Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment to relieve the symptoms of menopause that are quite severe and disturbing. In addition, this therapy can also be used to prevent osteoporosis that often occurs postmenopausal.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This condition can result in the appearance of various symptoms, ranging from feeling hot or stifling (hot flushes), dry vagi**na, decreased se**x drive, insomnia, recurrent urinary tract infections, emotions becoming unstable, to depression.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the administration of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. By using this medicine, various menopausal complaints can subside.
Warnings for hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy drugs should not be used carelessly. There are several things that must be considered before using this drug, including:
- Do not use hormone replacement therapy drugs if you are allergic to the content in this medicine. Always tell your doctor about your allergy history.
- Tell your doctor if you’ve or have ever had vagi**nal bleeding of unknown reason, tumors or cancers of the breast or reproductive organs, stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack, liver disease, or deep vein thrombosis.
- Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had uterine removal surgery, or if you have kidney disease, asthma, seizures, epilepsy, migraines, angioedema, angina, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid disease, pancreatic disease, gallbladder disease, endometriosis, preeclampsia, depression, or porphyria.
- Tell your doctor about your menstrual cycle. If you are still se**xually active, discuss with your doctor about effective contraceptives, because hormone therapy can harm the fetus in the event of pregnancy.
- Do not smoke during treatment with hormone replacement therapy as it has the potential to cause hypertension, stroke, or heart attack.
- Tell your doctor if you plan or have recently had surgery, or if you have to sit or lie down for a long time, as conditions like this can increase your risk of blood clots.
- Tell your doctor if you’re taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
- Tell your doctor that you’re on medication with hormone replacement therapy if you plan to have surgery.
- Avoid direct sun exposure and use sunscreen if you want to leave the house during the day, during treatment with hormone replacement therapy.
- Immediately see a doctor if a drug allergic reaction or overdose appears after using hormone replacement therapy drugs.
Hormone replacement therapy types
The hormone to be given is a synthetic estrogen, with or without the hormone progesterone. Estrogen will play a role to relieve the symptoms of menopause that are felt. While progesterone serves to prevent the risk of uterine cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy can be a local therapy to relieve symptoms in the vagi**na, as well as systemic that can overcome other symptoms, because the hormones used will circulate throughout the body. Local therapy is used hormones in the form of creams for the vagi**na, while systemic therapy is done in the form of tablets, gels, or injections.
Therapy will be planned as short as possible so that side effects of therapy can be avoided. Hormone replacement therapy can be used in women who have started experiencing menopausal symptoms, which are around the age of 50-59 years. If menopause occurs earlier, for example 40 years, hormone replacement therapy may be given provided there is never a history of breast cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy side effects
Common side effects that occur after using hormone replacement therapy drugs are nausea, headache, abdominal pain, malaise or feeling bad, flatulence, diarrhea, vagi**nal bleeding, and swollen breasts. Usually, these side effects will resolve on their own after 3 months of treatment.
Check with your doctor if the side effects do not subside or more serious side effects appear, such as:
- Severe headaches
- Visual impairment or vision loss
- Speech disorders
- Numbness of the arms or legs
- Chest pain or chest feels heavy
- Pain and swelling of the calf
- Coughing up blood or shortness of breath
- Dizziness and wanting to faint
- Lumps in the breast
- Yellowing skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Loss of appetite
- Dark colored urine
- Pale-colored stools
- Major depression
You should also see a doctor immediately if a drug allergic reaction appears, which can be characterized by an itchy rash, swelling of the eyelids and lips, or difficulty breathing, after using hormone replacement therapy drugs.