Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)


This treatment involves using synthetic or natural hormones to replace the hormones a woman’s body no longer makes after menopause. Hormones can be given through pills, skin creams or gels, or through patches placed on the skin. Hormones can also be delivered through vaginal creams, rings and tablets.

Effects of Menopause on the Body

The hormones estrogen and progesterone regulate the thickening of the uterine lining that is part of a woman’s monthly ovulation cycle. At menopause, the ovaries produce lower levels of these hormones. When hormone levels drop, women can experience hot flashes, loss of sex drive, sleeplessness, fatigue, and mood swings. They may have vaginal dryness, night sweats and itchy skin.

Osteoporosis After Menopause

Estrogen also plays a role in calcium absorption. Calcium is essential for keeping bones strong. After menopause, lower levels of estrogen make it difficult for a woman to absorb enough calcium. This raises a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Osteoporosis increases a woman’s risk for bone fractures.

Benefits of Hormone Replacement

Hormone replacement therapy can counteract the loss of natural hormones and reduce the symptoms of menopause. The decision regarding hormone use will depend on a woman’s symptoms, health history and family history. A physician can tailor an individual therapy plan for each patient.