Menopause is an inevitable part of the ageing process for the majority of women. It takes place as the ovaries gradually stop producing eggs once a month, as they do until this point. This leads to a drop in the body's hormone production, which in turn leads to various symptoms. During perimenopause – the early stages of the process - the body gradually scales down oestrogen production, although eventually testosterone and progestogen numbers fall too.
Many women feel anxiety or stress about menopause, but it is not always a negative experience and there are treatments available for women who do want a little extra help. Most of the symptoms of menopause are caused by a drop in oestrogen levels, and many people will be aware of the more common symptoms like hot flushes and incontinence, even if they have not experienced them.
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Oestrogen is an important sex hormone present in the female body and is responsible for many female characteristics, meaning that when a change does occur in the presence of this hormone the body will react.
Progestogen is another prominent female sex hormone that is affected by menopause, although the effect of the change in progestogen levels is not as far-reaching as that of oestrogen. Progestogen plays an important role in maintaining womb health, and in the event that numbers drop too much, a woman could have a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Just like men, women have a store of testosterone, although in far lower numbers. When testosterone is low it can affect a woman's sex drive and energy levels, in some cases leading to female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
Although, as with other conditions, menopause has certain common symptoms, it can affect all women differently; some may be more severely affected than others, and some women may even go through the process without any real concerns at all. However, it is worth having an idea of what signs and symptoms might signal the beginning of the change.
If and when the symptoms of menopause are causing you discomfort, doctors are often able to recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These treatments are designed to restore the balance of female hormones in your body by supplying it artificially; they are administered either in the form of a vaginal cream, oral tablets or with the help of a patch.
HRT treatments normally contain conjugated oestrogens, tibilone or estradiol (natural oestrogen), or a combination of estradiol or conjugated oestrogens and progesterone. It is unlikely that you would be prescribed a treatment that contains testosterone, and many women will benefit sufficiently from using hormone replacement therapy treatments that contain just progesterone and, or progestogen.
The main benefit of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) lies in its ability to reduce a woman's risk of developing irritating and potentially stressful symptoms of menopause. It is also particularly helpful when used as prevention against osteoporosis in menopausal women.
As mentioned, the symptoms experienced during menopause, as well as the frequency of those symptoms, will vary from woman to woman, and so providing a definitive summary of the benefits is difficult. However, it is clear and important to note that, in many women, the effects of HRT have been incredibly positive.
Before a doctor is able to prescribe an HRT treatment to you they will always evaluate whether the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks. You may still be required to visit your doctor on a regular basis, though, so that you can ensure that your treatment is still working correctly.
As with any prescription medication, there are risks that accompany using HRT treatment. These symptoms vary in severity but, in most cases and where they maintain contact with their doctor, women using HRT treatments will be able to complete their course of medication without any adverse or overly worrying side effects. For more information on the benefits and risks of HRT treatments, visit our more comprehensive page here.
Hormone Replacement Therapy treatments are available online to people who are already using them. You simply need to place an order for the medication that you are currently using and then complete our free, online consultation.
Every consultation is checked by one of our partner doctors who will also provide a prescription once your consultation has been approved. This prescription is then sent on to our registered UK pharmacy where it will be checked, prepared and then discreetly packaged for free, same or next day delivery. 121doc adheres to strict patient confidentiality guidelines, and safety is always our first concern when providing patients with prescription medication.