Hormone therapy is a type of treatment used for a number of medical conditions. It can help to alleviate some conditions by providing an additional source of hormones when the patient’s own hormone production is lacking. It can also be used as a measure to limit the growth of some types of cells.
1. Menopause Hormone Replacement
Menopause is natural phase of women’s lives in which hormone levels drop abruptly. This phase signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years. During this period, the woman may experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, including hot flashes, weight gain, sleep problems and sexual dysfunction. Hormone replacement therapy is sometimes needed for a short period to alleviate these symptoms. Bioidentical hormone replacement has become a popular option to prevent undesirable side effects from hormone therapy not exactly matching the body’s natural production.
2. Prostate Cancer Treatment
Hormone therapy is also used for men with prostate cancer. Cancer in hormone-sensitive organs like the prostate can be limited by manipulating the amount of hormone in the body. Androgen is the hormone associated with cancer cell growth in the prostate gland. In these cases, anti-androgen hormones are used to induce the prostate gland to stop producing testosterone, which then stops cancer cells from reproducing.
3. Breast Cancer Treatment
Hormone treatments also play a part in breast cancer, another type of cancer that is sensitive to hormone levels in the body. Progesterone and estrogen are the hormones that can be responsible for increased cancer cell growth. Some types of cancer cells have “receptors” that grow in response to the presence of these hormones. Hormone therapy uses compounds that block these receptors, which causes cancer cell reproduction to stop.
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common disease that affects women, in which the body does not produce enough estrogen for ovulation and androgen levels increase. Excess hair growth, acne, irregular periods, enlarged ovaries and infertility are common symptoms. Hormone treatment is used to restore the proper balance of hormones in the body.
5. Treatment For Growth Problems
Children sometimes have inadequate amounts of growth hormone, which can cause inadequate height and delay of puberty. After careful analysis of their body chemistry, the physician may begin injections of growth hormone to remedy this condition.
6. Low Testosterone in Men
Men also experience diminished hormone production as they age. Testosterone levels can drop significantly and cause a variety of symptoms such as low energy, diminished sex drive and depression. Replacing the hormone testosterone can help to reduce these symptoms.