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Which hormones you take and when you take them is called your hormone therapy (HT) program, or regimen. Your program is tailored for you, based on certain factors. These factors include whether you have a uterus and what your risk of cancer is. Whether or not you have reached menopause is also a factor. Note that there are both risks and benefits to HT. Discuss these with your doctor before starting an HT program.
You take estrogen all month and progestin about half the month. This method is based on a normal menstrual cycle. You will have some of the same symptoms, such as bleeding. This program helps reduce your risk of uterine cancer.
You take a lower dose of progestin. Both estrogen and progestin are taken each day of the month. You’re likely to have the symptoms of a menstrual cycle. And you still reduce your risk of uterine cancer. But symptoms may be present during the entire cycle.
You take 5–7 days off before estrogen and progestin each month. This method also helps reduce the risk of uterine cancer. You may have less irregular bleeding with this program.
Estrogen is prescribed by itself. This is most likely if you have had a hysterectomy. You may also use this option if you still have a uterus. But you will need yearly tests to check for uterine cancer.
Estrogen is combined with hormones called androgens. This option may be prescribed if your symptoms are not controlled by estrogen alone.
Birth control pills may be prescribed if you are close to menopause and starting to have symptoms. These pills control the menstrual cycle. You will still have monthly bleeding.