The main benefit of HRT is that it can help relieve most of the menopausal symptoms, such as:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- vaginal dryness
- reduced sex drive
Many of these symptoms pass after a few years, but they can be unpleasant and taking HRT can offer relief for many women.
It can also help prevent weakening of the bones (osteoporosis), which is more common after the menopause.
Some types of HRT can increase your risk of breast cancer.
The benefits of HRT are generally believed to outweigh the risks. But speak to a GP if you have any concerns about taking HRT
Speak to a GP if you’re interested in starting HRT.
You can usually begin HRT as soon as you start experiencing menopausal symptoms and will not usually need to have any tests first.
A GP can explain the different types of HRT available and help you choose one that’s suitable for you.
You’ll usually start with a low dose, which may be increased at a later stage. It may take a few weeks to feel the effects of treatment and there may be some side effects at first.
A GP will usually recommend trying treatment for 3 months to see if it helps. If it does not, they may suggest changing your dose, or changing the type of HRT you’re taking.
Most women can have HRT if they’re having symptoms associated with the menopause.
But HRT may not be suitable if you:
have a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or womb cancer
have a history of blood clots
have untreated high blood pressure – your blood pressure will need to be controlled before you can start HRT
have liver disease
are pregnant – it’s still possible to get pregnant while taking HRT, so you should use contraception until 2 years after your last period if you’re under 50, or for 1 year after the age of 50
In these circumstances, alternatives to HRT may be recommended instead.
There are many different types of HRT and finding the right 1 for you can be difficult.
There are different:
HRT hormones – most women take a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen, although women who do not have a womb can take oestrogen on its own
ways of taking HRT – including tablets, skin patches, gels and vaginal creams, pessaries or rings
HRT treatment plans – HRT medicine may be taken without stopping, or used in cycles where you take oestrogen without stopping but only take progestogen every few weeks
A GP can give you advice to help you choose which type is best for you. You may need to try more than 1 type before you find 1 that works best.
Find out more about the different types of HRT.