Hormone therapy (HT) replaces the hormones that your ovaries no longer produce. It can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Depending on your situation, you may be given estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen with progestin - a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. Hormone therapy is most often prescribed in the form of pills, injections, vaginal rings, or patches placed on the skin.
In addition to easing the symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy has additional benefits as well as risks associated with it. The estrogen that is prescribed as part of hormone therapy has been shown to protect against bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis. It can also help reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancers.
Among the risks that have been linked to hormone therapy are a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer in women who use a combination of estrogen and progestin. The increased risk appears to be small, but increases the longer you are on hormone therapy. Hormone therapy also slightly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots and of endometrial cancer in women who use estrogen alone.
Your choice of whether or not to use hormone therapy depends on your individual health history and risk factors. Since the results of research studies are not always in agreement, it can be hard to weigh the benefits against the risks and decide what is best for you. The doctors at Capital Women's Care will work with you to determine if hormone therapy is right for you.