What to Expect When You Begin Hormone Replacement Therapy

Before starting HRT, it is recommended to consider your expectations and potential HRT effects on your body!

This blog post will answer some common queries regarding HRT. It will help you to comprehend which effect you are most concerned about and what you hope to achieve from hormone replacement therapy.

Table of Contents

Menopause can cause hormonal imbalance, leading to many physical and psychological symptoms. Many women consider using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to control these symptoms and enhance their general well-being. Before taking the treatment, you must consider your expectations and potential physical and emotional side effects to prepare for your journey.

What is HRT?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) involves administering hormones like progesterone and oestrogen to normalise their declining levels. 

Hot flashes, nocturnal sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and sleep difficulties are among the symptoms that are targeted by this therapy.

Consultation and Medical Supervision

If you have decided to go for HRT, talk with a healthcare provider specialising in menopause. Doing this can create a solid medical supervision foundation, ensuring safe treatment. 

By taking an assessment from a healthcare professional, you can get a holistic idea of your medical history, current health conditions, and lifestyle factors. It will also help you understand the HRT’s symptoms, goals, expectations, risks and benefits. You can contatct our BIO ID Consultant.

Medical consultation is important at the start of HRT and should be continued throughout the treatment to evaluate its effects and make necessary adjustments. These follow-up appointments allow you to discuss new side effects, address issues, and ensure the treatment plan meets your needs.

Physical Side Effects

If you start HRT and feel awful, you must know that HRT brings many physical changes that may disturb you.

Let’s have a look at the common HRT side effects:

1. Breast Tenderness

Breast tenderness or swelling can result from HRT, especially oestrogen therapy. This adverse effect typically lasts briefly and gets better with time. It is critical to monitor your changes and report to your healthcare provider.

2. Nausea and Bloating

When starting HRT, women may experience gastrointestinal issues such as bloating or nausea. These symptoms may last until the body adjusts itself to HRT. These side effects can be tackled by taking HRT with food or changing the timing of the dosage.

3. Headaches

During the initial stages of HRT, an individual may feel transient or mild headaches. This side effect can be treated by staying hydrated, managing your stress levels, or adjusting the type of dosage of hormones used in HRT.

4. Fluid Retention

Another side effect of HRT includes the retention of fluids in the body leading to mild swelling, particularly in the hands, feet, or ankles. This effect is temporary and goes away with time, but it is important to consult your doctor if this condition persists.

5. Spotting or Breakthrough Bleeding

Spotting and bleeding on HRT are common side effects. Sometimes, women experience bleeding every 2 weeks on HRT, which usually occurs if HRT contains more oestrogen than progesterone. These symptoms may last during the first few months of treatment but resolve as the body adjusts.

6. Increased or Decreased Libidio

HRT may impact libido and sexual desire. Some people might notice an increase in libido, whereas others might see a decrease. Factors such as hormone levels and general health can affect these changes.

Emotional and Psychological Effects

Undergoing HRT can cause various emotional side effects, and their intensity may differ from person to person.

Let’s highlight some psychological effects associated with HRT:

1. Mood Swings

HRT can occasionally lead to emotional or mood swings. During the first stages of treatment, some patients may become more agitated, anxious, or have mood swings. These effects may get stabilise until the body adjusts to hormone therapy.

2. Depression and Anxiety

Although menopause contributes to depression and anxiety, HRT also influences it. While HRT can help with some symptoms of anxiety and depression, it might not be able to treat underlying mental health problems fully. 

3. Sleep Disturbances

HRT can also affect sleep patterns which can impact the overall mood. So, practising good sleep hygiene, a regular sleep schedule, and talking to your doctor about your sleep issues can all help you manage these side effects. 

4. Cognitive Changes

Some people may develop cognitive problems when taking HRT, such as memory loss, confusion, or difficulty focusing.These changes may go out with time, but you may consult your healthcare provider if they persist.

How long does it take for HRT to work?

After beginning HRT, some menopausal symptoms might get better within a few weeks to months, while others might take longer. People can enjoy full benefits within three to six months, including symptom relief and improvements in bone health. 

Over months or years of ongoing therapy, HRT can gradually cause physical and emotional changes. Regarding its effects, individual responses to HRT vary, but regular communication with a healthcare professional is essential for tracking the development and making necessary adjustments in the treatment.

How Long After Stopping Does HRT Stay in Your System?

Several variables determine the duration of stay of HRT in your body even after stopping it. These factors include the type of hormones used, the duration of treatment, and individual metabolism. 

Typically the hormones need a few days to a few weeks to leave the body. However, some HRT effects, like changes in bone density, may last even after treatment is stopped. So, talking to your healthcare provider before stopping HRT is needed to get personalised advice based on your needs.

Does HRT Stop Periods?

If your periods are still occurring when you begin HRT, it’s crucial to have a treatment that contains both oestrogen and progestogen administered sequentially to ensure that your periods will continue. By taking sequential HRT, your periods won’t stop or get lighter, and erratic bleeding won’t necessarily improve. However, if you’ve been taking sequential HRT for a while or are over 54 and still want to, you can switch to continuous combined or period-free HRT.

Concluding Remarks

Regardless of age, beginning hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can significantly impact people going through menopause. Although HRT has some physical and emotional effects, it can relieve bothersome symptoms, strengthen bones, and improve general well-being. The best action should be considered after consultation with a healthcare professional who watches for risks and prescribes an individualised plan.

It’s Time To Make an Informed Decision by Consulting with the Health Care Professionals of the Bio Id Team and Make Your Life Better Ahead!


How do HRT patches work?

The HRT patch sticks to the skin and uses a specialised adhesive to deliver medication over three days. The hormones on it enter your bloodstream through tiny blood vessels and then circulate throughout your body, where they relieve your symptoms.

Are there any dangers or negative affects to starting HRT at 57?

Starting HRT at any age may have risks and side effects, including an increased chance of certain diseases like blood clots or breast cancer. Proper monitoring and tailored treatment can reduce risks and side effects.

What causes bleeding on continuous HRT?

On continuous HRT, bleeding can be caused if a high oestrogen and little progestogen are present in the dose. This can be overcome by altering the prescribed HRT dosage, components, or absorption method.

How long after starting hrt do you feel a difference?

The benefits of HRT typically take a few weeks to become apparent, but it can take up to 3 months to fully experience the effects.

What to expect after taking HRT?

Individuals can expect relief from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, improved mood stability, increased energy levels, and improved sexual function after beginning HRT. However, some side effects may occur depending on the treatment plan.

Will HRT make me gain weight?

HRT does not necessarily lead to weight gain, but individual responses can vary. Some individuals may experience weight changes, while others may not. 

Does HRT get rid of belly fat?

HRT might not clearly focus on belly fat reduction. However, when combined with a healthy lifestyle, HRT may indirectly contribute to changes in body composition, including potential decreases in belly fat, by restoring hormonal balance. 

Dr. Charlotte
Dr. Charlotte

As an experienced medical professional, Dr. Norton has amassed a wealth of knowledge, culminating in her role as Chief Medical Officer at BioID Health. Her comprehensive grasp of evidence-based treatments and her unwavering commitment to patient well-being position her as an invaluable asset within the healthcare landscape.
With a proven history of compassionate care and a legacy of collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, Dr. Charlotte Norton embodies the principles of excellence, empathy, and expertise. Her journey, fuelled by a passion for guiding patients towards optimal health, continues to have a positive impact on lives at every juncture.

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More than just standard hormone replacement therapy.A treatment plan tailored to your health & wellbeing



Fill out our symptom questionnaire and speak to one of our BioID specialists. 


Our process is easy and straight forward – complete your blood test and attend an online prescriber-led consultation to discuss your results and formulate your tailored treatment plan.


Your bespoke hormones will be sent directly to your door as either gels, lozenges or capsules with clear instructions of how to use. You will receive a 3-month supply at each delivery.


Monthly follow up online consultation and further blood test at 8 – 10 weeks.