How Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Helps Women Through Menopause

Apr 14, 2023
How Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Helps Women Through Menopause
Hormones are your body’s messengers, and an optimal balance of hormones keeps your body functioning properly. During menopause, your hormones can become unbalanced. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be a solution to some of your worst symptoms.

Hormones exist everywhere throughout your body, and they affect all of your systems. Your blood pressure, circadian rhythm, heart rate, hair growth, libido, and your metabolism, among many biological processes, are all dependent on hormones. 

Even a small hormonal imbalance can cause big issues, and there’s nothing small about the imbalance women experience as they approach menopause. Elyssa Blissenback, MD, and Lea-Anne Griffis, APRN, and their team talk to women who come to Northeast Florida Internal Medicine with menopause symptoms about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It’s often an appropriate treatment for managing the uncomfortable, disruptive symptoms that affect the lives of so many women. 

The symptoms

Menopause is one day — the day one year from your last menstrual period. The time most women experience what we call “the symptoms of menopause” is actually perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause. Some women have those symptoms for as long as 10 years. 

As you go through perimenopause, your body produces less estrogen and progesterone. That hormonal decline is associated with numerous symptoms, some more well-known than others. Common symptoms include: 

  • Vasomotor symptoms - hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness, irritation, infections
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering 
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Urinary tract issues
  • Changes in how you feel about sex

These symptoms can make it difficult to do normal, daily activities. How do you manage a hot flash when you’re doing a presentation at work? Incontinence may prevent you from attending social events. Your relationships may suffer. Poor sleep can lead to a cascade of other health issues. 

Depending on your medical history and other factors, HRT may be a good way for you to navigate the difficulties of perimenopause. 

Types of HRT

There are different types and delivery methods for HRT. The two broad types are estrogen therapy or combination therapy, which includes both estrogen and a synthetic form of progesterone, called progestin. 

Estrogen therapy

Estrogen pills are the most common type of HRT. Most of the time, it’s a once a day pill that you should take without food. There are different types of estrogen pills and our team always carefully discusses your options. 


Estrogen patches are common as well. You wear the patch on your abdomen, and how often you change it depends on your dosing schedule. 

Topical applications

Creams, gels, and sprays that are applied directly to your skin are another option for HRT. Where you apply the topical solution and how often depend on the brand and dosage. 

Vaginal estrogen

Delivered through a cream, a vaginal ring, or a tablet, vaginal estrogen is usually used to treat vaginal dryness specifically. When and how often you use the product depends on your dose and the product in question. 

Combination therapy

Traditional oral birth control is a type of combination therapy, but it can also be used to mitigate the symptoms you feel during perimenopause. It may also help reduce the likelihood of developing cancer of the endometrium. Combination therapy may be delivered through a pill or via an intrauterine device (IUD). 

Talk to an expert

You don’t have to just live with uncomfortable symptoms. Not everyone is a candidate for HRT, but why not find out if it could be right for you? 

Schedule your appointment at Northeast Florida Internal Medicine today and discuss your options with a highly qualified provider.