Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is a broad term for several different therapies designed to treat conditions caused or exacerbated by depleted or imbalanced levels of certain hormones. By replacing hormones and restoring hormonal balances to normal levels, HRT can help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for people experiencing side effects of:
- Low testosterone
What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
BHRT—often referred to as pellet therapy—is a specific type of HRT that uses synthetic hormones derived from plants and structured to resemble the body’s naturally-produced version as closely as possible. The hormones are delivered via a tiny rice-sized pellet placed under the skin and dissolve into the bloodstream.
Why would someone need hormone replacement therapy?
Hormones are chemical “messengers” produced by the endocrine glands that tell different body parts how to work. As we age, hormone levels naturally decrease, slowing the production of sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. While normal, this decline can lead to an imbalance of hormones that produces side effects ranging from weight gain, low energy, and fatigue to problems sleeping, mood changes, memory loss, and low libido.
Increasing the levels of certain hormones can help improve these symptoms and lessen their impact on your daily life.
How does hormone replacement therapy work?
Hormone replacement therapy delivers the identified hormone(s) into the bloodstream via a pill, patch, gel, spray, injection, vaginal ring, or pellet.
HRT aims to return declining hormone levels to a more normal range and relieve symptoms with the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time. While taking HRT, patients will often take routine blood, saliva, or urine tests to monitor their hormone levels.
Who should take hormone replacement therapy?
HRT can be an effective treatment for both men and women experiencing the effects of declining hormone levels.
Hormone replacement therapy for men
Just as women experience menopause and a decline in estrogen, men also undergo a decline in hormone production (testosterone), albeit usually a slower and more subtle one. Testosterone deficiency in men can lead to a host of symptoms often simply attributed to aging, such as:
- Disturbed sleep
- Low sperm count
- Slow wound healing
- Irritability, memory impairment, or decrease in mental sharpness
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
- Weakness and reduced muscle mass
- Weight gain
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries and a precursor to heart attack or stroke)
- Reduced libido and difficulty maintaining erections
- Fatigue or decrease in physical stamina
Hormone replacement therapy for men primarily consists of testosterone replacement. Replacing falling levels of testosterone to restore and maintain hormonal balance can help improve:
- Muscle mass
- Bone density
- Psychological well-being and mood
- Red blood cell production
- Facial and body hair production
Hormone replacement therapy for women
For women, a decline in estrogen is associated with the onset of menopause or perimenopause.
Increasing estrogen levels with HRT can significantly impact the frequency and intensity of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. It can also ease vaginal dryness and itching—making sex less painful—and increase libido. For many women, HRT may help reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent fractures caused by osteoporosis, and lower the chances of developing dementia.
There are two basic types of HRT for women, estrogen therapy and combination therapy.
It uses only estrogen to treat symptoms of menopause in women that develop after a hysterectomy or hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which removes the uterus along with the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
combines estrogen and progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone. Progesterone is usually used as a form of birth control and can also help treat menopause symptoms. Combined with estrogen, it can lower the risk for endometrial cancer better than estrogen alone, making it ideal for women who still have their uterus.
Is hormone replacement therapy right for me?
If you are a woman, hormone replacement therapy may be right for you if you:
- Have gone through menopause in or before your mid-40s
- Have had a sudden change in your reproductive health, such as from ovarian surgery or a hysterectomy
- Are experiencing severe menopause symptoms
If you are a man, hormone replacement therapy may be right for you if you:
- Have low levels of testosterone (less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL))
- Are experiencing severe symptoms of testosterone deficiency
- Have no heart issues or sleeping disorders
Hormone Replacement Therapy Solutions at The Hormone Zone
Hormone replacement therapy is just one of the ways The Hormone Zone helps you take control of your health and optimize your body’s performance as you age. From personalized weight loss programs and IV nutrition to aesthetic medicine and sexual wellness, we combine the best in cutting-edge medicine and proven naturopathic treatments to produce real, sustainable results.
Unlike other “pellet practices,” the physicians at The Hormone Zone take a more comprehensive approach to your health, simultaneously treating all seven of the main zones of hormone imbalance. By finding the optimal balance of hormones across all of your body’s systems, we can produce better results in everything from healing and recovery to regeneration and rejuvenation.