Menopause Home > Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you have hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or other symptoms of menopause, your healthcare provider may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The medicines used in HRT contain estrogen or estrogen with progestin (another hormone). It's important to note that hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of heart attack, blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. Women who use HRT should do so at the lowest dose that produces results, and for the shortest time necessary.

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

There has been considerable discussion recently regarding hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy for menopause is also referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The lower levels of hormones that occur during menopause may lead to:
To help alleviate these problems, some women receive hormone replacement therapy. The medicines used in hormone replacement therapy contain estrogen or estrogen with progestin (another hormone). Hormone replacement therapy works by replacing the natural estrogen your body loses during menopause.
Like all medicines, hormone replacement therapy has risks and benefits. After reading this article, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for more information about this treatment. If you decide to use hormone replacement therapy, use it at the lowest dose possible that provides relief of your menopausal symptoms. Also, only use the therapy as long as needed -- long-term use of hormone replacement therapy can increase the possible risks involved.

Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be beneficial in:
  • Reducing hot flashes
  • Treating vaginal dryness
  • Slowing down bone loss
  • Decreasing mood swings and depression.
Hormone replacement therapy should not be used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, memory loss or Alzheimer's disease. It's also important to know that there are other medicines available to help slow down bone loss.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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