Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been a topic of great interest in recent years, lauded for its effectiveness in alleviating menopause symptoms while also causing concern due to rumours of increased health risks. This conflicting information has left the general public uncertain about the safety and benefits of HRT. Here, at Syrona Health, we aim to clarify the facts and dispel the myths surrounding this treatment.
HRT is designed to supplement declining hormone levels, such as oestrogen, and is commonly used to ease symptoms experienced during age-related hormonal changes like menopause or low testosterone (low T). Its effectiveness in relieving symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and genital dryness has made it one of the most prescribed treatments for menopause-related issues in the U.S.
Fact: Menopause is a natural process and cannot be delayed. However, HRT can be extremely helpful in managing and reducing menopausal symptoms. Research has shown that HRT is particularly effective for treating hot flashes in those younger than 60 or who start HRT within 10 years of menopause, enhancing the overall quality of life during this transitional phase.
Fact: While commonly associated with menopause, HRT can be beneficial for other hormonal imbalances. For instance, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a specific form of HRT used to restore testosterone levels in individuals with testes. Additionally, HRT can have additional benefits, such as aiding osteoporosis treatment or supporting gender-affirming care.
Fact: HRT encompasses various hormone combinations and delivery methods. A healthcare provider tailors the treatment based on individual needs, considering factors like symptoms, age, and health history. The choice of medication may include a combination of progestin and oestrogen for those with a uterus, while oestrogen only options are suitable for individuals without a uterus. Delivery methods range from pills and patches to injections and implants, offering flexibility and personalised care.
Fact: Over-the-counter testosterone supplements found in sports clinics and vitamin stores are not equivalent to TRT. TRT requires proper clinical assessment and ongoing monitoring. Unlike simple daily vitamins, TRT necessitates careful consideration of the patient's health status and goals, including potential impacts on fertility for those seeking to conceive.
Fact: The misconception regarding HRT and heart disease stems from a study conducted in 2002, known as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). The study involved mostly postmenopausal women over 60 years old, who received a specific combination hormone therapy. Later analysis showed that healthy women initiating HRT before 59 or within 10 years of menopause actually had a decreased risk of heart disease compared to those who didn't take HRT. This highlights the complexity of HRT's effects, demonstrating that it can be beneficial for certain individuals and not a risk factor for heart disease.
As with any medication or treatment, HRT has both benefits and potential risks. To make an informed decision, it is essential to discuss your symptoms and health history with a healthcare provider. At Syrona Health, we prioritise personalised care and provide guidance to confidently navigate hormonal changes. If you're interested in age-inclusive fertility benefits for your employees, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to support you every step of the way.