Skip to Main Content

Notice of Data Security Incident. Learn more  |  Schedule certain appointments online. Get started

Hormone Replacement Therapy

During menopause, estrogen levels fluctuate and then drop, causing unpleasant symptoms that include hot flashes, painful sex and mood swings. This life stage also increases the risk of certain cancers and other chronic conditions. Hormone replacement therapy regulates estrogen levels to help keep your health in check. 

At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, you receive personalized therapies from a team that cares about you as an individual. We determine the appropriate option for your needs and carefully monitor your response. If you cannot be on hormones, we can still help you. Our experts coordinate medications and other therapies to optimize your wellness.

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy (also known as menopausal hormone therapy) regulates estrogen levels. Some people need progesterone or progestin as well. Progestin is a synthetic version of progesterone. Maintaining the appropriate hormone levels eases menopause symptoms. Your hormone needs change over time, so it’s essential to seek care from trusted providers like ours.

Hormone replacement therapy: Why choose us?

You receive services from gynecologists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners who follow the latest hormone therapy research. This knowledge leads to care that lowers your risk of side effects and complications. We recommend the appropriate type of hormone therapy in the correct dose and tailor it to meet your needs.

Highlights of our program include: 

  • Personalized approach: We take time to learn about your health history and preferences. If menopause symptoms are mild, you may benefit from low-dose hormone therapy. People facing a higher risk of cancer may consider nonhormonal options, including medications used for other health conditions.
  • Holistic care: Menopausal hormone therapy is one of the many ways we provide exceptional midlife care. We also detect and treat other health concerns during menopause, like vaginal dryness and low libido. Providers coordinate with other specialists as necessary for efficient care that optimizes your well-being.
  • Convenience: We are in clinic locations throughout the Puget Sound, making it easier to access hormone replacement therapy. Many of our providers offer online appointment scheduling so you can make an appointment without picking up the phone. Browse providers offering online scheduling.

Menopausal hormone therapy: What to expect

We perform a comprehensive exam to learn more about your hormone replacement therapy needs. First, our experts review your personal and family history of chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, blood clots and osteoporosis. It’s also important to know whether you’ve had a hysterectomy. 

Next, our providers discuss hormone therapy’s potential risks, including heart disease, blood clots, and breast or uterine cancer. We explain your risk factors and answer all your questions so you feel confident about your care. Our providers also monitor your response and make changes as necessary to ensure you have a safe experience.

Hormone replacement therapy options

There are many ways to take hormones. Your plan may include pills, skin patches, gels, creams or vaginal rings. You may need to take them every day or only on certain days of your cycle. Menopausal hormone therapy may include:

  • Systemic estrogen relieves a broad range of menopausal symptoms. It uses high doses of hormones that travel throughout the body. As you move through menopause and symptoms subside, we adjust therapy to manage cancer risks. Adjustments may involve reducing the dose or switching to a different type of hormone.

  • Low-dose estrogen is for vaginal or urinary symptoms. It involves more direct delivery methods like creams and vaginal rings. It’s safe to be on low-dose estrogen therapy for the rest of your life.

  • Combination hormone replacement therapy, which includes estrogen and progesterone (or progestin), helps people who have had a hysterectomy. Progestin prevents cell activity that raises the risk of uterine cancer.

We typically recommend coming back each year so we can re-evaluate your plan and change the dose or type of hormone if necessary. If you have questions between appointments, we are easy to reach. Call your provider or send a secure message through MyChart or MyVirginiaMason.

Nonhormonal therapies

Some people cannot take hormones due to health risks, such as cancer and blood clots. In other people, the side effects are too much to bear. Our team can still help you with nonhormonal therapies. 

The option that’s right for you depends on your medical needs. You may benefit from:

  • Antidepressants for mood swings 
  • Dietary supplements to ease hot flashes
  • Over-the-counter sleep aids for insomnia
  • Lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease 
  • Lubricants for vaginal dryness
  • Medications that fight bone loss

Schedule an appointment

Find out more about our gynecology services in the Puget Sound area or make an appointment.