Benefits and Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy

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Are menopause symptoms really getting to you? A treatment called hormone replacement therapy may help. HRT raises your level of one or both female sex hormones that fall during menopause. And that may help you ease hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. It may also keep your bones from thinning -- something that becomes more likely during menopause.

But HRT does have risks. It might raise some women's odds for serious problems, including blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and breast or endometrial cancer.

Is HRT safe for you? Ask your doctor. If she says the treatment may be right for you, take the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time. If your doctor says you shouldn't try HRT, ask about other treatments or at-home tips. Together, you can come up with a plan that will help you start feeling like yourself again.