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Reno Family Physician Explains What Hormone Replacement Therapy Is

Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, is a common medical treatment that can relieve the symptoms of menopause. It is also sometimes used to lessen aging symptoms in men. Although it can be helpful, hormone therapy also comes with many health risks. For this reason, every person should discuss the decision to use hormone treatment with their doctor.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?


Hormone replacement therapy in Reno is a treatment that consists of medication prescribed to women by a family physician. The medication is designed to counteract the effects of menopause. These medications contain female hormones like estrogen and progestin, which is a man-made version of the naturally occurring progesterone. Hormone therapy can alleviate many symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and vaginal symptoms. Although usually used to treat women, a form of hormone therapy for men is also available to treat low levels of testosterone.

History of the Treatment


Hormone therapy has been around since the 1930’s, when estrogen was used to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. In the 1960’s, doctors found more reasons to use HRT and family physicians began prescribing it more often. Throughout the next ten years, doctors used hormone therapy to treat everything from hot flashes to depression. It was approved by the FDA to treat menopause at first. In the 1980’s it was also approved to treat the loss of bone density. By 2002, it became apparent that hormone therapy can cause serious health problems and the frequency of prescription went down greatly.

Benefits to Hormone Replacement


There are a few benefits to using hormone replacement therapy in the short term. Women seem to gain protection against the loss of bone density, colorectal cancer and heart disease. Studies show that this lowers the chance of fractures and broken bones. The decrease in heart disease occurs when hormone therapy is started at the beginning of menopause. Of course, benefits also include the reduction in menopausal symptoms like mood swings and trouble sleeping as well.

Shortcomings of the Therapy


There are a number of side effects that have decreased the use of hormone therapy medication by family physicians in Reno over the past ten years. Taking estrogen medication without progestin increases the risk of uterine cancer. Long term use of hormone therapy is linked to abnormal mammograms, a higher risk of blood clots and an increased chance of certain cancers. For some, the benefits can outweigh the risks of hormone therapy, although family physicians usually recommend it only when menopause symptoms are too difficult to live with.

Hormone replacement therapy in Reno has decreased over the past ten years, although it is still an effective treatment for some individuals. HRT can reduce menopausal symptoms and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Still, the side effects and health risks associated with the process make it necessary to carefully consider the therapy before choosing it for long term treatment.