Only 12% of women in the UK are currently taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to manage menopause symptoms.
Research indicates this is because there are still concerns about the safety of HRT and anxiety about how it impacts breast cancer risk and other health issues. Add to this the fact that many GPs are under-educated about menopause and are therefore nervous about prescribing HRT, and it’s no wonder people with menopause are not being supported appropriately.
These factors all combine to leave women and people with menopause missing out on being prescribed medication that could assist in a positive menopause journey.
How studies have impacted public perception of HRT
During the 1990s, around 26% of women were taking HRT. During this time, a few research studies supported the long-term health benefits of HRT, so public perception was more positive.
In 2002, however, An American study WHI – Women’s Health Initiative study - was released to the press early and before the conclusion was summarised. It contained concerns relating to HRT and a seeming link to breast cancer. This study was based on older, obese women, many of whom had already been through menopause, so their significant risk of breast cancer diagnosis was already identified before they started taking HRT treatment. The researchers later indicated that risks for certain safety aspects were overestimated in the original findings.
Then in 2003, another study was published - The Million Women Study – which indicated a potential health risk with HRT. This study looked at the older tablet forms of HRT, which did carry a slightly higher risk of health complications. All Health Matters does not offer this form of HRT medication. We only prescribe Body Identical HRT – hormones that replace your natural hormones lost during this stage in your life. This is the safest form of HRT and the one used by the NHS, recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
These studies have both since been shown to provide evidence that HRT can protect some health aspects of people taking HRT, depending on their age group.
Many factors are involved in choosing the right treatment for menopause symptoms, including your age and current health status. HRT might not be right for everyone. However, it can be a huge help for the right people, so it’s important to speak to an informed medical professional to get advice that’s right for you.
The benefits of using HRT to treat menopause symptoms
HRT is a useful treatment option, and many people use it successfully to relieve unwanted menopause symptoms. Some potential benefits of HRT include the following:
Reducing hot flashes and night sweats: HRT can help alleviate the uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats that many women experience during menopause.
Improving mood: HRT may improve mood and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety during menopause.
Improving sleep: HRT may improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia, which can be a common symptom of menopause.
Preventing osteoporosis: Oestrogen plays a vital role in maintaining bone health. HRT can help prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Improving vaginal dryness and discomfort: HRT can improve vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort, which can be a common symptom of menopause.
Reducing the risk of colon cancer: Studies have suggested that HRT use may be associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Individualised treatment: HRT can be tailored to individual needs, with different doses and forms available to suit a woman's specific symptoms and health status.
Helping you choose the right treatment for menopause symptoms
We understand this can be an apprehensive time in choosing the right menopause pathway. That is why All Health Matters feel passionate about offering a supportive Menopause Clinic and Well Women’s Health screening programme that looks at your menopause journey holistically. HRT can be a good option for some people, but it isn’t the only option. We can also give advice about alternative therapies and lifestyle changes that can help manage and improve your menopause symptoms.
Take a look at our Menopause Services and find out how All Health Matters can help you navigate your menopause journey.