replacement therapy refers to the administration of estrogen,
usually in combination with progestin,
to women who have reduced levels of these hormones as a result
or surgical removal of the ovaries.
In the short term, HRT has the benefits
of improving menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia
and mood swings. In the long term, HRT provides estrogen which
can help prevent osteoporosis
and bone fractures, and can reduce cholesterol levels (especially
LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and protect against atherosclerosis.
Currently, about 10 percent of women in
the United States takes HRT. Almost two-thirds of women who
start taking HRT stop taking it within a few years because
of side-effects such as bleeding.
HRT also has some long-term risks. Taking estrogen without
progestin can cause cancer of the uterus; even with progestin,
HRT can increase risk of breast cancer, heart problems, gallbladder
disease and stroke.
Each woman must make an individual decision,
with her doctor's help, about the risks and benefits of HRT
given her own condition. For example, a post-menopausal woman
with a family history of breast cancer may not be advised
to start HRT. On the other hand, a women with no known risk
for breast cancer, but with a high risk for osteoporosis,
might well benefit from HRT.
Article : "ESTROGEN
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain