Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is when female hormones (oestrogen by itself or with progesterone) are given to a woman during or after menopause when the production of oestrogen by the ovaries declines. The hormones can be taken as tablets, implants or skin patches.
HRT has become less popular in recent years because a large study in the USA found that long-term use of HRT can increase the risk of some serious diseases, such as breast cancer and blood clots. However, for some women, short-term use of HRT (no more than 3–4 years) can provide relief from symptoms caused by having less oestrogen in their bodies, such as hot flushes and loss of bone density.
The risks and benefits of HRT should be thoroughly discussed with a doctor before treatment begins.