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A guide to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Debby Holloway provides an overview of HRT, and the symptoms women experience

The menopause can affect all women, and the way it impacts them will vary. Some women will have minimal symptoms and will not require medical treatment; others may require lifestyle changes and support. However, some will have significant symptoms which impact on their quality of life, daily functioning and work. These women will require help in the form of lifestyle adjustment, prescribed alternatives, complementary therapies or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or a combination of all of the above.

Phases of the menopause

The perimenopause is the phase that happens with the first symptoms of menopause and fluctuations in hormone levels. The average age of menopause in the UK is 51/52 years and the perimenopause can start in the 40s.1 This can lead to variations in the menstrual cycle, with longer gaps as the ovary becomes less responsive to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)/luteinizing hormone (LH), leading to a decrease in oestrogen and menopausal symptoms. This is a transient phase and can happen for a couple of cycles and then go back to normal, before happening again. It is impossible to predict how long this phase will last

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