What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), sometimes called Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) or Menopausal Hormone Therapy, is synthetic estrogen and progesterone (progestin) designed to replace a woman's depleting hormone levels. As menopause is reached, a woman's body produces less estrogen and progesterone. Decreased levels of these hormones can result in menopausal symptoms including "hot flashes", vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep disorders, and decreased sexual desire. Estrogen and/or Progesterone may be prescribed to help treat these symptoms. these hormones are available in a variety of forms including pills, patches, vaginal creams and vaginal pessaries.
Research has previously shown that hormone replacement therapy may also help to prevent other conditions including osteoporosis, heart disease, short-term memory loss, and depression in post-menopausal women.
Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy commonly involves estrogen and progesterone, however some women are prescribed an estrogen-only therapy
HRT generally takes one of the following forms:
- Cyclic Hormone Therapy is the most commonly prescribed regimen. Estrogen is taken in pill form for 25 days, with progesterone being added between the 10th and 14th days. Both hormones are taken together until the 25th day. During the final 3-5 days, no hormones are taken. Cyclic therapy will cause monthly bleeding.
- Continuous Hormone Therapy (also called combined therapy) involves taking estrogen and progesterone daily. Irregular bleeding may be experienced when beginning continous therapy, however this bleeding usually stops within one year.
- Estrogen Patches slowly release estrogen which is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Patches are usually applied to the abdomen or thigh. Estrogen patches are preferred by some women so that pills do not need to be taken daily.
- Vaginal Cream containing estrogen may be given to women suffering vaginal dryness. The estrogen cream is usually prescribed in addition to one of the other three forms of hormone replacement therapy because the cream may not relieve other menopausal symptoms.
Medications Used In Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Climara - Estrogen Patches available in 50mcg and 100mcg
- Estraderm - Estrogen Replacement Patch available in 50mcg and 100mcg
- Femtran - Estradiol Patch
- Estrofem - Estrogen Tablets
- Premarin - Conjugated Estrogen Tablets
- Progynova - Oestradiol Valerate Tablets
- Ethinylestradiol - synthetic estrogen
- Vagifem - Estrogen Pessaries (vaginal estrogen tablets)
- Depo Provera - Injectable Contraceptive
- Provera - Medroxyprogesterone Estrogens
- Microgest - Micronized Progesterone
Combination HRT (Estrogen + Progesterone)
- Premphase - Cyclical Conjugated Estrogens (0.625mg) and Progesterone (5mg)
- Prempro - Continuous Conjugated Estrogens (0.625mg) and Progesterone (2.5mg or 5mg)
Cyproterone + Estrogen
- Diane 35 ED