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5 Common Myths About Female HRT

Female hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn’t new. It’s been around for decades and has been widely prescribed and recognized as a standard treatment for menopausal symptoms since the 1960s.

However, you’ve probably noticed a surge in people talking about it in recent years. This is likely due to there being less of a stigma surrounding menopause, social media, advancements in HRT formulations, and more specialized medical clinics opening that focus on HRT. 

Awareness is a good thing. We love that people are talking about HRT and that women are doing their research and considering their options. What we don’t love is that much of what’s being said about HRT isn’t true.

This false information is leading many women to believe HRT will give them manly features or is dangerous, so they write it off and endure the unnecessary side effects associated with unbalanced or depleted hormones.

If you’re considering hormone replacement therapy, it’s important to distinguish fact from fiction.

At Relive Health, we specialize in hormone therapy for women. In this article, we hope to clear up common myths about female HRT and provide accurate information about hormone replacement therapy so you can make informed decisions about your health. 

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women 

Female Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment designed to help supplement or replace hormones that decline for various reasons. In women, HRT is most commonly used during menopause but can also be used in many other scenarios where a woman is experiencing hormonal imbalance.

Female HRT typically involves estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, or a combination of these hormones. The goal is to restore natural hormonal balance in the body, which in turn alleviates symptoms associated with hormonal fluctuations, such as weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, decreased libido, and more.

Studies also show that HRT may also help prevent or manage certain health conditions, including osteoporosis and heart disease.

How Does HRT for Women Work?

When hormone levels drop or become unbalanced, they don’t commonly return to an optimal state on their own. HRT is the most effective way to quickly replenish and rebalance hormones that the body may not be producing.

When administered, typically via injections, pills, or creams, the bioidentical or synthetic hormones enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, helping to replenish depleted hormones and restore balance. Once hormones are back into a healthy range and balanced, not only will your symptoms improve, but you can also prevent potential long-term health consequences.

Female HRT is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What your friend did to balance her hormones might not be what a hormone expert suggests that you do. An experienced HRT provider needs to review your past medical history and current symptoms, order blood work, and discuss your goals to ensure that your hormone therapy can fit your unique needs. Monitoring and adjustments may be necessary along the way as a safe and effective treatment.

What Hormonal Changes Do Women Experience?

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the primary hormones that regulate numerous functions in a woman’s body. From estrogen’s management of the menstrual cycle to progesterone’s support for reproductive health and testosterone’s role in libido, energy levels, and muscle strength, these three hormones are essential for a woman’s overall vitality.

When even one is out of balance, it can disrupt the entire endocrine system (your body’s hormone messaging network), leading to a cascade of adverse effects. Let’s take a closer look at what each hormone does and why they should always be within the optimal range:


Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, regulates the menstrual cycle and is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and cardiovascular health. Estrogen levels naturally decline during menopause, but they can also drop due to other factors such as other hormonal imbalances, certain medical conditions, and the surgical removal of the ovaries.

Low estrogen levels can result in hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Estrogen replacement therapy can restore balance, help alleviate these symptoms, and reduce the risk of conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.


Progesterone, often called the “pregnancy hormone,” is pivotal for reproductive health. It has been shown to have protective effects on the nervous system, promoting a sense of calm and improving sleep quality. Additionally, progesterone contributes to bone health, regulates blood sugar levels, and may offer protection against certain cancers, including endometrial cancer.

When progesterone levels are low, females may experience symptoms such as irregular menstruation, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. HRT can help replenish progesterone levels, addressing hormonal imbalances and potentially alleviating associated symptoms. 


While testosterone is traditionally associated with being a “male hormone,” it is also crucial for a woman’s health. Testosterone contributes to women’s libido, energy levels, muscle strength, and overall well-being. Females need testosterone, too, just in smaller amounts compared to men.

When testosterone levels are low in women, it can lead to various symptoms, such as decreased libido, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, mood changes, and brain fog. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can help address these symptoms by restoring testosterone levels to a more optimal range, leading to increased sexual desire and satisfaction, higher energy levels, more calorie-burning lean muscle mass, a more stabilized mood, and enhanced cognitive function.

Common Myths About Female Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

HRT has become very popular in recent years for both men and women. It is highly praised by most researchers and medical experts, but some sling dirt on HRT. Despite its proven effectiveness and safety record, differing opinions create many misconceptions surrounding HRT, especially for females, leaving many to question the safety and benefits of HRT.

Here are five of the most common myths we see floating around about female HRT:

Myth 1: HRT is Dangerous

Critics of HRT often claim HRT poses significant health risks, including an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, blood clots, heart problems, and ovarian cysts. Numerous studies have debunked these claims, demonstrating that HRT is safe when used appropriately.

For example, large-scale research studies, such as the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), have shown that when HRT is administered under proper medical supervision and tailored to individual needs, the risks associated with HRT are minimal.

In fact, HRT has been found to have various health benefits, including reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improving cardiovascular health, and enhancing the overall quality of life for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Additionally, leaving hormones unbalanced or depleted can pose significant health risks that outweigh any potential risks associated with female HRT. Untreated hormonal imbalances can lead to various health issues, including increased risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and mood disorders.

By addressing hormonal imbalances through HRT under the guidance of a healthcare provider, women can mitigate these risks and enhance their overall health and well-being. 

Myth 2: HRT Causes Weight Gain

Some people fear that introducing exogenous hormones through HRT may disrupt the body’s natural balance and result in unwanted weight gain. However, research suggests otherwise. Several studies have demonstrated that HRT can actually lead to weight loss and better weight management. 

By restoring hormonal balance through HRT, research shows that women can experience improved metabolism, energy levels, and body composition, ultimately leading to weight loss or, at the very least, preventing weight gain.

Furthermore, any initial weight gain experienced by some women after starting HRT is typically water weight, not fat accumulation. As the body adjusts to the hormonal changes induced by HRT, the water retention usually goes away, and the scale will go down. Additionally, the positive effects of HRT on mood, energy levels, and overall well-being can support adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviors, further facilitating weight management.

Bottom line: Concerns about weight gain should not deter women from considering HRT. Evidence suggests that HRT can actually promote weight loss and better weight management by addressing hormonal imbalances and supporting overall health.

Myth 3: Female HRT is Only Used to Treat Menopause 

While menopause is a common reason why women seek HRT, it’s important to dispel the myth that this is its sole purpose. In reality, HRT can be beneficial for a variety of conditions and situations beyond menopause


One significant application of HRT is in the management of hormonal imbalances caused by conditions such as premature ovarian failure or surgical removal of the ovaries. In these cases, HRT can help replace the hormones the body is no longer producing in sufficient quantities, alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life.

Additionally, HRT may be prescribed to address health concerns such as certain types of infertility, endometriosis, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some individuals may also undergo HRT as part of gender-affirming therapy. In these cases, HRT is used to align secondary sexual characteristics with gender identity and improve overall well-being.

While menopause is the most common use for female HRT, it has many other applications besides this stage of life. If you are experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, you should talk to a hormone specialist about HRT use for your unique needs and circumstances.

Myth 4: There is Only Form and Delivery Method of Female HRT

One common misconception is that HRT for women consists solely of estrogen supplementation. 

While estrogen replacement is the backbone of HRT, several types of hormones can be used in HRT for women, and there are many hormone combinations and formulations that can be tailored to a woman’s individual needs.

In addition to estrogen, other hormones commonly in use in HRT for women include progesterone and testosterone. Progesterone is often prescribed alongside estrogen to protect the uterine lining and reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia. Testosterone, while primarily a male hormone, also plays a role in women’s health and may be included in HRT to address symptoms such as low libido and reduced muscle mass.

Another myth is that injections are the only primary and preferred form of HRT for women. While injections are a popular option for administering HRT, hormones can be administered using other forms as well. HRT can be given orally (by mouth), transdermally through patches or creams, or vaginally (via rings or creams.)

Each delivery method has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice of which form to use depends on individual preferences, convenience, absorption rates, and medical considerations.

Myth 5: Natural Hormone Supplements are Safer and Just as Effective 

Some believe that natural hormone supplements are safer and equally as effective as conventional HRT. While natural supplements may seem appealing due to their perceived “natural” origin, they are not necessarily safer and certainly aren’t the gold standard for replenishing hormone levels. 

First, the natural label on a hormone supplement can be misleading. Just because a supplement company claims a product is “natural” doesn’t mean it is safe. Most natural supplements are not regulated to the same extent as pharmaceutical drugs, which means they could differ in quality, purity, and concentration between different products. Like any medication or supplement, natural hormone supplements carry potential risks and may interact with other drugs or underlying health conditions.

Second, even if natural supplements are safe, they are unlikely to provide the precise dosing or customized hormone combinations required to effectively address individual hormone imbalances. 

It’s crucial for women considering hormone therapy to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks of both conventional HRT and natural supplements. 

Benefits of Female HRT

For women who suffer from hormone imbalances, particularly women in menopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women provides a long list of benefits. These benefits go beyond symptom relief. HRT can improve a woman’s general health and overall sense of well-being, both physical and emotional. 

Here are a few of the benefits of HRT for women:

Symptom Relief

Once your hormones are balanced, your body can function more efficiently and effectively. HRT is very effective in reducing the bothersome symptoms associated with hormonal decline and imbalance. By restoring hormonal balance, HRT may decrease or even alleviate your symptoms, improving comfort and quality of life.

Bone Health

Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density, so if your estrogen levels are low, you are at a much higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. HRT helps preserve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and lowering the likelihood of bone-related complications and fractures.

Cardiovascular Health

Estrogen levels are also known to impact your cardiovascular health, assisting in keeping blood vessels healthy and aiding in lipid metabolism. HRT can help maintain cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, particularly in women at increased risk due to hormonal changes associated with menopause.

Cognitive Function

Hormonal declines are said to impair cognitive function and increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. HRT can help maintain cognitive function and lower the risk of cognitive impairment, resulting in better maintenance of memory and attention and improved overall mental performance.

Sexual Health

Declining hormone levels are the primary cause of low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and sexual discomfort. HRT can restore depleted hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, leading to improved sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction. 

Emotional Well-being

Hormonal fluctuations can contribute to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression. HRT may help stabilize mood and improve overall emotional well-being.

Quality of Life

By addressing hormonal imbalances and alleviating menopausal symptoms, HRT can significantly enhance overall quality of life for women, allowing them to remain active, engaged, and productive in their daily lives.

When Should a Woman Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) 

While menopause is the most common reason why women seek HRT, other situations may prompt consideration of hormone therapy.

Here are some scenarios in which you should consider female HRT:

Menopause Transition

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and typically occurs around 45 to 55. As hormone levels fluctuate and decline during this transition, most women experience negative symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances. 

For women experiencing bothersome menopausal symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life, HRT can provide effective symptom relief and improve overall well-being.

Premature Menopause

Some women may go through premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). Entering menopause early can be caused by various factors, including genetic conditions, autoimmune diseases, ovarian surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or certain lifestyle factors like excessive exercise or eating disorders.

Women with premature menopause may benefit from HRT to manage symptoms and mitigate the long-term health consequences of estrogen deficiency.


Surgical removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) can induce menopause abruptly, leading to a sudden decline in hormone levels and the onset of menopausal symptoms.

Women experiencing menopause following a hysterectomy may benefit from HRT to alleviate symptoms and prevent adverse health outcomes associated with estrogen deficiency, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may experience hormonal imbalances characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen production, and ovarian cysts.

HRT may be considered to regulate menstrual cycles, manage symptoms such as acne and hirsutism, and improve overall hormonal balance.


Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, often leading to pelvic pain, irregular bleeding, and infertility. 

HRT may be used in the management of endometriosis. However, its use is typically limited to specific cases and may require careful monitoring by a healthcare provider.

Low Sex Drive

Many women have a low sex drive due to hormonal imbalances, particularly during menopause. HRT may be prescribed to address low sex drive by restoring hormonal balance and enhancing sexual desire and arousal. However, it’s essential to discuss any concerns about libido with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment approach.

Extreme Dieting or Overtraining

Extreme dieting and overtraining (most common in the bodybuilding industry) can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to irregular menstrual cycles, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and other hormonal imbalances.

In these cases, HRT may be considered to help regulate hormone levels. However, it is important to address underlying issues related to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits in conjunction with hormone therapy to promote overall health and well-being.

When Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms are Present

There are signs of hormonal imbalance that may not be due to a medical condition but still warrant consideration of HRT. 

These symptoms can vary widely and may include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Hair loss
  • Cognitive changes

If a woman experiences persistent or severe symptoms suggestive of hormonal imbalance, you should see a hormone specialist for blood tests to assess hormone levels and determine the appropriateness of HRT.

FAQs about Female HRT

Does HRT have any negative side effects?

While HRT has many benefits, it can also carry minor side effects. These can include breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, and nausea. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Can you take HRT after a hysterectomy?

Yes, women who have undergone a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) can benefit from HRT, particularly if the ovaries are also removed. Your healthcare provider can determine the most appropriate treatment approach based on your individual circumstances.

Can you get pregnant while on HRT?

No, HRT is not a form of contraception. Women should use appropriate birth control methods if pregnancy is not desired, especially if they are still experiencing menstrual cycles.

Can you take HRT for the rest of my life?

The duration of HRT varies for each woman. How long you are on HRT depends on factors such as age, health status, and treatment goals. Some women use HRT for a short period to manage menopausal symptoms, while others may require long-term treatment to address ongoing hormonal imbalances.

Does HRT make you infertile?

No, HRT does not make you infertile. However, women who have reached menopause naturally (without surgery) are no longer fertile, and HRT does not restore fertility.

Can you take HRT if you have heart disease?

If you have heart disease, the decision to use female HRT should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider. While HRT may offer cardiovascular benefits for some women, it may also pose risks for others, particularly those with pre-existing heart conditions.

Can HRT help me lose weight?

Yes! HRT can lead to improvements in metabolism and body composition if the root cause of your weight gain is hormone imbalance. However, if your hormones are not the root cause of your weight gain and you aren’t losing weight despite diet and exercise, it might be worth looking into other medical weight loss solutions, such as semaglutide.

How long does it take for HRT to work?

The time it takes to experience the effects of HRT can vary depending on individual factors such as the type of therapy, dosage, and specific symptoms being addressed. While some women may notice improvements in symptoms within a few weeks of starting treatment, others may require several months to achieve optimal results.

If you aren’t getting the results you think you should, you should talk with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized guidance and adjustments to your treatment plan. 

Can I stop HRT cold turkey?

It’s generally not recommended to stop HRT abruptly without consulting your healthcare provider. Suddenly discontinuing HRT can lead to the return of symptoms and may also have other potential health implications.

If you no longer want to utilize HRT, your healthcare provider can work with you to develop a plan for tapering off HRT gradually. This approach can help minimize potential withdrawal symptoms and ensure a smooth transition.

How often do I need to see my healthcare provider while on HRT?

The frequency of follow-up appointments and monitoring while on HRT can vary depending on individual factors such as your overall health, the type of therapy, and any specific concerns or side effects you may experience.

Your healthcare provider will typically schedule regular follow-up appointments and blood work to assess your response to treatment, monitor hormone levels, and address any questions or concerns you may have. It’s important to attend these appointments as scheduled to ensure the effectiveness and safety of your treatment plan.

Where to Get Female Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Near Me 

While your primary care physician or OB/GYN may offer basic hormone testing and be able to prescribe HRT, there’s no substitute for the expertise of a specialized hormone therapy clinic.

 At Relive Health, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive hormone therapy solutions tailored to your individual needs. With clinics across the United States, we offer accessible and expert HRT to women everywhere.

Our hormone therapy process begins with a thorough assessment of your hormonal levels through our advanced 52-panel blood analysis and body composition analysis. This in-depth evaluation allows us to pinpoint your exact hormonal needs and tailor a treatment plan specifically for you.

Once your testing is complete, you’ll have a one-on-one consultation to discuss your comprehensive pathway to hormonal balance and better health. From there, our team will be with you every step of the way, guiding you through your treatment journey and ensuring that you feel supported and empowered along the path to wellness.

Ready to take the first step towards a healthier, more vibrant life? Click here to find a Relive Health clinic near you and schedule your consultation today.