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HRT is a treatment for the symptoms of menopause that consists of medications containing estrogen or estrogen with progestin. It can reduce hot flashes, treat vaginal dryness, and slow down bone loss. However, this therapy can also increase a woman's risk of heart attack, blood clots, stroke, or breast cancer. Women who use it should do so at the lowest dose that produces results and for the shortest amount of time necessary.

What Is HRT?

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) has been the subject of considerable discussion recently. It consists of hormone medications used to treat the symptoms of menopause.
The lower levels of hormones that occur during menopause often lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and thin bones (osteoporosis). For some women, many of these changes will go away over time without treatment. Other women choose to take HRT -- medications that contain estrogen or estrogen with progestin (another hormone). This therapy works by replacing the natural estrogen your body loses during menopause.
Like all medicines, HRT has risks and benefits. If you are considering it for treatment of your menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about this therapy after reading this article. If you decide to use HRT, use it at the lowest dose that relieves your symptoms. Also, use it for the shortest time necessary to achieve results.

How Does HRT Help With Menopause?

HRT can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause in the following ways:
  • Reduce hot flashes
  • Treat vaginal dryness
  • Slow down bone loss.

Who Should Not Take HRT for Menopause?

Hormone replacement therapy is not appropriate for every woman dealing with the signs of menopause. Women who should not use HRT include those who:
  • Think they are pregnant
  • Have problems with vaginal bleeding
  • Have had certain kinds of cancers
  • Have had a stroke or heart attack in the past year
  • Have had blood clots
  • Have liver disease.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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