Written on December 22, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Hormone replacement therapy is the use of medications containing female hormones. Many people wonder, how does hormone replacement therapy work? Read this article for everything you need to know.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the administration of medication containing female hormones. This is typically used for women who are going through menopause, as they can supplement with additional estrogen and/or progesterone to help manage menopausal symptoms. During menopause, hormone levels shift, and the body can stop making estrogen and progesterone. Using HRT can be helpful for many women during this time to help reduce symptoms like hot flashes and/or vaginal discomfort.
Estrogen is needed for several important functions in the body, including :
Progesterone is needed for several important functions as well, including :
Typically, as some women transition into menopause, they may begin HRT. There are two main types of HRT for women, either estrogen therapy or estrogen and progesterone (progestin hormone therapy) :
HRT works by releasing these different types of hormones into the bloodstream and allowing them to travel to the organs where they are needed. Depending on the mode of administration, these hormones may also be released directly into the tissue. HRT is something that needs to be taken daily in order to remain effective.
Choosing to begin HRT is a personal decision that should be made by a woman and her healthcare provider. HRT may be helpful for some and not needed for others. There are some signs and symptoms to watch out for that may signify that HRT could be helpful, including :
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek care from a healthcare provider. They can help to create a treatment plan to help optimize some of these symptoms and feelings. Generally, if symptoms of menopause are interfering with your ability to have quality of life, are interfering with productivity, or are getting in the way of you enjoying activities of daily living, it is worth discussing HRT or alternative options further with a healthcare provider.
As with any medication, there are benefits and risks. For some women, the benefits of doing HRT may outweigh the risks. Some of these benefits include :
There is some research to indicate that HRT can affect stroke, blood clotting, and cancer risk. A person’s risk depends on many different factors, including the type of hormones taken and the delivery method of these hormones. If you or someone you know is considering HRT, it is always best to consult a qualified healthcare provider for personalized guidance. What might be right for one person may not be right for another.
At Everlywell, we combine the best in modernized, rigorous lab testing with easy-to-access, at-home medicine. We provide a range of blood tests, including several of our women’s health tests, that you can take from the comfort of your home. Your results will be analyzed in CLIA-certified labs and an experienced healthcare provider will deliver your results. Take control of your health and hormonal well-being today with Everlywell.