Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a type of hormonal treatment that uses estrogen, and sometimes progesterone and testosterone, to balance a person’s hormones. Men can also benefit from HRT if they show symptoms of low testosterone.
Why is it offered?
- For Women: Hormone replacement therapy is most commonly used with women to help balance their hormones during menopause.
- For Men: Male hormone replacement therapy is used to help develop male sex organs along with increasing facial hair and muscularity.
- Since estrogen helps protect against osteoporosis, HRT can help protect against osteoporosis after menopause.
Types of HRT
HRT can be administered as a pill, cream, patch, or a vaginal ring, and it can be systemic (where the hormones go to the organs and tissues that need it through the bloodstream) and local (which is designed specifically for vaginal dryness).
- Estrogen-Only: largely for women who have had their ovaries, uterus, or womb removed (hysterectomy)
- Cyclical (sequential): for women who still menstruate but experience some symptoms of perimenopause (the years before menopause where the ovaries begin to make less estrogen).
- Continuous: includes both estrogen and progesterone for women during postmenopause.
- Long-cycle: questionable safety because of the withdrawal bleeds
- Local estrogen: for women with urogenital problems like irritation or dryness. Comes in the form of vaginal tablets, creams, or rings.
Bioidentical hormone therapy pros and cons
Benefits of HRT
- Can help with vaginal dryness
- Can reduce the symptoms of menopause (like hot flashes)
- protect against bone density loss (osteoporosis)
- reduce the risk of certain cancers (like colon cancer)
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Uterine lining growth, which can increase the risk of uterine cancer
- small but increased risk of the following:
- Breast cancer
- Deep vein thrombosis
- heart attack
HRT is currently recommended to treat menopausal and hormonal symptoms, but it’s important for you to talk to your doctor about what treatment plan is right for you. New River Women’s Health believes in safely and effectively balancing the hormones to relieve symptoms that disrupt the lives of our patients. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause or hormone imbalance, contact us at (540) 605-7566 to find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you