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HRT 101

Estrogen--progesterone--HRT--ERT--do you know the difference?  We hear a lot about hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, yet 7 out of 10 women cannot name the two most important female hormones.  HRT includes estrogen and progesterone, in many different brands, combinations, and doses.  There are pills, patches, creams, vaginal rings, and injections.  Women who don't have a uterus can take estrogen alone; women with a uterus must take progesterone as well.

There are 2 major reasons women choose HRT:  to prevent or treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, decreased libido and sleeplessness and to prevent or treat the diseases caused or worsened by estrogen loss such as heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, and colon cancer.

HRT is not for everyone.  There are women who have conditions disqualifying them from estrogen.  There are women who have side effects even on low doses.  There are also many women who could benefit from HRT but are scared by misleading media reports.  While there are alternatives to estrogen, there is no equivalent substitute.

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Created: 1/26/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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