Hormone replacement therapy is a generalized term used to describe any form of therapy which utilizes replacement or augmentation of naturally occurring hormones in the human body with other naturally occurring hormones. There are three common forms of hormone replacement therapy that are prevalent in today’s medical environment. Each of which have benefits and negative ramifications associated with each therapy.
They are hormone replacement therapy for menopause which has a primary focus on preventing the negative ramifications associated with diminished levels of estrogen and progesterone. By replacing the diminished levels of naturally occurring hormones the side effects associated with menopause are negated. The second is a replacement therapy designed to manipulate the gender of the patient in order to modify their physical and functional body to become more in line with their mind regarding sex. Androgen replacement therapy is the third common type of therapy and it is used to count the effects of hypogonadism. This delays in the effects of male aging and also allows for androgen replacement when a client losses their testicular functionality for a particular reason.
The benefits of hormone replacement therapy included the manipulation of natural occurring events in the body by either delaying the inevitable such as age, loss of body function and form. There is also the benefit of allowing the mitigation and reduction of impact of the negative aspects of human form. Using the hormone therapy to change the way women experience menopause and allowing them to go through a milestone in life that often has a negative connotation associated with it lessens the burden on the patient as well as provides an increase to the quality of life enjoyed by the patient. The hormone therapy allows the hardships endured by the body to be reduced to a nuisance instead of a life altering sufferance. In regard to the hormone therapy to gender modification, the benefits are more than just physical. The physical transformation associated with providing male or female hormones into the parallel gender thus changing the physical makeup to more closely correlate with the patients mental and psychological makeup allows the person to more closely resemble who they are on the inside with what they look and promote on the outside. The benefit includes a feeling of wholeness that is intangible for the medical community to measure but is a driving force for transgendered clients to elect to participate in transgendered therapy. Therapy used to recreated the functionality of a lost ability such as androgen production through the testicle can be beneficial because it bring the ability of the patient to perform at the base level needs they enjoyed prior to the loss.
Risks include the inherent uncertainty of what hormone replacement therapy will lead to in a long term life situation. The changes that the body is placed in through hormone replacement therapy are not naturally created by the host patient and the long term ramifications of introducing the body with outside hormones may have a greater impact than initially thought. Currently the risks include increases pain in the body, pulmonary embolisms, heightened blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is increased which would potentially lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The health degradation over the prolonged exposure of the introduction of the hormones negate the initial positive impacts such as alleviating the discomfort of menopause but the side effects may not deter the hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients.
Neal-Perry, G., Pal, L., (2011). Hormone therapy in 2011 rethinking the evidence. http://contemporaryobgyn.net.