Long-Term Hormone Replacement Therapy Definition
Long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used to be routinely prescribed to postmenopausal women to relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy also believes it reduces the risk of heart disease. Before menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men.
But as they age and estrogen levels drop after menopause, the risk of heart disease increases. And older women to take estrogen and other hormones to keep their hearts healthy.
However, hormone replacement therapy, or menopausal hormone therapy, has had mixed results.
The largest randomized controlled trial to date did detect a small increase in heart disease in postmenopausal women using combination hormone therapy (both estrogen and progestin).
It especially estrogen alone, may not affect or even decrease heart disease risk when taken in the early postmenopausal years.
What are the Risks in Perspective?
- If you’re having difficulty with menopausal symptoms but are concerned about the effect hormone therapy may have on your heart. Talk to your doctor to put your risk into perspective. Consider these points.
- The risk of heart disease for a woman on hormone therapy is shallow, moderate, severe hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms.
- And have no other health problems, the benefits of hormone therapy are likely to outweigh any potential risk of heart disease.
- Your risk of developing heart disease depends on many factors, including family medical history, personal medical history, and lifestyle practices.
- Talk to your doctor about your troubles. If your heart disease risk is low, and your menopausal symptoms are significant, it is reasonable to consider hormone therapy.
- The risk differs for women with premature menopause or premature ovarian failure. Suppose you stopped having periods before age 40, early menopause, or lost your ovaries’ normal function before age 40 (premature ovarian failure).
- In that case, you have a different set of health risks for your heart and blood vessels. (cardiovascular) compared to women who reach menopause near the average age of 50 years.
- It includes an increased risk of ischemic heart disease. If you have premature ovarian failure, you are likely on hormone therapy to protect against heart disease.
How to Limit Risks in Menopausal Hormone Therapy?
- Strategies to reduce the risks of menopausal hormone therapy
1. Try a Form of Hormone Therapy that has Limited Systemic Effects
- Estrogen and progestin are available in many ways, including pills, skin patches, gels, vaginal creams, and suppositories or slow-release rings placed in the vagina.
- Low-dose vaginal estrogen preparations, which come in cream, tablet, or ring form, can effectively treat vaginal symptoms while minimizing absorption into the body.
- Similarly, hormones delivered through skin patches are not as extensively metabolized in the body and are less likely to have unwanted side effects.
2. Minimize the Number of Medications you Take
- Use the low effective dose for the shortest time possible to treat symptoms, unless you are under 45 in that case. You need enough estrogen to protect you from the long-term health effects of estrogen deficiency.
- If you have long-lasting menopausal symptoms that significantly affect your quality of life, your doctor may recommend longer-term treatment.
3. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle
- Firstly, counteract the risks of developing heart disease by making heart-healthy lifestyle choices don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
- Secondly, get regular physical activity to eat a healthy diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein and maintain a healthy weight.
- Lastly, get regular checkups to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and look for early heart disease signs.
4. Make Follow-up Visits Regularly
- See healthcare provider regularly to make sure the benefits of hormone therapy continue to outweigh the risks and to get cancer screenings such as mammograms and pelvic exams