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Hormone therapy is a course of medical treatment involving the administering of hormones. Hormone therapy treatment is commonly used to ease the symptoms of menopause and help transgender and non-binary gender people through the gender affirmation process.
Hormone therapy is often shortened to the acronym HT.
Hormone therapy works by giving the body the hormones it needs to work in a desired way. Hormone therapy can replace hormones that are naturally depleted, as with menopause, or add desired hormones, as with transgender people whose bodies do not produce the hormones of their identified genders.
The hormones given during hormone therapy may be given orally in tablet form, in patches, topical treatments, or via injections.
Hormone therapy can be a good solution for transgender people wanting to appear more like their identified gender. Male-to-female transgender people can take feminizing hormones like estrogen and progesterone to reduce body hair and grow breast tissue. Female-to-male transgender people may take testosterone and other hormones to lower their voices, grow more body hair, and increase muscle.
Transgender people may use hormone therapy in conjunction with gender affirming surgery or without surgery. Some people use hormone therapy as a stepping stone on their gender affirmation journey, while others are happy only using hormones and never have surgery.
Women struggling with the symptoms of menopause may take estrogen and progesterone to ease their problems. Taking these hormones can reduce or eliminate hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and painful sex.
Hormone therapy can carry some risks, including increasing the chance of developing uterine and breast cancers, heart disease, strokes, and blood clots. Health professionals must weigh up the risks with the potential benefits of hormone therapy.