Hormone Replacement Therapy, often referred to as HRT, is a type of therapy that many people choose to undergo after they have entered menopause. Even though the treatment is popular and widely used, there have been questions concerning the safety of such treatment for a number of years. Obviously, anyone who is considering this type of therapy needs to weigh the potential risks associated with HRT. The purpose here is to examine the potential health risks associated with HRT for women in menopause in order to determine whether or not it is an appropriate treatment for each individual.
The Overall Safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many people are understandably concerned about the safety of HRT. This is largely because of the relatively few instances where a person started hormone replacement therapy and then something went wrong from a medical standpoint. Just like virtually any other therapy, it can and does happen. However, that is not always the case. Like most medical questions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, it’s important that you look at things on a case-by-case basis.
Potential Health Concerns
There are things that make this type of therapy a risky endeavor for some people. The primary issues that most individuals are concerned with include an increased risk of blot clots, including a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) where blood clots develop in the large veins of the legs. This can be dangerous because the clot can break loose and cause problems in other areas of the body. If it strikes your lung, it’s known as a pulmonary embolism. If it makes it to your brain it can cause a stroke. Either condition can be fatal and must therefore be treated immediately. There is also a chance that in some people, HRT can cause an increased cancer risk, not to mention additional cardiovascular risks.
Does that mean that everyone who undergoes HRT is automatically doomed to get cancer or have some type of cardiac event? Fortunately, the answer is no. If you are healthy and have never exhibited any of the issues which have been previously discussed, then your chances of developing them are typically much lower than someone who already has a history of heart problems or cancer. It’s equally important to look at your family history in order to check for anything that you may be predisposed to, even if you haven’t ever shown any symptoms in the past.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself
There is definitely good news here. The biggest thing you can take away from all of this is that you don’t have to suffer through menopause without the benefits of HRT unless you are considered to be at a higher than normal risk by your physician. In some cases, you can still participate in this type of treatment even if you do have some significant risk factors. As previously mentioned, it’s something that is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, it is a decision that you and your doctor will make together.
What if HRT Isn’t a Good Fit for You?
If you and your doctor decide that you should not undergo this type of treatment under any circumstances, there are still other options out there for you to try. You might be surprised how effective some alternative therapies can be, especially when they are used in conjunction with more traditional treatments. Again, it all depends on you having a conversation with your doctor so the two of you can work on your plan together. The most important thing to remember is that you should never be afraid to speak your mind. If you have concerns about something concerning any potential HRT treatment, make sure you bring all of that up to your doctor. Be frank about your family history, your own health and your concerns. Ask questions. This is the best way to make sure that you know the potential benefits and the potential risks associated with anything you decide to try.
At the end of the day, it’s important for you to understand that some people do exceptionally well while on this type of treatment. As such, they may stay on it for a number of years. Others struggle with it and ultimately decide that it isn’t something they want to keep doing. It is a highly personal decision and one that you must be a great deal of thought into when it comes to taking charge of your own health.
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