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Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 11:54

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are some frequently asked questions related to hormone replacement therapy.

Q: If I have none of the risk factors, should I still take hormone replacement therapy?

A: A decision that is right for one woman may not be right for another, so the answer is different for each person. The decision would depend on what a woman hopes to get from HRT, such as relief of menopause symptoms. All of the pros and cons have to be balanced against each other.

Q: Will hormone replacement therapy make me gain weight?

A: According to a long-term study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hormone replacement therapy did not result in weight gain. However, regardless of whether they are taking HRT, women are more likely to gain some weight with aging. A good diet and regular exercise can help avoid this.

Q: I'm considering adding soy to my diet. What's the right amount?

A: Many experts recommend about 40 grams of soy protein a day. Soy protein is available in powdered form as well as in foods such as tofu or soybeans.

Q: Is menopause considered an illness or disease?

A: Menopause is a naturally occurring event and is not an illness or medical condition. There is nothing abnormal about menopause.

Q: My mother and sister both went through menopause in their mid-40s. Will it happen it me, too?

A: Although the average age for menopause is 50, it can occur at any time between the mid-30s to the late 50s. There does seem to be a pattern in families. If your close female relatives have had an earlier menopause, it is more likely that you will, too.

Q: Is contraception necessary if taking HRT?

A: After menopause, when her periods have completely stopped, a woman is no longer fertile. However, some women begin HRT while they are still having periods, in order to relieve menopause symptoms. Those women could become pregnant and will need contraception. Monthly bleeding as a result of HRT does not imply that pregnancy is possible.

Q: Are any tests required before HRT is started?

A: A general medical checkup is recommended to determine if a woman has any risk factors that may contraindicate HRT. A routine exam should include a check of blood pressure, breasts, abdomen, and pelvis.

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