HRT - The Basics
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
is now also called ‘MHT’ which stands for
Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)
It is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause
It gives you back the balance of hormones that your body is no longer able to create.
It is also good for your bones, heart, brain and mood.
Research has shown that taking HRT can lower your risk of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression and dementia in the future.
Individualised and Tailored Treatment
There are lots of different types and dosages of HRT and these need to be tailored to each individual women’s symptoms – it is not a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
The Three Hormones of HRT
Most people only think of Estrogen when they think about female hormones.
But women actually produce and rely on all three of the major reproductive hormones:
We have Estrogen receptors in almost every part of our body, so when the levels fluctuate and fall, it is not surprising that the symptoms we feel can be so varied and intense.
We can replace estrogen in various ways – using tablets, skin patches and locally with vaginal creams.Click here for more information on the Estrogen component of HRT
In women who still have a womb, HRT needs to also include a progesterone component. This is to protect the lining of your womb from being overstimulated by the estrogen treatment.
The safest type of progesterone is called Micronised Progesterone – This comes in a capsule called Utrogestan. It can be taken orally as a tablet or used as a vaginal pessary.
The Mirena coil is another way to provide the progesterone part of HRT and is useful for women who still need contraception. It is also helpful for women who have heavy, prolonged or very erratic periods.Click here for more information on the Progesterone component of HRT
Although most people think of testosterone as the “male” hormone, it is also an important hormone in women,
From around the age of 30, our testosterone levels start to decline.
By the time we reach menopause, levels are about one quarter of what they were at their peak.
There is evidence that replacing testosterone can lead to improvements in various symptoms including fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and low sex drive/libido.
There is also emerging evidence that it may have a protective effect against heart disease and dementia.Click here for more information on the Testosterone component of HRT
Did you know?
Before the menopause, women make three times more Testosterone than Estrogen
Estrogen-only HRT and Combined HRT
In women who have had a hysterectomy, we can give estrogen-only HRT.
In women who still have a womb, we must give combined HRT (which means estrogen and progesterone)
Cyclical HRT and Continuous HRT
In perimenopause, when women are still having periods, we give cyclical HRT. This means you only take the progesterone part for 2 weeks every month. The estrogen part you take everyday.
In women who are menopausal (ie. not had a period for at least 1 year) and still have their womb (ie they have not had a hysterectomy) we can give continuous HRT. This means taking both the estrogen and progesterone part everyday.