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Premature Ovarian failure and HRT

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) taken by women with premature ovarian failure is very different from the hormone therapy that is often taken by women who are going through or have already gone through natural menopause. Most health care providers believe that HRT replaces what your body should be making naturally as a young woman, and that your body needs these hormones to function normally.

The type of therapy taken by women with premature ovarian failure (POF) may be called hormone extension therapy, rather than hormone replacement therapy. Women with POF get hormone replacement therapy; that is, the HRT is providing something their bodies would normally be making if they didn’t have premature ovarian failure.

The type and amount of HRT prescribed to women with POF is different from the hormone therapy taken by women going through the menopause. For example, women with premature ovarian failure usually take a full-dose of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) meaning the amount of estrogen is nearer or equal to the level normally found in a young healthy woman whose ovaries are working properly, before menopause. Hormone therapy for women who have already gone through menopause is a much lower dose. And, women with premature ovarian failure typically use a patch to deliver the hormone estrogen, but take a pill that provides progestin.

Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about HRT as a treatment for premature ovarian failure. He or she can explain the benefits and risks of HRT for your specific situation as a young woman. It is important to remember that young women with premature ovarian failure differ from older menopausal women in many significant ways. Your health care provider should consider these issues when deciding on the best treatment for you.