Hormone replacement therapy helps keep hormone levels within the normal physiological range for people belonging to a specific age group. Hormone replacement therapy for women is mostly a combination of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones play an important role in reproduction and in the function of the uterus. Whereas for men, in most cases testosterone is the hormone that takes center stage. HRT has become one of the most popular treatments for people who are hormone deficient and carries with it numerous life-changing benefits.
What benefits should patients expect once starting on a HRT program?
Hormone replacement therapy is administered to people that have a deficit in hormone levels and helps in getting rid of the majority of the symptoms, or at least improving these symptoms. In most of these cases people are fatigued, experiencing brain fog, tiredness, decrease in libido or erectile dysfunction. The goal of a successful HRT treatment is to show improvement by getting rid of these issues or decreasing them.
HRT research has exploded over the last decade and has shown massive implications for both genders. Most of your HRT research has however been focused on improving the quality of life in women, as 80% of menopausal women have reported experiencing such symptoms. However, only a small portion of these menopausal women are utilizing hormone replacement therapy. The real struggle with most women is that menopausal symptoms last far longer than most anticipate. Some of the larger more recurring symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes, can carry on for upwards of seven years. HRT offers a more practical and successful solution for most of your conventional menopause-related symptoms. There are additionally several other long-term health problems attributed to menopause such as the risk of osteoporosis, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. HRT has been shown to have a positive effect on most of these health problems.
Reduction in vasomotor symptoms
HRT is hands down the most successful treatment to minimize vasomotor symptoms. When your hormones fluctuate, they set off a chain reaction denying the body’s ability to control its temperature and blood pressure. Once the body’s hormones stabilize, these vasomotor symptoms improve within four weeks of starting the hormone therapy, and you get maximum benefits within three months.
Enhances the quality of life
HRT increases the amount of estrogen available to the body. Estrogen has been proven to improve the quality of sleep, amounts of deep or REM sleep, and reduction in time to fall asleep. Estrogen is also a key component that helps the body reduce inflammation, and as such helps to reduce muscle aches and pains. Reduction in these symptoms will ease menopausal effects in women and significantly improve their quality of life.
Improvement in mood changes
Estrogen is unique in that it increases the serotonin levels in the brain, this is the hormone mostly known as the happiness hormone. Increasing levels of serotonin will help improve your mood and reduce many of the symptoms associated with depression, in both men and women.
Treatment of urogenital symptoms
As estrogen levels in women start to decline the first issue they experience due to it is vaginal dryness. Research shows that HRT will increase estrogen levels which significantly decrease vaginal dryness in return improving their sexual function and libido.
These decreased levels of estrogen also cause vaginal discharge which causes burning and irritation in the vagina as this discharge is different from the natural secretion. HRT is effective in reducing these symptoms and as a consequence reduces the risk of vaginal atrophy and damage.
In men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone testosterone, dysfunction can occur in the testicles and prostate leading to a number of common urinary conditions. Fortunately, HRT is an effective and safe solution to dealing with these hormonal imbalances. HRT is a proven solution to help with erectile dysfunction, as it is caused by hormonal imbalances of low testosterone. Supplementing these low levels back to normal, restores the body’s circulating levels of testosterone and can help restore sex drive and vitality.
Decreased risk of osteoporosis
Hormone therapy has long been used as a treatment to counter the effects of osteoporosis. HRT slows down the thinning of bones caused by the reduction of estrogen in the aging process. Estrogen is essential for bone density as it helps in the process of bone remodelling. The increase in new and stronger bone formation, causes an increase in bone density.
In older men subjected to testosterone replacement therapy, studies have shown an increase in bone density due to the improved haemoglobin levels caused by the additional testosterone. This is critical to keep in mind as decreased haemoglobin, or red blood cells, leads to iron deficiency in the blood. Bone reabsorption is a much quicker process than bone formation, thus prolonged lack of iron in the blood could result in loss of bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Decrease risk of cardiovascular disease
Conflicting opinions argue that HRT can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, however, research done for The Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that it can be extremely beneficial to consider HRT an earlier stage to gain significant improvement in cardiovascular health. This research has shown that the ideal time to assess cardiovascular risk relating to women, is during the early menopause and menopause period. Minimizing cardiovascular disease risks such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks is essential for a prolonged healthy lifestyle. HRT balances the correct levels of hormones to ensure that you minimize your potential risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lower risk of colorectal cancer
The Women’s Health Initiative ran trial studies that proved a reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer in women utilizing the correct estrogen and progesterone replacement substitutes. Additionally, testosterone research has also brought new hope to cancer patients as it has shown to be effective in combating cachexia, a syndrome responsible for an estimated 20 percent of cancer related deaths.
Many studies prove the benefits of HRT on the enhancement and maintenance of muscle mass, strength and connective tissue.
Estrogen and testosterone positively affect hormonal aging by increasing collagen content, elasticity, thickness and hydration in the skin. This further implies that HRT can improve the rate of wound healing and reduce risk of wound complications.
HRT usage in women have shown a correlation to reduced long term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Migraines are a common side effect in menopause due to the unstable fluctuations of hormone levels. Stabilizing these hormone levels with HRT, can often lead to improvements in migraine symptoms.
Hormone therapy has gone under extensive research in the last few years and has shown to truly be life changing at the right time and under the right circumstances. This has really changed perception of the value of hormones on health and longevity. It is important that you regularly monitor your hormone levels as you get older, and realize that not all hope is lost when it comes to aging and diminishing hormone levels.