Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to describe preparations that contain the two female hormones, estrogen and progestogen, that are given together to relieve bothersome symptoms of menopause.
Symptoms of menopause include hot face, neck and chest (“hot flushes”), night sweats, vaginal dryness and low mood. The decrease in estrogen may also lead to a condition called osteoporosis, where the bones become thinner, weaker and easier to break. Using estrogen alone may cause abnormal thickening of the uterus (womb) lining – hence those with an intact uterus require an additional female hormone, progestogen, to prevent this.
Progestogen may be combined together with estrogen in one tablet. It may also be prescribed separately for a specific duration each month.
Taking HRT increases a woman’s risk of developing blood clots and breast cancer. However, these are rare and the doctor would have evaluated and weighed its benefits over risks before making the recommendation. Please discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns.
It is also advisable to regularly check your breasts while you are on HRT. If you notice any unusual changes, please see your doctor immediately.
Other rare but serious side effects that you may or may not experience include:
The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
If you experience any of these side effects/ symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.
This medication is NOT meant to be as a birth control method and would not prevent you from getting pregnant.
Inform your healthcare professional if:
Some medications including antibiotics, antifungals and St John’s wort may affect how HRT works or be affected by HRT. Please inform other healthcare professionals about the HRT you are taking if you are seeing them for other medical conditions.
There are different types of HRT and the way to take these medications depends on the HRT that you have been prescribed. Some brands have different coloured tablets which have to be taken in a certain order.
The following are some commonly used HRT regimens:
Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.