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What is hormonal therapy?

Hormonal Therapy

Hormonal therapy is a treatment that corrects hormone levels by adjusting them up or down. Hormones are part of your endocrine system and act as chemical messengers in your body to control different bodily functions. For example, insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your metabolism and how your body uses food for energy. 

Your doctor may prescribe hormonal therapy to increase hormone levels that are too low. Hormonal therapy can also block hormones or remove the source of hormones when their levels are too high. 

Hormonal therapy is only one method used to treat many diseases and conditions. Discuss all of your   treatments with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.  

Types of hormonal therapy

The types of hormonal therapy include:

  • Hormone replacement involves adding hormones to the body when levels are too low. The hormone is a prescribed medication that can be delivered in the form of a pill or other substance, such as a gel or patch.
  • Hormone blocking is therapy designed to block or decrease the actions of hormones. This also involves taking medications.
  • Hormone source removal is the removal of the source of excessive hormone production with surgery or radiation. This may include removal of an entire gland, such as the thyroid. In this case, you will also need hormone replacement to provide a normal level of hormones in the body. 
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 12, 2013

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View Sources

Medical References

The Endocrine System: Diseases, Types of Hormones & More. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Endo101/index.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Growth Disorders. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Growth/growth.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Growth Hormone Excess & Deficiency Treatment: Hormone Therapy. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Growth/treatment.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Hyperthyroidism. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Thyroid/hyperthyroidism.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Pituitary Disorders Treatment Options. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Pituitary/treatment.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Primary Hyperparathyroidism. The Endocrine Society. http://www.hormone.org/Other/upload/primary-hyperparathyroidiam-bilingual-030110.pdf. Accessed May 6, 2013.

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