What is Hormone Therapy? A Look at the 5 Most Common Types
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a commonly used phrase that applies to many different types of treatment. Before we look at the 5 most common types of hormone therapy, let us examine why it is important.
HRT is used in the following ways:
- To reverse the symptoms of menopause in women
- To counteract the effects of Low T or andropause in men
- To raise growth hormone levels when the pituitary gland no longer secretes enough GH
- As a treatment for some types of breast cancer
- To block the growth of prostate cancer cells
- To improve heart, brain, and internal organ functions
- To support the body’s well-being by balancing hormone levels
What is hormone therapy and how is it used?
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body that come from various places in the endocrine system, including the adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid glands, as well as the pancreas and even the liver. As hormones travel through the bloodstream, they search out their particular receptor cells and deliver their signals that put into action their various effects. Hormones regulate the functions of the body’s different cells.
Hormone therapy is used to either enhance or block a hormone’s functions. If the purpose is to block a function with hormone therapy, what is it going to do to the corresponding bodily function?
Doctors block hormones by using other compounds to prevent the hormone from connecting with its targeted receptor. This is useful when certain hormone-fueled cancers are present. The goal is to stop feeding the cancer with the hormone to help improve treatment results.
Of course, the most commonly recognized form of hormone therapy is replacement – a means of increasing the level of a particular chemical messenger that the body needs but no longer produces enough of on its own.
5 Types of Hormone Therapy
When most people hear the term “hormone therapy” they automatically think about middle-aged adults – women dealing with menopause and men facing the prospect of low testosterone. Although estrogen and testosterone are often the first two hormones that come to mind, there are 5 types of supplementation commonly used to treat the body as it ages.
The 5 most common types of hormone therapy are:
- 1. Growth Hormone
Also called somatotropin or human growth hormone, this vital chemical is considered to be one of the most important in the body. GH stimulates the liver to produce insulin growth factor 1, another essential chemical that works with growth hormone to promote cellular regeneration and division in the body. This is crucial for the maintenance of bones, muscles, internal organs, blood cells, collagen, skin, hair, nails, eyesight, and more.
Additionally, growth hormone promotes healthy brain, metabolic, libido, immune, and heart functions. GH helps lower LDL cholesterol, regulates temperature sensitivity, and promotes deep and restful sleep.
- 2. Sermorelin
Sermorelin is a stimulator for growth hormone production. Adults who are starting to show signs of growth hormone deficiency can often use sermorelin instead of human growth hormone to increase production in the body.
- 3. Testosterone
Testosterone is not just for men. Every adult needs a healthy supply of testosterone to keep bones and muscles strong. Testosterone also supports proper brain functions, lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improves hair growth, stimulates red blood cell production, and enhances sexual desire, performance, and pleasure.
- 4. Progesterone
Progesterone is the source hormone, or the basis for the manufacturing of testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones in the body. Without enough progesterone, other hormone levels may also decline. Additionally, progesterone helps to keep estrogen levels in check to avoid a condition known as “estrogen dominance” which can further lower testosterone levels and lead to weight gain.
- 5. Estrogen
Estrogen also helps keep cholesterol levels in check, protects bone health, improves skin texture, reverses menopausal symptoms, and enhances mood and brain functions.
Adults over thirty years of age should work with an experienced hormone replacement therapy specialist to ensure that each of these levels is maintained at the proper amount. HRT doctors use blood analysis to determine if hormone therapy is necessary, and if so, at what dosage and type.
To learn more about hormone therapy, please contact the clinical advisors at Kingsberg Medical for a complimentary, confidential consultation.