Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

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Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help you find relief from menopause symptoms. Night sweats, hot flashes, and sleep issues can make you miserable. You may even have issues urinating and having sex. Hoping the symptoms go away doesn't work. Sometimes lifestyle changes don't work, either.

Menopause doesn't have to take over your life. HRT can give your body the boost you need to feel healthy and vibrant again.

UVA Experts in Hormone Replacement Therapy

At UVA, you can see nationally known specialists in HRT for menopause. We have up-to-date expertise in the latest medication options. You'll get care and treatment customized to your concerns, your needs, and your body. 

Learn more about our midlife health experts.

Understanding HRT

Hormone Replacement Therapy which can help women find relief for a number of menopausal symptoms when lifestyle changes don't work. View hormone replacement therapy transcript.

What is HRT?

HRT treats menopause symptoms by returning hormones to your body. A range of hormone therapies exist that can:

  • Restore a healthy vaginal environment, increasing bloodflow and moisture
  • Improve mood, sleep, and sexual relations
  • Lower urinary tract infections by reducing bacterial growth
  • Prevent bone loss

Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Some HRT goes on your skin. Other therapy types infuse your whole body. Different forms of HRT include:

  • Pill
  • Patch
  • Spray
  • Gel 
  • Ring
  • Cream

The type of hormone, dosage, duration treatment method depends on your symptoms and health risks. Your provider will need to adjust your prescription as your healthcare needs change.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Drugs

Whether or not you've had a hysterectomy to remove your uterus determines the type of hormone you can safely use.

We offer therapies that include:

  • Estrogen therapy (ET) treats hot flashes in women without a uterus
  • Estrogen progestogen therapy (EPT) helps women with a uterus who need relief from menopausal symptoms along with protection from uterine cancer
  • Estrogen with SERM, a non-hormonal compound, helps reduce hot flashes in women with a uterus while protecting the uterus and preventing bone loss
  • Progestogen or progestin alone can provide treatment for women who can't take estrogen
  • Estrogen-progestin birth control pills can offer hot flash relief
  • Low-dose vaginal estrogen applied topically or locally can reduce vaginal dryness and atrophy

HRT can also ease genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), a collection of symptoms involving the vagina, labia, clitoris, urethra, and bladder.

Precautions While Taking HRT    

Long-term use of HRT may significantly increase a woman's risks of: Blood clots, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, endometrial cancer, strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, ovarian cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

If you've had cancer or certain other conditions, certain hormone treatments may not be advisable. Talk to your doctor.

Possible Side Effects    

The following side effects may disappear over time as your body adjusts to taking HRT:

  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Return of monthly periods
  • Swelling of feet and lower legs
  • Rapid weight gain