Hormone replacement therapy, now known simply as hormone therapy, is prescription medication containing female hormones to replace those your body no longer produces.
A conversation with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and health risks is the best way to determine if hormone therapy is right for you. As researchers learn more, recommendations change. Throughout your menopausal years, review your treatment with your doctor on a regular basis to ensure it's still your best option.
Who Should Consider Hormone Therapy
Estrogen remains an appropriate treatment for menopause symptoms in many cases. The risk to an individual woman is quite low, and possibly low enough to be acceptable to you, depending on your symptoms. The benefits of short-term hormone therapy may outweigh the risks, so talk with your physician about your personal risk profile.
Alternatives to Hormone Therapy
Women shouldn't have to struggle through menopause. You may be able to manage your menopausal symptoms by making healthy lifestyle choices. Physicians often recommend a change in exercise or eating habits before trying medication. If lifestyle changes aren't providing enough relief from bothersome symptoms, there are other medications besides hormone therapy, such as antidepressants and dietary supplements, to relieve discomfort.
The Bottom Line
The best way to determine if hormone therapy is right for you is to talk to your physician about your individual symptoms and health risks, and review your treatment regularly to ensure it’s still your best option.