Hormone Replacement Therapy FAQ
Hormone replacement therapy is used to replace estrogen or testosterone in the body when it stops making them as we age. In women, the body stops making estrogen during menopause, so hormone therapy is used to treat common menopause symptoms. In men, hormone therapy can relieve the symptoms of low testosterone that also cause many uncomfortable symptoms.
Keep in mind that there may be risks when using hormone therapy which can depend on the type of hormone therapy you take, the dosage, and how long it is taken.
Curious about hormone replacement therapy? Our team at Impact Med answers some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Generally, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used for women going through menopause or men with low testosterone. It can help address a wide range of symptoms, including the following menopause symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Bone thinning
- Urinary problems
- Thinning hair
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Irregular periods
- Difficulty concentrating or with memory
In addition, HRT may help:
- Muscle function
- Risk of heart failure or heart attacks
- Reduce mortality in postmenopausal people
- Prevent skin aging (in some)
Other uses of HRT include:
- Birth control
- Low testosterone
- Transgender transition
- Prostate cancer
What are the Different Types of Hormone Therapy?
Depending on the treatment, there are many forms of hormone replacement therapies that can be used such as pills, patches, suppositories, topical creams and gels, and more.
When deciding what type of hormone therapy to use, work closely with your doctor as each type has different risks.
Who Should Consider Hormone Therapy?
Despite the risks of any treatment, HRT is still the gold standard for treating menopause. For women who experience moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
It is not recommended for everyone though, so be sure to check with your doctor.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are man-made hormones that are like those produced by the human body. Common hormones that are matched include estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
Bioidentical hormones are different from traditional HRT in that they are identical to those our bodies produce naturally but are made from plant estrogens. The hormones used in hormone replacement therapy are made from synthetic hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are used in HRT treatments for men and women whose hormones are low or imbalanced. The FDA has not yet approved any compounded bioidentical hormones, though they have approved some forms of bioidentical estradiol and progesterone.
What are the Benefits of Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is one of the most effective treatments for the relief of troublesome menopause symptoms. But keep in mind, long-term hormone therapy use is not routinely recommended. But taking estrogen or testosterone for short-term relief is perfectly fine.
Women who take estrogen HRT may have protection against the following:
- Colorectal cancer
- Heart disease
Estrogen is typically prescribed as a combination therapy of estrogen and progestin for women who undergo menopause naturally. For women who undergo menopause as a result of a hysterectomy, estrogen is prescribed alone.
What are the Risks of Hormone Therapy?
Generally, the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks for most women. The associated risks depend on the type of HRT that you take, how long you take it, and your health history.
Risks of hormone replacement therapy include:
Breast cancer: There is little risk of breast cancer if you take estrogen-only HRT. Combined HRT can increase the risk of breast cancer slightly. This increased risk depends on how long you take HRT and will decrease after you stop taking it.
Blood clots: When using HRT patches or gels there is no increased risk of blood clots but taking HRT pills can slightly increase the risk of blood clots.
Heart disease and stroke: HRT does not increase the risk of heart disease and stroke when started before the age of 60. It can reduce your risk.
Hormone replacement therapy pills are associated with a small increase in the risk of stroke, but the risk for women under 60 is very low, so overall, the risk is slight.
Are there Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you are unsure about HRT therapy, these lifestyle measures can help reduce menopause symptoms:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Wear loose clothing and sleep in a well-ventilated room if you have hot flashes or night sweats
- Cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food—known hot flash triggers
- Reduce stress levels with yoga or walking
- If you smoke, give up smoking
- Consider other medications
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you are going through menopause or are a man with low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy may be right for you. Come visit our health care team at Impact Med Sun City Center for a personalized hormone treatment plan just for you!
Get relief from hormonal imbalance symptoms. Call Impact Med Sun City Center today—813-938-5195!