With the increasing data available on the health hazards of HRT, particularly long-term, many more women are considering coming off it but can be unsure of what is involved.
Types of HRT
Because there are so many different forms of synthetic HRT, it can be somewhat discouraging to women wanting to make the switch. Just to clarify, the main types of HRT are:
1. Continuous combined HRT; where either a patch or tablet containing both estrogen and a progestogen (progestin) is used straight through a repeated 28 day cycle.
2. Sequential combined HRT; where an estrogen patch or tablet is used to cover the 28 days of a cycle, and a progestogen tablet added for the second half of it. A slight variation on this is with the former used only for the first 14 days, then a combined tablet or patch for the second 14 days.
3. Estrogen alone HRT; as either patch or tablet continuously, or an implant, prescribed for women who have had a hysterectomy. Many experts now believe, however, that these women should be given the same protection as those with an intact uterus, as ‘unopposed’ estrogen also has an unwanted effect on sensitive breast and ovarian tissues.