Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by organs, glands, or special cells and carried through the bloodstream. It is the role of hormones to regulate the activity of particular organs. As women age, their hormone levels fluctuate, potentially causing a host of unpleasant symptoms that are typically associated with menopause and range from hot flashes to insomnia.
As levels of the estrogen hormone decrease, many women turn to a treatment known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Although HRT can help balance a woman's hormone levels, particularly during menopause, it usually produces unpleasant side effects. To learn more about HRT and how it works, keep reading below.
What Is HRT?
After menopause, the ovaries cease estrogen production, oftentimes resulting in uncomfortable symptoms. HRT is a way of addressing this natural deficiency and combating problematic symptoms.
HRT introduces outside hormones into the body when natural hormone production decreases. Estrogen, though sometimes combined with progesterone, is the hormone most often used in HRT.
Types of HRT
Hormone replacement therapy can involve one or more hormones. It is prescribed either to counteract the effects of menopause or as birth control (for younger women). HRT comes in a variety of forms and can be natural or synthetic.
There are various types of HRT:
Combined HRT. This involves taking more than one hormone simultaneously. Estrogen and progesterone are the most common combination.
Continuous Combined HRT. This is the practice of taking two or more hormones simultaneously with no breaks. Women on continuous combined HRT will not usually experience a monthly period.
Natural HRT. This uses hormones that are synthesized from natural sources. However, this doesn't mean that human hormones are used oftentimes; the estrogen used in natural HRT is taken from the urine of pregnant mares.
Synthetic HRT. Patients receive chemically synthesized, rather than organic, hormones. Substances such as dienoestrol, ethinyloestradiol, and mestranol all are examples of synthetic hormones.
Each type of HRT poses risks and side effects. HRT has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Fortunately, there are alternative treatments available.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Products
HRT is a treatment used widely to counteract many menopause symptoms. No matter if it's bioidentical HRT or synthesized HRT, women can find a range of HRT presentations, giving them a choice according to their different habits and preferences. Such forms are:
- Implants (which can be put under the skin)
- Nasal spray
- Vaginal ring
Choosing the best HRT presentation for a woman's needs and lifestyle is essential. Follow the link to get a better idea of Forms of HRT.
Now that hormone replacement therapy has been explained, go to common hormones for replacement therapy to keep learning.