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Hormone Replacement Therapy
(GY010)

Introduction


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) refers to the administration of exogenous (outside the body) estrogen (and sometimes progestin) to women who have experienced physiologic depletion of their natural estrogen because of menopause. Menopause, which is the permanent cessation of menstruation after loss of ovarian follicular function, is clinically defined as the absence of menses for 12 months. Natural menopause occurs at an average of 51 years. Approximately 1% of women become postmenopausal before 40 years of age, and 5% become postmenopausal after 55 years of age. During the several years before menopause, a period known as menopause transition, levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increase and ovarian follicles abnormally mature; as a result, estrogen and progesterone levels become erratic.

The two basic reasons to take HRT are the management of the symptoms of menopause and the prevention of certain diseases (such as heart disease and osteoporosis) which are common among postmenopausal women. A common concern regarding HRT is the increased risk of some kinds of cancer which has been associated with taking estrogen.

Not all women are candidates for HRT and the decision must be based on a thorough consideration of the risks and potential benefits for each individual.

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