A Guide to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
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As Davina details her HRT routine.
Have you ever heard of hormone replacement therapy? If you weren’t there before this week, you might have given that there is currently a nationwide shortage in the UK.
While about a million women in the UK take HRT, Davina McCall started a more public conversation about it last year with her show, Sex, Myths and Menopause, During this, he told in detail about his experience about the treatment.
HRT has gotten a bad rap over the years—while the drug is most thoroughly evaluated through research and clinical trials, it is still sometimes given thanks to a 2002 study in which Was warned of breast cancer risk – Davina says HRT “has changed” [her] life “for the better.
Now, she wants her experience to help others. Urging women to seek “correct information”, the presenter shared her view that the information inside HRT packets, which may turn many women away from treatment, is “wrong”.
Davina shared, “Many women get the prescription and then they throw it in the bin because they read all the information and they get scared.” “So get the right information and then if I were you, I’d go over it right away if you think it’s right for you, because it has revolutionized my life.”
Davina also feels that the stigma surrounding HRT is unnecessary. “It’s interesting how people make you feel like it’s something you’re doing to try and ‘stay young’ or it’s a cop-out, something vulnerable,” she said. “But all you’re doing is replacing the hormones that are gone.”
The average age for menopause in the UK is 51 and is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 months, but the period before that is called perimenopause and can last for several years. “We now understand that the transition to menopause is a gradual process and that women can have a rollercoaster ride of fluctuating hormones that can actually impair their quality of life,” shares Aziz Scott.
Here, two doctors explain what hormone replacement therapy is, how it works, what the common side effects are, and how to find out if it’s the right option for you.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Your Guide
What is HRT?
HRT is a treatment — usually a tablet or skin patch — that works by replacing the hormones that decrease during the menopausal period, shares Aziz Scott. Doc Martin as Kinsella, founder of BioID HealthExplains, “As the name suggests, the drug replaces female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), which naturally decrease during menopause.”
By doing this, you reduce the symptoms of menopause by replacing the hormones that naturally decrease with age.
why is it important? Simply put, because each of our hormones has a specific function and further, the symptoms related to its deficiency. “For example, a lack of estrogen causes hot flushes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness,” shares Dr.
“Progesterone deficiency associates with insomnia and anxiety while testosterone replacement will improve energy and libido. In addition, all of these hormones are neurosteroids and can have an effect on brain function, particularly memory – a common menopausal complaint. “
Are there different types of HRT?
Yes, there are. “Essentially there are two types of HRT options; Combined HRT or estrogen-only,” Kinsella shares. “Combined HRT is a prescription that replaces both estrogen and progesterone, to regulate hormone levels. Estrogen-only HRT is usually only prescribed for women who have had a hysterectomy (their womb was removed).
There are also many different ways to take HRT. Because there are so many, expect to take the time to find the right combination.
- skin spots
- vaginal cream
Fun facts: As time goes on, the science has evolved which means that we now also have Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). “Unlike standard HRT, which is derived from synthetic hormones, BHRT is made from plant sources that are similar to the hormones your body makes naturally,” Kinsella explains.
HRT. side effects of
Side effects related to estrogen replacement can be:
Progesterone may be related to:
- excess fluid in the body
Similarly, testosterone can cause:
However, with the right regimen to suit your needs, side effects only last a few weeks, shares Aziz Scott. “Symptoms can be reduced,” she assures.
I don’t know if I should take HRT or not – HELP!
Short answer – it’s up to you. Aziz Scott shares, “Most women see a huge improvement in quality of life with HRT with fewer symptoms, hot flushes and night sweats, improved sexual health and libido and better mood.” “Long-term health benefits such as reduced osteoporosis risk, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s dementia are also well researched.”
As Kinsella points out, there are pros and cons to this:
- better quality of life
- Alleviating symptoms like lack of sleep, fatigue, hot flushes and more
- Osteoporosis prevention.
- Unpleasant side effects like bloating, leg cramps, headache, indigestion and more
- There is an increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
ground level: Doctors believe that the benefits of HRT usually outweigh the risks for most women. “The risks are usually small, depending on what type of HRT you take, how long you take it and your own health risks,” she continues.
Can HRT cause breast cancer?
Thanks to a 2002 study, women often have concerns about breast cancer risk. So what do doctors believe? “Recent research suggests that there is little or no change in breast cancer risk if you take estrogen and progesterone that are bioidentical or similar to the body,” she tells WebMD.
“In fact, other risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, and smoking have a greater effect,” she warns. “But regular breast screening is important for breast cancer screening.”
On that note – Kinsella shared that the taboo surrounding HRT has been around for years. “As we have established, no treatment or form of medication is completely risk-free,” he shares. “The key is to find a treatment that gets to the root of the problem and works for you and your body.”
Davina’s HRT Routine: Estrogen Patches and More
Sharing her morning HRT routine on Instagram, Davina elaborated on the gels, creams and patches she uses every day after shower. “My hormones are a big part of my morning routine and I thought I’d show you how to apply them to understand this a little bit,” she says.
Talking about her Menopause documentary, she says: “I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project that affected me so deeply. She added that she was regularly “broken by deep despair and anger.” Know how we are failing women. This film is not just for menopausal women, it is for their partners, their fathers, their brothers and their sons. we’re all in this together. I used to think menopause was an age thing and now I realize it is a woman thing. For too long, embarrassment, shame, and fear have been shrouded around this topic, and it stops here!”
Her usual routine includes:
1. an estrogen patch 2x a week
The first thing you notice as you apply Davina is to remove a clear “hormone sticker” on her hip, called estradot, She changes the small plaster twice a week. “It leaves a little sticky stuff [like any plaster] But I thought you should see the ups and downs. I wanted you to see it warts and all.
She turns hips when she changes stickers. “We use stickers because they’re transdermal [absorbed through the skin as opposed to a tablet] Transdermal is important because it is a better way to take HRT,” she shares.
FYI — the patch is translucent “so whatever skin color you are it goes on clear,” or so she assures.
2. Estrogen Gel – Daily
Davina also uses a clear transdermal gel called Ostrogel. She rubs it into her upper arm and does so to increase her estrogen levels.
Fun fact: “Nowadays estrogen is plant-based,” or so says Davina. “It’s made from yams. They’re very different from hormones taken back in the day.”
3. Testosterone Cream – Daily
Next, Davina rubs a testosterone cream into her thigh, but Davina shares that this particular hormone is less commonly prescribed and not widely available via prescription on the NHS.
“I think you can have it if your libido is on the floor,” shares the presenter. “But it’s not just about sex drive. Did you know that testosterone is also a very important female hormone? My testosterone was low and I take pea-sized amounts.”
“By the way, taking testosterone doesn’t make you or penis or testicles or hairy or anything like that. I’m not taking extra testosterone, I’m just replenishing my levels where they should be.”
4. Progesterone – Coil
As we explained, most hormone replacement therapy combines estrogen and progestogen. While many women take a progesterone pill called utrogestion, Davina doesn’t because she has a coil that provides it. “The progesterone part of my HRT, I get from the Mirena coil,” she shares with her followers.
About her daily routine, she says: “I know you’d think it’s a fluff, but I feel normal again and dare I sometimes feel better than I have in years and years.” I feel better than him. So to me, Faf is worth it.”
Considering trying HRT yourself? Aziz Scott recommends you seek medical advice from your GP – ideally one who has expert knowledge in menopause, she shares. “Remember to ask for bodydentical or bioidentical HRT, as we know this is the best option. Vaginal estrogen creams are also very helpful for vaginal health and can be used safely,” she concludes.
And remember, your recipe will be unique and unique to your individual needs. “They are designed to help the body deal with the changes, ultimately alleviating many of those unpleasant and difficult symptoms,” concludes Kinsella.