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HRT is a way of replacing the oestrogen and progesterone which are two hormones your body stops producing during menopause.

It relieves the symptoms, which you may be suffering from such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and any psychological symptoms. It will also help to prevent osteoporosis, heart attacks and strokes.

The progesterone is needed to balance the effects of the oestrogen and keep your womb healthy. It will cause a bleed each month just like a normal period.


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How Long will I need to take HRT?

This will depend on the individual. Some women take it for a short time to overcome their initial symptoms of the menopause. However, to get long term benefits you may wish to take it for at least 5 years.

Methods of Administration

You and your doctor have decided that hormone implants are the most suitable method of administration for you. There are many other ways of prescribing HRT.

  • TABLETS – taken orally

  • PATCHES – stuck onto the skin twice a week

  • CREAMS – applied to the vagina

  • GEL – applied to the skin

Implants are inserted under the skin in the stomach or buttock every six months. It requires a small incision. You will be given some local anaesthetic for this. The consultant will insert the implants (which are the size of a match stick head) by using a special instrument. It is a painless procedure but you will probably feel pressure on your abdomen/buttock.

The procedure takes about five minutes in total. The small incision may either be covered with steri-strips or with a single thread stitch, which dissolves in about 1 week.

The nurse will put on a dressing after the doctor has finished. Some women may have a small amount of oozing from the site but this will stop after a very short time.

Because it is such a simple procedure, you will be able to go about your usual daily routine.

What are the Side Effects?

Some women develop slight nausea and tender breasts when they start their treatment. This is caused by the increasing levels of oestrogen in their blood and soon disappears when levels become stable. Some women may find that it causes a slight increase in weight due to fluid retention but it is usually just a few pounds. If you put on more than this, your HRT needs to be reviewed, as does your diet and exercise programme. Some women lose weight because their energy levels increase and they do more exercise.

There are a number of greater concerns expressed by women about HRT. For example, the possibility of an increased risk of breast cancer and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs), the possibility of an increased risk of stroke/cardiovascular disease, and the increased risk of ovarian cancer with oestrogen only products. However there are many benefits from taking HRT. The statistics show that taking HRT decreases the risk of colon cancer by 20% and decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis by 40%.

Healthy Tips

Some women assume that once they once they have passed the menopause they are no longer at risk of cervical or breast cancer. This is not the case. Women should continue to have cervical smears every three years. Regular self breast examinations are also important.

Any unexpected vaginal bleeding after the menopause is abnormal and your gynaecologist should be consulted if this happens.

Your blood pressure should be checked regularly and remember that mammograms are recommended for women over the age of 50.

If you any questions about the menopause or require further information, please ask the nurse for an information leaflet.

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