Standard Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Schedule
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can
be taken on a continuous or cyclic schedule and in a higher or lower dose.
Typical schedules include the following:
Take estrogen daily, and take progestin for a
prescribed number of days. Menstrual-like bleeding (withdrawal bleeding) is expected during the beginning
of the no-progestin period. The estrogen-only period can be as long as 2 to 3
Trying to keep up with the latest on hormone replacement therapy (or HRT) can be tough.
"Women don't know what to believe anymore," says Shelley R. Salpeter, MD, director of medicine consultation services at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif.
Experts debate the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, but everyone, including the FDA, agrees that it definitely helps with two conditions: the symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis.
Here are the pros and cons of using...
Apply a transdermal patch twice a week to an area of the body not
exposed directly to the sun.
Women experience different bleeding patterns with
continuous HRT than with cyclic HRT. If one schedule causes unpleasant side
effects, trying another schedule may improve symptoms.
Irregular bleeding is more common with continuous
HRT during the first year. One-third of women do not experience bleeding, many
women stop monthly bleeding after 2 to 3 months, and most women stop monthly
bleeding after 1 year of therapy.
Continuous HRT causes fewer
premenstrual-like symptoms than cyclic HRT.
Continuous HRT causes
more side effects in younger women than in women who are several years beyond
With continuous HRT, women who are treated with higher
doses of progesterone may have the fewest episodes of bleeding.
Cyclic HRT causes most women to have predictable withdrawal
bleeding, which can continue for years.
Perimenopausal women may
tolerate cyclic HRT better than continuous HRT.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
May 4, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 04, 2010
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