Hormone Therapy (Estrogen Therapy, Estrogen/Progestin Therapy)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are estrogen therapy and hormone therapy (HT)?

Estrogen, in pill, patch, or gel form, is the single most effective therapy for suppressing hot flashes.

The term estrogen therapy, or ET, refers to estrogen administered alone. Because ET alone can cause uterine cancer (endometrial cancer) (see below), a progestin is administered together with estrogen in women who have a uterus (those who have not undergone a hysterectomy) to eliminate the increased risk. Thus, the term estrogen/progestin therapy, or EPT, refers to a combination of estrogen and progestin therapy, as is given to a woman who still has a uterus. This method of prescribing hormones is also known as combination hormone therapy.

The term hormone therapy (HT) is a more general term that is used to refer to either administration of estrogen alone (women who have had a hysterectomy), or combined estrogen/progestin therapy (women with a uterus).

All forms of hormone therapy (HT) that are FDA-approved for therapy of hot flashes are similarly effective in suppressing hot flashes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/23/2016

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