, the overall risks, including risks of stroke, blood clots, and cancer, remain high with hormone therapy'. These study results had put a question whether hormone therapy is right choice of treatment for menopause?

Side effects and risk related to HRT include
Vaginal bleeding
Breast tenderness or swelling
Headache
Mood changes
Weight gain
Heart attack
Stroke
Breast cancer
Gall bladder disease (gallstones)

Despite of the associated risk the judicious and short term use of hormones can give best results with fewer side effects.

The short term hormone therapy (estrogen) can be a choice of treatment if you
Experience severe menopausal symptoms despite of adopting lifestyle changes
Have Develop osteoporosis and is not responding or you are not able to tolerate to other treatments
Have premature menopause (periods stopped before the age of 40) or have premature ovarian function loss( failure)
The decision of choosing hormones for treatment of menopause depends on your own choice, convenience, physical condition and above all the severity of the symptoms.

Complementary - Alternative therapies and Menopause

The Scope and efficacies of complementary and alternative medicine/therapies (CAM) in the treatment of Menopause had been proved in many studies. CAM had help thousands of women to get relief from the symptoms of menopause and improve quality of life. The alternative medicine such as ayurveda, homoeopathy, naturopathy as well as the complementary therapies including, acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy had greatly help women to pass on this transient phase easily.
Consult CAM doctors before switching to HRT, the selection of therapist should be based on qualification, experience, preference and suitability as well.

Choice is yours...Have a happy menopause...
Kindly share your views and experience related to scope and limitation of CAM in treatment of Menopause



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