The process of going through the menopause can be challenging. Unfortunately, as this is part of life as a woman, experiencing it is inevitable, as are its many draining and uncomfortable symptoms.
Additionally, the duration of the menopause is different for everybody, and women are well-known to suffer from its effects in both the years before and after their last period. Such common side-effects of the menopause include changes in mood, hot flushes, night sweats, reduced interest in sex and vaginal dryness or atrophy. Caused by decreasing levels of the oestrogen hormone, these ailments can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life, be incredibly detrimental to their wellbeing and make completing the most routine of tasks extremely difficult.
Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be an effective treatment for the symptoms of the menopause, providing some much-needed relief to those struggling to manage this life-changing process.
What is HRT?
Around the time of the menopause, the female body stops producing oestrogen. This can have a major impact on the normal functioning of the body due to the importance of this hormone in controlling every aspect of the reproductive system. HRT is a type of treatment that allows women to replace these lost hormones and better manage the more severe and exhausting symptoms of the menopause.
HRT can be taken in many forms, including tablets, creams or gels, skin patches and vaginal rings . HRT needs to have both an oestrogen and progestogen component for women with an intact uterus. Oestrogen-only HRT is only recommended for women who have undergone a hysterectomy.
Which form of HRT is right for me?
Although HRT can be extremely beneficial, finding the right type of treatment for you can be hard. After a comprehensive consultation with Mr Gardner in which your medical history, menopausal symptoms and preferences will be discussed, you will normally be offered the lowest dosage of the HRT of your choice to control your symptoms. There is a chance that you’ll experience some side-effects as a result of taking HRT – some of which include nausea, headaches, abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding – you will be asked to try this for around 3 months. If symptoms persist, your dosage may be altered or you’ll be asked to consider a new formulation of HRT.
Book your consultation
With years of experience in helping women through a large number of gynaecological concerns, Mr Francis Gardner is one of the most knowledgeable professionals in his field. He is keenly aware of how much of an impact the menopause can have on an individual, which is why he advocates the use of HRT to bring these unpleasant symptoms under control. Book your first consultation with him today.
This is dependent on your medical history. Those who have previously had certain types of cancer, high blood pressure or have experienced blood clots may not be eligible for some forms of HRT.
All forms of HRT are different, so this can be taken in various ways. Some people can take this without stopping and others may take this in cycles. Many women will stop taking HRT later on in life. This will be discussed with you once you have been prescribed a specific type of HRT. Women taking HRT should have a check up at least once a year.
When taken for over a year, there are statistics to suggest that combined HRT (oestrogen and progesterone) can cause a small increase in the risk of breast cancer. This risk can remain high if the HRT is taken for more than ten years. There is some evidence that oestrogen only HRT may reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 20% compared to women who have not taken HRT.
Some people may experience no side effects of their HRT, but these are always a possibility. The most common side effects associated with HRT include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, tender breasts, indigestion and headaches. In most women the symptoms resolve spontaneously. If the symptoms are persistent then a review by a menopause specialist is essential.
As HRT is not suitable for everyone, there is a range of alternatives. These will be discussed with you either during your consultation or if it transpires that HRT is not working for you. For specific symptoms such as vaginal dryness or urinary symptoms (GSM symptoms) MonaLisa Touch is an effective treatment.