The term hormone replacement therapy is generally used for replacing oestrogen and progestin during menopause. Just as the lack of thyroid hormones or insulin can be replaced using the corresponding hormones in cases of thyroid or pancreatic deficiencies, it is also possible to take oestrogen and progestin during menopause to balance out the deficient or absent hormone production. By using this type of medication, the body is provided with something which it can no longer produce on its own: ovarian hormones.
The body’s aging process cannot be interrupted, only slowed. Hormone replacement therapy is not a fountain of youth, but rather an option for making menopause easier on the body and yielding positive effects even after hormone production declines.
Differences in hormone replacement therapy are listed in the following points:
- Vaginal suppositories
- natural oestrogen, e.g., conjugated oestrogen, 17B-oestradiol
- various androgens
- Combination therapy
WOMEN WITH UTERUSES
Certain points must be kept in mind for the various dosage regimens. In particular, women with a uterus must — in addition to estrogens — also take progestins (combination therapy).
Women without uteruses
Women without uteruses can either take only oestrogen (monotherapy) or an oestrogen/progestin combination.
Sequential therapies that imitate the menstrual cycle are recommended for younger women. For this type of treatment, oestrogen is first administered alone, and then in combination with progestin during the second half of the cycle. After ending oestrogen/progestin treatment, the woman often experiences bleeding, which also occurs if oestrogen administration is not interrupted. Women whose last menstrual period was already several years ago may take hormone replacement therapy either sequentially or continually. The latter means that the oestrogen/progestin combination is taken without interruption. This leads to an end of menstruation after a few months.
For any woman
Hormone replacement therapy must always be adjusted individually to the woman’s needs. Every woman is different and thus needs individualized treatment that meets her needs. The question of whether hormone replacement therapy is the right choice for a particular woman must be decided on a case-by-case basis. You should always discuss with your primary care physician or gynaecologist which treatment is right for you. Generally speaking, though, it can be said that taking natural oestrogen reduces menopausal symptoms and health risks, and thus paves the way for well-being into advanced age.