Hormone Replacement Therapy

A normal part of aging in females is menopause. Before and after this, the levels of female hormones drop down causing various symptoms. Hormone Replacement Therapy is a substitute to keep a balance of these hormones and reduce the symptoms of menopause.

  • Series of natural changes in a woman's body
  • HRT is the most effective form of treatment

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Hormone Replacement Therapy

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DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is used to relieve undesirable symptoms which could be faced by those suffering due to menopause. All different types of HRTs contain oestrogen and/or progestogen, the two hormones which are naturally produced in the female ovaries. This is to replace the fallen levels of this hormone which will have dropped significantly since starting of menopause.

There are many benefits of the hormone replacement therapy. Many symptoms eventually pass with time. But many women feel unpleasant and therapies can help them reduce their uneasiness. HRT can prevent weakening of the bones which is a common menopause side effect. However, the main reason to use the hormone replacement therapy is that it reduces the menopausal symptoms such as:

  • Night Sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flushes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced sex drive

Talk to your doctor if you wish to take the hormone replacement therapy. This treatment can begin as soon as you start experiencing menopause symptoms. Your doctor will start with a low dose which may be increased later if required. A three month-time period is necessary to check if this therapy works. If it doesn’t, your doctor might change the dose or the type of the therapy.

To learn more about hormone replacement therapy, see the comprehensive patient information leaflet

About Menopause

The menopause is a phase that all women will face at a later point in life. It is a natural process. This happens when the female ovaries stop producing eggs every month and their regular menstrual periods finally come to an end. This stage typically occurs in a woman’s 50's.

The naturally occurring female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, will stop being produced during menopause. The levels of these hormones will gradually drop and as this happens you may start to experience symptoms related to the menopause.

It can take several years for a woman to completely go through menopause. Periods don’t just suddenly halt. They will gradually become less and less frequent until you’ll finally experience the menopause. This can be defined by a woman not experiencing a single period in a whole year.

HRT treatments either involve taking only oestrogen hormone HRT or oestrogen and progestogen both (Combined HRT). The common type amongst the two is the combined HRT. This reduces the chances of womb cancer.

There are different types of hormone replacement therapies. The one that is most suitable for you will be decided by a doctor. This will be based on the main symptoms you are dealing with and your current circumstances.

There are many ways of taking the HRT. However, each has its own benefits and side effects.


Tablet is the most common and the easiest way associated with hormone replacement therapy. Tablets for both oestrogen-only and combined HRT are available. The course is taken once daily. However, the chances of blood clot increase with tablets.

Skin Patches

A skin patch is also another common method. You can stick the patch on your skin and replace them as recommended by the doctor. Patches for both oestrogen-only and combined HRT are available. If you find it difficult to take a tablet every day, patches could be a good replacement.

Oestrogen Gel

The gel is applied to the skin every day. However, with this gel, you would also need a supplement of progestogen assuming you still have your womb in place.


Small pellet-like implants are inserted under your skin around the stomach area. They release oestrogen with time. The implants can stay for several months. For people who do not wish to remember every day dose, this is a convenient option. But you would also need a supplement of progestogen assuming you still have your womb in place. However, this is not a very common way used.

Vaginal Oestrogen

Vaginal oestrogen is placed inside the vagina in different forms: cream, ring, or pessary. This also reduces the vaginal dryness caused due to HRT. Vaginal oestrogen can be taken without supplementing it with progestogen even if you have the womb in place.

There are different types of HRT treatments. A doctor can decide the best for you based on your symptoms of menopause. There can be sequential HRT or continuous HRT.

Sequential HRT

Sequential HRT is also known as cyclical HRT. This is usually recommended for women who are in their early stages of menopause. They have menopause symptoms but also have their periods. There are two types of cyclical HRT: Monthly HRT and Three-Monthly HRT.

Monthly HRT is recommended for women with regular periods. In this therapy, you take oestrogen every day including progestogen for the last 14 days of your menstrual cycle.

Three-Monthly HRT is recommended for women with irregular periods. In this therapy, you take oestrogen every day including progestogen for around 14 days every three months. This therapy helps to maintain regular periods. Hence, you can analyse menopause better.

Continuous HRT

Continuous HRT is usually recommended for women who are post-menopausal. This indicates those women who have not had their periods for about a year. In continuous HRT you have to take oestrogen and progestogen once daily without any breaks.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!

Is hormone therapy safe?

YES. If treatment is provided correctly and monitored regularly, then it should not only be safe but could also provide health benefits related to rebalancing the hormone levels to a normal state.

How long could you potentially be on HRT treatment?

It would be extremely difficult to work out the mean amount of time. Everyone’s body responds differently to menopause. A low dose treatment is an optimal way to deal with HRT as it limits the potential risk of breast cancer and heart disease. On average, using HRT course for up to 5 years would be completely safe.

How do the hormones get replaced?

This simply refers to your hormone levels returning to their natural level of balance. This is achieved through the careful application of oral, sub-lingual and topical cream treatments.

What other methods can I take to ease menopause symptoms?

There are several methods you can take yourself to help relieve certain symptoms such as insomnia, lost libido, and vaginal dryness. There are several lifestyle changes you can improve such as engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet and even practising calming/relaxation techniques. If you are a regular smoker or drinker, be aware that this can lead to experiencing menopausal symptoms at a much earlier age. The use of lubricants can greatly help resolve cases of vaginal dryness.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!