Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) refers to medications that contain hormones meant to replace the ones your body might have stopped naturally producing. HRT most commonly refers to replacing hormones in women. In males, we often refer to replacing testosterone as TRT or testosterone replacement therapy, androgen replacement therapy, or male hypogonadism.

People Affected

Both male and female-identifying patients might undergo hormone replacement therapy. For male-identifying patients, this may be used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone that can be caused by disorders of the testicles, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus. For female-identifying patients, this may be used to treat the symptoms of low estrogen that can be caused by menopause, and it can reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis, colon cancer, and heart disease.

Potential Side Effects

Some common symptoms and side effects of HRT involving estrogen include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Nausea

  • Breast tenderness 

  • Migraine headaches

  • Mood changes

  • Abdominal bloating

Common symptoms of HRT with testosterone can include: 

  • Hoarseness

  • Acne

  • Deepening voice

  • Breast enlargement

  • Mood changes

Medical Experts

Primary Care Physician: Your general doctor might be able to diagnose and treat low testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone by doing a simple blood test or saliva test.

Urologist: Specializing in the treatment of disorders of the male urinary and reproductive systems, urologists can often diagnose and treat symptoms of low testosterone. 

Gynecologist: Specializing in the female reproductive system, gynecologists often are the best type of doctor to treat symptoms associated with menopause or other hormone disorders in female-identifying patients.

Prescription Options

There are two basic types of HRT: Systemic Hormone Therapy and low-dose vaginal products. 

Basic Types of HRT: Systemic Hormone Therapy refers to estrogen that is absorbed throughout the whole body, which comes in a patch, ring, oral tablets, gel, cream, or spray form. Low-dose vaginal products are most commonly used to treat vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause and come in cream or tablet form that is applied or inserted into the vagina. 

Progesterone or progestin is also commonly prescribed alongside estrogen in women who still have their uterus to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. If you’re had your uterus removed (hysterectomy), you may not need to take progesterone.

Other prescription options can include:

  • Depo-Testosterone

  • Testim

  • Androgel

  • Estradiol

  • Estraderm

  • Prometrium

  • Estrace

  • Vivelle-Dot

  • Vagifem

  • Minivelle

  • Provera