Also called HRT, hormone replacement therapy uses artificial hormones to replace the hormones that are lost during the natural aging process. While most people associated hormones with sexual functions, they actually play a significant role in many processes and functions. When levels of natural hormones decline, HRT can replace those hormones with synthetic hormones created in a lab. HRT is commonly used among women who are in menopause or perimenopause, the period of time before periods stop completely. HRT agents are available in different forms, including topical gels, pills, and implants. The type of agent used will depend on different factors and can be discussed during an office visit.
Bioidentical hormones are synthetic hormones that are created to have the same chemical structure as natural hormones. In the past, artificial hormones with altered structures were associated with an increase in harmful side effects, largely because the body could not eliminate them efficiently. Because bioidentical hormones have the same structure as naturally produced hormones, the body “recognizes” them as natural hormones and processes and eliminates them more efficiently for a decreased risk of side effects.
HRT is used to treat an array of issues associated with a decline in the production of specific hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. The most common use is in the treatment of the symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause, including vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and abnormal hair growth. In gynecology, HRT is often used to treat issues of infertility or to treat chronic conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Yes, professional use of HRT has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for menopause and many other issues. When HRT is used on a long-term basis, routine monitoring can help ensure dosing remains on target with the patient's needs, reducing the potential risk for side effects while helping women enjoy optimal health at any age.
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