How HRT Medication Helps Symptoms of Menopause?

Hormone replacement therapy (The HRT treatment) is a type of treatment that involves taking hormones to prevent or treat certain medical conditions. Common uses for HRT include treating menopause in women and preventing osteoporosis.

The hormones used in HRT are synthetic. This means that they are created in a laboratory (rather than created in the body). Once these hormones are inside the body, they act like natural hormones.

In the past, doctors routinely prescribed HRT. They hoped it could help protect against certain diseases and treat the symptoms of menopause. Diseases that doctors hoped HRT could help prevent included osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. Information from research studies suggests that HRT may not be safe for most women. This means that the risks of using HRT outweigh the benefits. For a few women, the benefits may outweigh the risks. This is why it is important to talk to your doctor about HRT.

The hormones most commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms are estrogen and progesterone. (Progesterone and drugs that work like it are called progestins.) These two hormones are often used together, but some women receive estrogen on its own. Knowing which hormones you are considering taking is important to assess the risks.

Commonly used estrogens to treat menopausal symptoms include conjugated equine estrogens and estradiol, although several other forms or types of estrogens are also available.

Many types of progestins are also available, although medroxyprogesterone acetate is often used with estrogen to treat menopausal symptoms. Some of these preparations contain an estrogen and a progestin.

Androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) are also sometimes used to treat symptoms of menopause. However, this is not very common, and because only a few studies have looked at this treatment, it is not yet clear how safe it is in the long term.

Tibolone is a synthetic hormone that can act like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in different tissues in the body. Because this drug is not available for use in the US, it is not covered in this document.

Hormones can be administered in such a way that they enter the bloodstream and circulate to all parts of the body. This therapy is called systemic hormonal therapy, and it is often used to treat symptoms of menopause. Systemic hormone therapy includes:

Tablets that contain estrogen and progestin together, as well as tablets that contain each drug separately.

Skin patches such as Estradot and Evarol Patches that can be purchased online (they are hormones are absorbed through the skin) that contain estrogen-only and some that contain estrogen plus progestin.

Injections into a muscle or under the skin (not often used to treat symptoms of menopause).

A vaginal ring that delivers a large dose of estrogen to the entire body (vaginal rings most often deliver low doses and are considered a topical therapy. See information below).