HRT vs. TRT: What’s the Difference?

Elite HRT

Written by Elite HRT on December 04, 2021

Medically reviewed by

Camille Frecking, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, MEDICAL ADVISOR

Modern medicine has made incredible strides in recent history, making discoveries that help cure diseases, reduce symptoms of chronic health conditions, and increase a person’s lifespan. 

Among those great discoveries is the balance and optimization of hormone levels, such as your level of testosterone. People can now use hormone replacement therapy, testosterone replacement therapy, and human growth hormone therapy. These advancements allow people with a hormonal imbalance or deficiency to have more energy, increase endurance, combat low sex drive, build muscle, lose weight, and feel better. 

Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between hormone replacement therapy, testosterone replacement therapy, and human growth hormone therapy. 

What Is HRT?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Hormones play a vital role as messengers to regulate different systems and processes in the body. The endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones and regulating hormone levels and functions. 

As we get older, hormonal imbalances and hormone deficiencies become more common. Menopause, andropause (male menopause), and hypogonadism (low testosterone), as well as growth hormone and thyroid hormone imbalances are most common. 

Hormonal imbalance or low hormone levels can cause physical and emotional symptoms, such as sore breasts, anxiety or depression, and issues with sexual function. 

Hormone replacement therapy helps restore low or imbalanced hormone levels back to a healthy, normal range. When a hormonal imbalance is corrected through these therapies, the results can be life-changing, helping someone improve their health, lifestyle, and quality of life. 

The popularity of hormone replacement therapy has skyrocketed in recent years, and for good reason. HRT may be effective at slowing down, stopping, or even reversing the common signs and symptoms of aging. 

Hormone production and release in the body are connected to the aging process and chronic diseases. HRT may help decrease the risk of heart attack and developing age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. 

What Is TRT?

TRT is an acronym for testosterone replacement therapy. It is commonly used to treat low testosterone levels (i.e. low T levels), otherwise known as hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency. It is sometimes called “male menopause” or “andropause”, as it is commonly experienced in older men. This is because testosterone levels begin to decline around the age of 30 and continue to decline for the duration of a man’s lifetime. 

Symptoms of low T can include a loss of libido, an increase in body fat, loss of muscle mass, depression, fatigue, decreased motivation, and a general sense of malaise — feeling tired and generally just not feeling “right.” 

TRT can help restore testosterone levels to a higher level, closer to the level you had during your youth. Testosterone replacement therapy offers benefits to men who have low levels of testosterone, including: 

  • Increased muscle mass 
  • Increased energy 
  • Increased sex drive
  • Lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels 
  • More confidence and self-esteem 
  • Reduced body fat
  • Reduced risk of developing age-related diseases 
  • Weight loss

What Is HGH Therapy?

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone that is released by the pituitary gland. It is responsible for cell growth and regeneration and helps the body build muscle and bones, regulate fat metabolism and body composition. 

As we get older, both women and men experience a natural decline in HGH levels. This can cause a number of symptoms, including fatigue, depression, loss of muscle mass, an increase in body fat (particularly around the abdomen), insomnia, and irritability. 

HGH therapy is a type of HRT that can help increase HGH levels in the body, prompting incredible changes in your health and body composition. On HGH therapy, individuals report feeling increased stamina and endurance, faster metabolism, improved mood, better sleep, improved cognitive functioning, and a stable mood. 

Although HGH may be effective at reducing symptoms of aging (e.g., fatigue, loss of muscle, weight gain), it may also help protect against age-related symptoms and diseases. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy For Women

Hormone replacement therapy can help reduce the distressing symptoms of menopause, such as fatigue, moodiness, weight gain, hot flashes, and depression. 

As a woman transitions into menopause (meaning her period will stop), her ovaries no longer produce high levels of estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormone levels can be concerning and uncomfortable. 

Hormone replacement therapy is used to boost hormone levels and relieve the symptoms of menopause.

There are two primary types of hormone replacement therapy for women: 

  • Estrogen therapy. When taken alone, this is often prescribed as a pill to be taken daily or a patch to be placed on the skin each day. Estrogen is also available as creams, sprays, gels, and vaginal rings. Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of estrogen to relieve menopause symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. 
  • Estrogen progesterone/progestin hormone therapy. Also known as combination therapy, this type of hormone replacement therapy combines both estrogen and progesterone to restore levels within the body and relieve symptoms of menopause. 

The type of hormone replacement therapy that is right for you is determined between you and your doctor and depends on your current hormone levels and overall health status. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men

Testosterone replacement therapy is the most common form of HRT for men. TRT is typically administered by injections, though patches, gels, and creams are also available. This form of hormone replacement therapy can help boost energy levels, improve stamina and endurance, build muscle mass, and boost metabolism to help burn fat and promote weight loss. 

If estrogen levels and other hormones have been imbalanced as a result of low testosterone, men may also be prescribed other forms of HRT to help restore balance to these hormones, too. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy vs. HGH Therapy

While both hormone replacement therapy and human growth hormone replacement therapy can help treat symptoms related to low testosterone levels in men or menopause in women, they work differently in the body and are intended to restore levels of different types of hormones. 

Testosterone is one type of anabolic steroid — it can restore libido and improve erectile dysfunction. It also helps rapidly build muscle mass and increases strength. It should only be prescribed as a treatment for men with low-T levels. 

Estrogen and progesterone are the most common types of hormone replacement therapy prescribed to women going through menopause. These therapies can help reduce uncomfortable menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and depression. HRT should only be prescribed to women who are either menopausal or post-menopausal. 

Human growth hormone is the hormone that is responsible for growth and development in childhood. In adults, it is responsible for keeping bones and muscles strong, supporting the metabolic processes in the body, and helping keep your skin healthy and youthful in appearance. As an adult, HGH therapy can help encourage the body to burn fat and build muscle and bone. It should only be prescribed for individuals who have a human growth hormone deficiency. 

It’s important to remember that HGH has very little impact on testosterone levels. If you have low testosterone, HGH will not help boost your testosterone levels. However, HGH may have an impact on body composition. A chief complaint of men who are living with low testosterone is a loss of muscle mass and additional body fat, particularly in the abdomen area. HGH can help the body redistribute fat and increase muscle mass, but it won’t have an influence on testosterone levels. 

Research shows that a combination of testosterone replacement therapy and HGH therapy can significantly increase bone mineral density and lean muscle mass while encouraging fat loss in women and men with HGH deficiency. 

Whether you opt for HGH therapy, TRT, or another type of HRT, it’s important to do so under the guidance and supervision of a qualified health professional. Do not take any of these therapies unless you’ve been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance or deficiency. 

While these therapies can be absolutely life-changing for those who need them, they are not meant to be taken for any other purpose than to correct hormonal imbalances and deficiencies. 

Your doctor will carefully monitor your hormone levels while on HGH therapy, TRT, or another HRT to make sure hormone levels are being restored within a healthy range and ensure your health is not negatively affected. 

Conclusion

If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, a hormonal imbalance, or a hormone deficiency, then HGH therapy, TRT, or another type of HRT may be an option for you. If you’re ready to get your energy and health back so you can live life the way you want to, we’re here to help. 

At Elite HRT, our specialized providers understand the complexities of hormones and can provide you with a personalized treatment program catered to your specific hormonal and health needs. 

Get started by filling out our quick online form. You’ll hear from us soon to discuss booking your assessment and blood work so we can get going on developing your personalized treatment plan. 

Sources:

Hormone Replacement Therapy | MedlinePlus

Hormone Therapy for Menopause | Cleveland Clinic

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men: What To Know | Healthline

Testosterone and growth hormone normalization: a retrospective study of health outcomes

| NCBI

Hormone Therapy: Benefits and Risks | North American Menopause Society