When we speak of what is HRT, the term HRT stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy which can take different forms of hormonal treatments. However what is most commonly understood by the term HRT is when it is used for treatment of menopausal symptoms.

What is HRT used for?

When women undergo menopause their ovaries stop producing the amount of estrogen that they did, with the result that women feel several very uncomfortable symptoms that could in many cases negatively impact life.

There could be some very troublesome effects of menopause such as joint pain, hair can skin changes, loss of libido, mood swings, weight gain, memory problems, difficulty sleeping, hot flushes, slowing down of the metabolism and so on. HRT can help to significantly lower severity and frequency of these.

To what extent is HRT effective?

Many studies have shown that so called alternative or natural therapies for HRT are ineffective or have a placebo effect on women at best. When women have severe symptoms of menopause, only HRT is really seen to help.

There is evidence to suggest that women who have undergone HRT treatment are well off in terms of happiness and attitude. A recent study looked at what HRT means to women who have undergone the treatment. It was found that women over the age of 50 are having more fun and enjoying life more; and are even enjoying better sex than before. Aspects such as work, health, career, relationships, energy levels, travel and overall happiness seemed to have increased after menopause.

The research in fact found that women who were under HRT treatment received more benefit from menopause and that 71% of women on HRT reported better overall health and well-being since the menopause than women who were not in treatment.

HRT is administered in different manners. A coil with slow release of hormones is one way to administer HRT. It can also be administered orally, with transdermal patches or gels, subcutaneous implants, creams, injections, suppositories and so on.

What is HRT and its safety level?

There are several things to consider here – HRT is not suitable for certain cases and certain women, it has significant side effects in some cases, and there is also the fact that research has revealed HRT to increase risk of developing breast cancer, coronary heart disease, strokes as well as pulmonary emboli.

However there is a contrary view, also supported by research about what is HRT and its side effects and risk factors. It is claimed that certain types of HRT (estrogen only) actually reduces the heart disease risk and could be beneficial for diabetic women.

In conclusion it has to be said that there is probably no one answer to whether HRT is advisable for a particular woman or not. The decision has to be taken based on the severity of her symptoms, her medical history and genetic predispositions, a proper understand of what is HRT, what it entails, its possible side effects and after looking at whether it is suitable for that particular woman.