What You Need To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy


Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones produced by a female’s reproductive system. While estrogen triggers the release of eggs from the ovaries, progesterone makes the uterus ready for egg implantation. When a woman’s reproductive years are over; or when she enters menopause, her body stops to produce estrogen and progesterone. This is when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) becomes important. To understand what HRT means, its benefits, risks, and who it is designed for, continue to read this article.

What does hormone replacement therapy mean?

The term hormone replacement therapy refers to drugs that consist of female reproductive hormones and are used to treat menopausal symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Thinning of hair
  • Thinning of bones (osteoporosis)
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Memory issues and poor concentration
  • Involuntary weight gain, especially in the tummy.

Different kinds of HRT

You should take some time to research to narrow down a menopause treatment that is best for you. A number of hormone replacement therapy options are available and each type may vary from the other in terms of hormone combinations and delivery. To discover different types of HRT and learn how they work, feel free to check out this page. Meanwhile, here is what to expect:

1. Estrogen-Only

This type contains only estrogen. It is designed for menopausal women who no longer have a womb (have undergone a hysterectomy to remove their uterus/womb). As they no longer have their womb and ovaries, these females do not require progesterone. Estrogen-only or systemic hormone therapy is the best treatment for night sweats, hot flashes and some vaginal signs of menopause.

2. Continuous HRT

This type of HRT contains both progesterone and estrogen. It is taken consistently after menopause. As it is a combined hormone therapy, continuous HRT can protect a woman against osteoporosis and colon cancer. Moreover, it can reduce their odds of developing heart disease if they start to take it immediately after menopause.

3. Low-dose vaginal HRT

This comes in the form of vaginal products such as rings, creams, and tablets. It is used to cure urinary tract problems, vaginal dryness, and vaginal irritation. As the name suggests, these products are slowly absorbed into the body.

4. Sequential

Also known as cyclical HRT, sequential hormone replacement therapy is prescribed to ladies who are in their perimenopausal stage and are still having periods. Perimenopause may occur 3 to 10 years prior to menopause; so, most women experience it in their late 40s. If this type of HRT will be suitable for you, your doctor will prescribe the right dosage and when to take it during your cycle.

In what form do women take HRT?

Hormone replacement therapy is available as a:

  • Pill
  • Vaginal ring
  • Gel or cream
  • Skin patch

One thing you should know is that a reputable doctor will first prescribe a low dose so as to study your body’s reaction. If the dosage treats your symptoms, your doctor might decide to increase it or leave it alone. Additionally, if you are totally healed, your doctor will reduce your dosage gradually rather than stop it abruptly.

Is hormone replacement therapy safe for everyone?

HRT is not safe for every woman who is perimenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal. So, tell your doctor about your past and current health status. If you have a history of or are currently suffering from the following health problems, inform your doctor:

  • Serious migraines
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood clotting
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer of the ovaries, breast or endometrial lining

Note that younger women who are likely to get pregnant or are already expectant should avoid HRT.

What risks are associated with HRT?

The following factors apply when determining how risky hormone replacement therapy can be. These include:

  1. When a woman starts taking HRT. If she was put on therapy over ten or twenty years from when their menopause started (that is after turning 60 years old), she is likely to develop any of the aforementioned diseases. On the other hand, a woman who begins therapy before attaining the age of sixty years is likely to have more benefits than risks.
  2. Whether a therapy contains estrogen only or has progesterone too
  3. The type of estrogen and dosage
  4. If a patient is healthy or suffering from serious diseases like stroke, heart disease or cancer.

Furthermore, hormone replacement therapy is thought to increase a woman’s weight. However, research has demonstrated that weight gain around menopause is not necessarily caused by HRT. Weight gain could easily be caused by less activity due to discomfort caused by menopause or an increase in appetite triggered by estrogen decline.  

Women who naturally start menopause after the age of forty-five years and are not affected by its symptoms can do without HRT. Their doctors can offer proper advice to them on how to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, and other health issues. Conversely, any woman who is experiencing perimenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal discomfort should talk to their doctor about the possibility of starting their HRT.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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Adrian Jones
5 years ago

It’s great you talked about the several risks that can be associated with hormone replacement therapy and how it could potentially lead to disease down the line should it not be treated properly. At the same time, any and all of the people who undergo this particular treatment may do so if but only because of the benefits that it could bring. If I

Rosie Beckett
5 years ago

I am starting to go through menopause and I want to make the process easier, so I want to learn as much as possible about hormone replacement therapy. I had no idea that there are so many different options and this gives me peace of mind that I will find something for me. Also, the fact that I can take the replacement therapy in a simple pill would

Dan, Hormone Pellets
4 years ago

Thank you for discussing the risks a woman/man can get when undergoing a hormone replacement therapy or HRT. In my own opinion, seeing the benefits of HRT is still bigger gains compared to the risks. The best thing is to consult a doctor before undergoing HRT. Great article btw.

Dave Anderson
4 years ago

That is nice that hormone therapy can treat hot flashes. Maybe it would be good for my wife to get hormone therapy. This is something I will suggest to her soon.

Kate Welling
4 years ago

It’s nice to know about hormone replacement. My brother wants to get this. I will let him know this information.

Shayla Cademis
4 years ago

Thanks for the info about a doctor prescribing a low dosage to study a body’s reaction before giving larger doses. I’ve been nervous about trying hormone replacement therapy, but I’ve been having bad hot flashes for the past few months. I’ll have to see if there is a good clinic in my area who can talk to me about a hormone replacement therapy plan

Penelope Smith
4 years ago

This is some really good information about hormone replacement therapy. It is good to know that you can use this therapy if you get really terrible migraines. My mother and brother get really bad migraines pretty frequently. This might be something they should look into.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

This is some really good information about hormone replacement therapy. Thanks for sharing.

Stefan Bradley
4 years ago

Thanks for mentioning how hormone replacement therapy is used to help treat menopausal symptoms like night sweats and sleep disturbances. My wife is currently going through menopause and wants to try to relieve the symptoms that she has been experiencing. I will continue to research the options that my wife has for hormone replacement therapy.

alfred hormone pellets

Most people have to go through 3 to 5 months of treatment in order to get the correct dose and maintain an accurate balance of hormones in their body. This procedure is often considered to be the most effective form of hormonal replacement because there are hardly any side effects and many people have been seen to improve through this form of thera

Asa Kim
4 years ago

Hormone replacement therapy is a kind of medication which is used to balance the hormone levels in the body. Yes, there have been multiple concerns raised about HRT(hormone replacement therapy). But you can’t ignore the fact and the fact is → hormone replacement therapy is not entirely risk-free. Hormone replacement therapy is not a risk-free medic

David Johnson
4 years ago

Thank you for explaining that hormone replacement therapy is used once a woman enters menopause. Some of my friends are getting to that stage in their lives. I’ll have to look more into hormone replacement therapy.

Eli Richardson
4 years ago

My mother has been having urinal tract problems. I didn’t know that hormone replacement therapy consisted of female reproduction and was used to treat menopause. I will let my sister know about this treatment so she can speak to our mom about it.

Thomas Jameson
4 years ago

It’s good to know that hormone replacement therapy is designed to treat the symptoms of menopause. My wife has been having some hot flashes, and she’s looking for a way to make them stop. I’ll pass this information along to her so that she can look further into her options for hormone replacement therapy in the future.

Ivy Baker
4 years ago

It is good to know that you can do hormone replacement therapy in a few different ways. It is good to know that you can do skin patches as well. My mother is in the early stages of menopause at the moment. She has a hard time with needles and pills so the skin patch option might be something she should look into.

Jenny McDonald
4 years ago

Thanks, Dennis. Different types of hormones play a different role in the growth of our body and lack of such hormones has a significant influence on our daily life. Age is an important factor which controls the secretion of different types of hormones. So, signs which indicate that our body has some hormonal imbalance should not be ignored.

Jenna Hunter
4 years ago

Thanks for explaining the different types of HRT. I agree that you need to consider what type is best for you and which will be most effective. In addition to this, finding a qualified and experienced service to help you would be really smart.

Samantha,Merge Medical Center

Most doctors are giving women synthetic (non-bioidentical) hormones, which just eliminate the symptoms, but it’s doing nothing to actually replace the hormones you have lost. Without our hormones we die.