The who’s who of menopausal hormone therapy
You may have heard of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), previously called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But do you know which hormones are involved, and how they may help?
MHT is the most effective treatment available for the relief of the physical symptoms of menopause (e.g. hot flushes and night sweats).1 There are two main hormones relevant during menopause. They are:2
MHT refers to replacing one or both of these through medication.2
What types are available and who are they for?
During menopause one of the main causes of symptoms is fluctuating levels of the hormone estrogen.3 Taking medication with estrogen can help to alleviate these symptoms.1,2 Estrogen levels affect your brain, your bones and your uterus.2 In fact, taking estrogen can cause an overgrowth of the cells in your uterus.1,2 If you have had a hysterectomy (your uterus removed) this is not a problem and MHT with estrogen alone is OK to use.
Progesterone affects the womb and uterus, it prevents the overgrowth of cells.2 Because of this protective action progesterone is combined with estrogen to lower the risk of cancer in women who still have their uterus.1,2
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) also block the unwanted effects of estrogen on the uterus and can be used instead of progesterone in combination with estrogen.1,4
So, in summary;
Consult with your healthcare professional to find out which option is best for you.
Pill, patch or implant?
MHT is available in various forms. These include:2
A note on hormone names
As you start to read more about menopause and MHT, there can be several terms that look very similar and seem to be used interchangeably. Here is a quick guide to knowing what is what:4
©Pfizer 2017 Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800675 229. Sydney, Australia 2000. PP-DUA-AUS-0475, 08/2019.
1. Jane FM and Davis SR Climacteric 2014;17(5):564–579.
2. Jean Hailes, Menopause Management. Available from (Accessed August 2019).
3. Australasian Menopause Society, The Perimenopause or Menopausal Transition. August 2016. Available from (Accessed August 2019).
4. The North American Menopause Society, Menopause Glossary. Available from (Accessed August 2019).