Since many problems associated with the menopause are believed to be due to reduced estrogen levels, the main component of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is estrogen.
The estrogens used in HRT are referred to as "natural" because they resemble substances produced in the body and include oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol which are usually made from soya beans or yam extracts. Conjugated equine estrogens made from horse urine are also sources of the naturally occurring estrogen oestrone sulphate.
If HRT is taken after a hysterectomy, usually estrogen alone is required. If HRT is taken when the womb (uterus) is still present, then estrogen is taken with a progestogen which prevents estrogenic stimulation and thickening of the womb lining. Estrogen can be taken by a daily tablet, twice weekly or weekly patch, weekly patch, daily gel or implant. People respond differently to different types, routes and doses of estrogen and sometimes several adjustments of therapy are required. If possible, any type should be tried for 3 months before deciding whether or not a change is required.
|Download the Advice to Patients leaflet:
What is H.R.T?, Risks and benefits of H.R.T., Side-effects,
Conclusion, Useful resources.
(pdf file, 6 pages, 110K, updated 10 Dec 2013)
Three PDF format leaflets: