Estrogen Replacement Therapy has been the subject of strong debates for quite some time now. While some consider it as the best way to replenish the lost estrogen levels in the body post-menopause, others consider it a harbinger of ailments like breast cancer and heart diseases.
Nevertheless, recent studies have pointed out that estrogen may in fact help a number of women in a number of ways. In fact, these studies even suggest that estrogen replacement therapy could have saved the lives of over 50000 women in the past few years who decided not to get it.
What is Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Estrogen Replacement Therapy aka ERT is a therapy that is often recommended for women who have recently experienced menopause or suffer from estrogen deficiencies. The therapy focuses on replacing the estrogen the body is not able to produce.
How can Estrogen Replacement Therapy help us?
Studies have indicated that ERT can potentially help treat a number of conditions in women. These include:
- Menopausal Symptoms
Hot flashes and vaginal dryness are two of the most common symptoms of menopause in women. In some cases, severe estrogen deficiency can also lead to vaginal itching and inflammation, narrowing of the vaginal opening and painful sexual intercourse. ERT has been found to be very beneficial in reducing these symptoms to a great extent.
ERT is known to prevent osteoporosis in elderly women. Studies have in fact revealed that opting for ERT can reduce a woman’s chance of contracting osteoporotic fractures by at least 50%.
- Heart Disease
Estrogen replacement therapy may be useful in combatting a range of heart ailments, including atherosclerosis, a condition which causes the arteries in the heart to harden. ERT helps increase the HDL cholesterol levels in the body, thus helping prevent atherosclerosis and several other cardiovascular diseases.
- Turner Syndrome
ERT is also a standard form of treatment recommended for Turner Syndrome. When used to treat the condition, ERT helps stimulate the body to begin puberty. It also helps the body maintain proper sexual health and functioning throughout adulthood.
Different Types of Estrogen Replacement Therapy
There are many forms of estrogen replacement therapy one needs to choose from for treatment. The exact method chosen will depend on factors like age, health, symptoms, severity of the condition and personal preference. Accordingly, the different types of ERT include oral pills, skin patches, topical sprays/gels/creams and vaginal rings/creams/suppositories.
Points to note before opting for ERT
Here are some essential pointers one needs to take note of when opting for estrogen replacement therapy.
The individual opting for the treatment needs to have a detailed chat with her physician regarding the benefits and risks of ERT. Some of the minor risks associated with ERT include weight gain, nausea, fluid retention, swollen breasts and nausea, all of which the individual needs to be well aware of before opting for the treatment.
ERT is generally not recommended for women who have suffered from or continue to suffer from conditions like breast cancer, migraines, asthma, blood clots, diabetes, and liver disease.
It is also considered essential to follow a healthy lifestyle in terms of dieting and exercising to realize the full benefits of ERT on the body. Individuals opting for the therapy need to eat right for their nutritional type as well as exercise regularly. They will also need to stay away from fats, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and empty foods which increase the risks of the estrogen levels in the body shooting up to abnormal levels.
Other than these, individuals opting for ERT can get additional help from phytoestrogen, Vitamin D and polyphenol supplements to keep their bodies healthy and fit, both during and after the therapy.
Estrogen replacement therapy can help treat a number of conditions in women. However, it does come with its share of risks and needs to be talked about with a qualified physician before commencement.