The Ultimate Guide to Hormone Replacement Therapy

guide to hormone replacement therapy

With age, women and men can experience hormone imbalances. For women, this condition often occurs during menopause, while men can experience andropause, a condition associated with lower levels of the hormones DHEA and testosterone. 

You can develop chronic health issues when you have too much of one hormone and not enough of another. Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy can help treat hormonal imbalances to put an end to the symptoms of menopause and andropause. Keep reading to learn the benefits of hormone replacement therapy and how it works. 

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormones have many roles within our bodies, from regulating our immune system to influencing metabolism, growth and fertility. Hormone replacement therapy uses medical treatment to help balance out the body’s hormones.

As women transition into menopause, their ovaries stop producing high levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These changes can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, depression, headaches, fatigue, weight gain and sleeping difficulties, among others. For men, andropause occurs due to decreased levels of DHEA and testosterone. This imbalance can cause muscle weakness, sexual dysfunction, depression and bone loss. 

Hormone replacement therapy boosts a person’s hormone levels to relieve these symptoms. 

For women, your doctor will likely prescribe combination hormones if you still have a uterus. Pairing estrogen and progesterone can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. When not balanced by progesterone, estrogen alone can stimulate uterine lining growth. If you do not have a uterus, you may not need to take progesterone. 

There are two common types of postmenopausal hormone therapy.  

  • Estrogen therapy: For this type of HRT, you take estrogen as a stand-alone hormone, typically in a low dose as a daily pill or patch. Your doctor might also prescribe you estrogen as a gel, cream or vaginal ring to relieve menopausal symptoms and prevent bone fractures. 
  • Estrogen progesterone/progestin hormone therapy: This HRT combines estrogen and progesterone to reduce cancer risk and treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. 

Doctors might offer men various hormone therapy options, including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, to help them raise their testosterone levels. 

BHRT uses plant matter to create hormones identical to those produced by the human body. Your doctor will typically use these custom-compounded hormones to meet your body’s specific needs. You might even choose an administration method, such as injections, creams, gels, patches and pellet therapy. These natural hormones are similar to synthetic hormones, though typically come with fewer side effects. 

Who Needs Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Older men and women who experience hormonal imbalance could benefit from hormone replacement therapy. It can significantly help healthy men and women who experience symptoms like these. 

  • Menopause complications: Systemic estrogen can relieve the most troublesome menopausal night sweats and hot flashes.  
  • Bone loss or fractures: Older men and women experiencing bone loss or fractures due to a hormonal imbalance can appreciate hormonal therapy to protect against osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease.
  • Early menopause or estrogen deficiency: If you had your ovaries surgically removed before 45 or you stopped having periods before that age, you’ve experienced lower estrogen levels than women with typical menopause. Estrogen therapy can replace much-needed estrogen to decrease your risk of health conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, stroke and mood changes. 
  • Low testosterone: Testosterone replacement therapy can raise the body’s testosterone levels with regular testosterone administration, either topically, orally or by injection, among other forms. For those who have experienced testosterone deficiency due to pituitary gland disease, HRT can also help.

Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

There are several advantages of hormone replacement therapy.  

  • Fewer uncomfortable menopause symptoms
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced risk of developing osteoporosis 
  • Modest improvement in joint pains
  • Enhance libido and diminish erectile dysfunction in men
  • Less risk of fractures or breaking a bone
  • Improved mood and overall sense of mental well-being
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Decreased risk of colon cancer
  • Lower death rate for women who take hormone therapy in their 50s

Several clinical studies have provided evidence that systemic HRT or estrogen with or without progesterone effectively eases unpleasant menopause symptoms to treat the following conditions. These benefits can result in improved sleep, sexual relationships and quality of life:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Bone loss
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Dry or itchy skin
testosterone replacement therapy

Andropause can significantly impact your life, causing physical and emotional stress. In some cases, it can damage your long-term health. Testosterone replacement therapy can alleviate symptoms of andropause and enhance energy and vitality. It might also prevent age-related diseases such as osteoporosis in the long term. 

Testosterone replacement therapy can alleviate the following conditions: 

  • Low energy
  • Low sex drive
  • Inability to build or maintain muscle growth
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability 

How Hormone Replacement Therapy Works

Hormone replacement therapy works by injecting or using a topical cream or another method to replace the body’s lost hormones. These medications contain female or male hormones to treat these hormonal imbalances. HRT is beneficial for those experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause or andropause. 

For women, HRT supplements the body with hormones lost during the menopausal transition. Premature menopause, occurring before a woman is 40, or early menopause — when a woman is 45 — should try HRT until 51, the average age of menopause, to prevent complications. 

These medicines include estrogen and often progesterone components that mimic hormones created in the human ovaries. HRT comes in several forms for women.

  • Estrogen pill: Pills are the most common form of menopausal hormone therapy. You’ll take most pills daily without food to treat menopausal symptoms.
  • Estrogen patch: Wear the estrogen patch on the skin of your stomach. Depending on the dose, some patches need replacing every few days, while you can wear others for up to a week. Combination patches that contain estrogen and progestin are also available. 
  • Topical estrogens: Creams, sprays and gels are another way to get estrogen into your system. The skin absorbs these forms of estrogen treatment and delivers them directly into the bloodstream. Typically, you’ll apply most topical forms of HRT to your arms or legs. 
    Vaginal estrogen: Vaginal estrogen comes in a cream, vaginal estrogen tablet or ring. Generally, these treatments are for women with vaginal dryness, burning, itchiness or pain during intercourse. Dosing schedules vary depending on the product.

For men, your doctor may recommend several testosterone therapy options. 

  • Intramuscular testosterone injections: A health provider can inject this form of hormone treatment into your gluteal muscles every two to three weeks.
  • Testosterone patches: Men can apply these patches daily to their back, buttocks, arms or abdomen. 
  • Topical testosterone gel: You apply gel daily to your arms, shoulders or abdomen, depending on the product.
VIPrivate care hormone replacement therapy

Contact VIPrivate Care for Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Hormone replacement therapy can reduce uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and andropause, making you feel young and healthy again. In the long term, it can also help prevent many age-related diseases. If you’re experiencing menopause or andropause, doctors can assess you and create a customized treatment plan to meet your body’s needs. 

VIPrivate Care delivers high-quality treatments and customized, personal attention to get you in better health. Appreciate world-class, exclusive medical services and comprehensive Executive Health Plans that can help you combat the aging process and feel young again. These services include everything from hormone replacement therapy to regenerative medicine with stem cells and PRP treatment.

To learn more about our health plans, contact us today.