Menopausal HRT

Menopausal HRT

It is a stage in a woman’s life when she ceases to have menses. 12 months of absence of periods is required for a diagnosis of menopause to be made. The average age of menopause is 49.1 years with a mean of 45-55 years. Some women may experience it earlier than 40 years of age- this is called premature menopause seen in 1% of women. Menopause occurring after 55 years is late menopause.

With the life expectance of women increasing, the number of menopausal women is also increasing.

Menopause is divided into early menopause - <5years and late menopause - >5years since menopause.

  • What are the common side effects of menopause?
    • Hot flushes- sudden intense bout of bothersome sweating
    • Abnormal bleeding patterns
    • Weight gain
    • Delayed metabolism
    • Lipid abnormalities
  • What are the genital and sexual side effects of menopause?
    • Symptoms of estrogen deficiency in genitals- vaginal dryness, itching causing dyspareunia(pain with intercourse), frequent vaginal infections
    • Lower urinary tract symptoms such as urinary frequency, urgency
    • Vulvodynia or pain in the vulval region (female external genitals)

    The genitourinary syndrome of menopause manifests by troublesome symptoms which makes sexual intercourse difficult. Not only estrogen, but testosterone levels also decrease. This causes a decreased sexual desire.

  • What are menopause medications?

    The supplementation of hormones given to menopausal women to overcome symptoms caused due to hormonal deficiency constitute menopause medications. These include

    • Estrogen in the form of tablets to be swallowed, estrogen creams and gels to be applied locally
    • Testosterone in the form of tablets to be swallowed or gels to be applied locally
    • Natural products such as soy which have estrogenic property and are called phytoestrogens
    • Other medications which can treat menopausal symptoms such as tibolone which have a positive influence on certain symptoms related to menopause.
  • Are menopause medications safe?
    When prescribed by experienced physicians at the right dose for the appropriate indication, they are safe.
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