HRT After Your Periods Have Stopped

Continuous hormone therapy is for women who have not had a period in more than a year. This article will go into more detail on this and why it's important.

Recap: What is HRT (hormone replacement therapy)?

HRT refers to when your body takes a medication to replace its natural hormones. This happens because estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones, drop in perimenopause as well as menopause.

All forms of HRT contains a form of estrogen. You will be given estrogen alone if you have had a hysterectomy. If you have not had a hysterectomy in the past, estrogen will be mixed with a progestogen. Your risk factors, preferences, symptoms, and whether you have still been having periods will all influence the type of HRT you choose. You can read our Hormone Replacement Therapy article for a better overview.

What is continuous HRT?

If your period stops for more than one year, between the ages of 45-60, and there is no medical reason, then you are simply postmenopausal. If you decide to take HRT then you must continue taking HRT continuously. You will need to take small amounts of estrogen and progestogens daily without any breaks.

What are the different types of continuous HRT?

For women with a womb (uterus), continuous combined HRT is recommended. This means that you will take both estrogen as well as progestogen every day. Your personal needs will determine the exact form and dosage of HRT.

Continuous estrogen-only HRT is required for women who don't have a womb.

Will I have periods using continuous HRT?

No, but you might experience some irregular bleeding when you first adjust to HRT. This should be monitored over the first six month to ensure that it settles down. Sometimes, you might need to change your prescription. Consult your doctor if your bleeding continues for more than six months.

Recall that routine screenings are vital for cervical cancer prevention, especially if irregular bleeding is a concern. It is important to have a cervical smear once every three years according to the NHS.

How does HRT need change as we age?

Your HRT requirements will change as you move through menopause (one-year without your period). You will need to switch from taking hormones continuously after menopause to taking them cyclically if you started HRT before your last period. This transition will usually occur after 2-5 years of cyclical HRT or when you are above 54 years of age.

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