Hormone replacement therapy

Pelvis | Endocrinology and Metabolism | Hormone replacement therapy (Disease)


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is medication containing one or more female hormones, commonly estrogen plus progestin (synthetic progesterone). Some women receive estrogen-only therapy (usually women who have had their uterus removed).

HRT is most often used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep disorders, and decreased sexual desire. This medication may be taken in the form of a pill, a patch, or vaginal cream.


Based on early studies, many physicians used to believe that HRT might be beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease and bone fractures caused by osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) in addition to treating menopausal symptoms. The results of a new study, called the Womens Health Initiative (WHI), has led physicians to revise their recommendations regarding HRT.

Most women experience relief from the hot flashes, sleep difficulties, and vaginal dryness within a few weeks of taking HRT. Short-term use (2-4 years) of HRT to treat the symptoms of menopause still appears to be safe at this time. Usually, hot flashes and night sweats are less severe after a couple of years - especially if HRT is tapered gradually.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a system of medical treatment for surgically menopausal, transgender, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. It is based on the idea that the treatment may prevent discomfort caused by diminished circulating oestrogen and progesterone hormones, and in the case of the surgically or prematurely menopausal, that it may prolong life and may reduce incidence of dementia.

HRT involves the use of one or more of a group of medications designed to artificially boost hormone levels. The main types of hormones involved are oestrogens, progesterone or progestins, and less commonly, testosterone. It often referred to as treatment rather than therapy. ...