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What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause?

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Doctors sometimes prescribe HRT to resupply the hormones your body stops making after menopause. Any medication has risks and benefits, so talk to your doctor to see if hormone replacement therapy is right for you. Usually, you take an estrogen/progestin supplement by mouth or through a skin patch or gel. Estrogen is the hormone that treats hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).

Estrogen alone can make you more likely to get endometrial or uterine cancer, but progestin helps offset that risk. Both progestin and estrogen may cause irregular bleeding, headaches, bloating, and breast swelling, and pain. They may even make you start having artificial monthly periods.

Estrogen may be used alone in women who have had a hysterectomy.

SOURCES: 

Mayo Clinic: "Menopause."

National Women's Health Information Center: "Menopause."

National Institute on Aging: "Menopause: Time for a Change."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on May 29, 2017

SOURCES: 

Mayo Clinic: "Menopause."

National Women's Health Information Center: "Menopause."

National Institute on Aging: "Menopause: Time for a Change."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on May 29, 2017

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How safe is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as treatment for menopause?

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