Dr. Kiran Mehndiratta helps you make an Informed Decision
Most women, as
they reach menopause in their 40s and 50s, are confronted with a
decision about whether to take hormone therapy or not. Making an
informed decision about hormone therapy can be difficult and
complex. This is because there may be benefits, but also risks to
taking drug treatment and these must be weighed carefully. It is
important for a woman to understand what is currently known about
hormone therapy and what is not yet known and apply this
information to her own situation. To make an informed decision,
women also need to consider what alternatives are available to
meet their health needs.
What is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy (HT),
also called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or ovarian hormone
therapy (OHT), refers to the use of estrogen and progesterone,
often prescribed to supplement the declining levels of these
hormones which occur during menopause. Using the term "hormone
replacement therapy" implies that menopause is a disease of
hormone deficiency and not a normal process as we know it to be.
Therefore, we have chosen to use the term "hormone therapy."
Making an informed decision about HT:
Keep track of your symptoms of
menopause. Are they severe enough to affect your sleep and
general quality of life? Have you tried other, non-hormonal ways
to deal with them?
Are there reasons for you not to
Identify the benefits you might
gain from HT.
Based on what you know, assess how
important each of these benefits and risks are to you
Reducing risk of
Extra risk of
Review any other
concerns you may have. Do you mind taking medications on a
long-term basis? Do you worry about some diseases or possible
effects more than others?
Evaluate what you are doing and
willing to do to reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis
and breast cancer for example:
A healthy diet
Do not smoke or willing to quit
there other questions that need answering before you decide? If
so, how can you get that information?
you will take hormones, put off the decision until you have more
information or do not wish to take hormones. The most important
thing is to feel comfortable with your decision. Recognize that
if your situation changes or as further research becomes
available, you may reconsider your decision.
Growing Older, Growing Wiser:
decision about hormone therapy is an important opportunity to take
stock, gain new insights and knowledge about ourselves as we age.
We benefit from
What am I currently doing in my
daily life to promote physical and emotional wellbeing?
there changes I am willing and able to make?
so, how can I realistically achieve these?
Many women in
their menopausal years may be working both within and outside the
home, dealing with a wide range of demands and stress, from teens
to elderly parents and may not have the time or resources to tend
to their own needs. Some women may find themselves alone, widowed
or divorced, with children gone. For others, difficult issues from
the past, such as abuse, may resurface in midlife and need a
process of resolution and healing. Low income and a lack of
control over the circumstances of one's life also contribute to
poor health. A wide range of emotions and concerns may be
attributed to menopause that has much to do with the nature of a
woman's life during these transitions.
means growing wiser and finding our voices to seek out what is
best for our own health and well-being and for the benefit of our
families, communities and our society. There are no ready answers.
Whatever our decision about hormone therapy, it is what we learn
about ourselves and our world that offers challenges and meaning
to our lives.