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What to Expect When You Start HRT | Can It Make You Feel Worse Before You Feel Better?

By February 9, 2023March 29th, 2024No Comments

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Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a safe, efficient, and sustainable treatment aiming to optimize the human body’s hormone levels. If you are considering taking HRT, there are several things you should know before starting the regimen.

Can HRT make you feel worse before better? How long should you wait until the beneficial effects happen? Read on to learn more about this incredible therapy.


What You Need to Know to Make Sure HRT is Working for You

What to Expect When You Start HRT

After beginning HRT, you should expect a wide range of good and bad symptoms, as your body adjusts to the new hormone levels. These symptoms include breast discomfort, nausea, and headaches. Also, you may notice changes to your menstrual cycle or an increase in your sex drive. Whether you can get the most out of this treatment while avoiding its unwanted effects depends on your hormone regimen and current condition.

The full benefits of HRT might take several weeks or months to appear, so be patient and persistent with your progress. Your healthcare practitioner can assist you in managing any symptoms you may be experiencing, so talk to them about any worries you may have.


How Long Does HRT Take to Work?


Not every HRT is the same. This treatment can take several weeks or months to feel the full effects. It may take a different amount of time to start working, depending on the type of therapy, the hormones being used, and your response to the treatment,

For example, it can take several weeks for HRT to start working if it is treating menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats. However, it may take HRT several months to affect the bones and increase bone density when treating osteoporosis.

Relief of hot flashes and night sweats Benefits appear within a few weeks of starting HRT.
Improved mood and sense of well-being These benefits may take several weeks to months to appear.
Reduced risk of osteoporosis HRT can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, but it may take several months or even years for these benefits to appear.
Improved vaginal health HRT can relieve the burning, itching, and dryness of the vagina and help prevent urinary and vaginal tract infections. These advantages might appear after a few weeks.

Because not every HRT is created equal, be patient with your treatment. Also, it is vital to schedule routine follow-up appointments with your healthcare physician to track your progress and make any necessary changes to your treatment plan.


Can HRT Make You Feel Worse Before Better?

Unfortunately, some people may feel worse before they feel better after starting HRT. You may experience this phenomenon when your body adjusts to the new hormone levels. Temporary side effects like headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, and mood swings are possible. However, these unpleasant symptoms usually go away within a few weeks.

Also, some people may notice the aggravation of their pre-existing symptoms, such as migraines, anxiety, or depression. This escalation can occur because of the fluctuation of hormones in the body. But, because everyone reacts differently to HRT, this is not always the case, and some people may not experience any adverse side effects.


How Long Do HRT Side Effects Last?

Depending on the therapy you are having, and how you respond to the treatment, HRT side effects might vary. While some side effects could be transient and disappear after a few weeks, others might last the whole course of therapy.

Headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness are typical HRT side effects that often go away within the first few weeks. Vaginal bleeding can happen during the first few months, but it usually goes away as the body becomes used to the new hormone levels.

Nausea and vomiting These side effects may occur during the first few weeks of HRT and will disappear within a few weeks.
Headaches HRT can cause headaches, which may occur during the first few weeks of treatment and will go away on their own.
Breast tenderness and enlargement These side effects may occur during the first few weeks of HRT and will go away within a few weeks.
Vaginal bleeding HRT can cause vaginal bleeding or spotting, especially during the first few months of treatment. However, this side effect goes away within a few months.
Blood clots HRT can increase the risk of blood clots, which can be severe or even fatal. This risk is highest during the first few months.
Cardiovascular disease HRT may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, particularly in women who are over 60 years old.
Cancer HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, particularly in women who have used HRT for a long time.


What to Do if HRT Side Effects Persist

Remember that since each person responds to HRT differently, some side effects may persist longer than others. Talk to your healthcare professional if you have side effects that are severe or persistent. They will adjust or suggest different ways to treat your symptoms.

Usually, the most common strategy to alleviate the side effects of HRT is reducing the dose or switching to a different route of administration.

Lower doses are less likely to cause any undesirable symptoms. However, too low doses may lengthen the course of hormone treatment, meaning it may take you more time, even several years, until you complete the regimen. So at this point, your healthcare professional may require you to constantly make follow-up appointments to precisely determine your hormone levels and prescribe you the appropriate dosage.

Changing how you take hormones may also help you lessen the side effects. Usually, oral tablets may cause gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or abdominal cramps. Injections are not any better since this route may result in erratic absorption or irritation at the injection site. Therefore, pellet implantation is the optimal route of hormone administration.


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