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How Hormones Work

Last week I talked about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in general, but today I’ll be taking a deeper dive into what hormones are and how they work in our bodies.

At the most basic level, hormones are chemical messengers. We usually think of hormones as being sex-hormones such as estrogens, testosterone, etc. but there are other hormones as well, including parathyroid hormone, luteinizing hormone, etc.1 (To avoid confusion, though, when I talk about compounded hormone replacement therapy, I do mean replacement of the sex-hormones specifically.)

So, how do hormones work? They are released from specialized cells and travel through the bloodstream until they reach their target receptors. Once they’ve attached to the receptors, they can initiate a wide variety of effects in the body—just think of all of the changes that can happen in puberty.1

Hormones are also extremely potent. Relatively small changes in hormone levels can have large effects on our body and how we feel. This is why menstruation/menopause for women & low testosterone for men can have such a dramatic impact on how we feel in a given day. Normalizing these levels can lead to a better quality of life.1

HRT isn’t for everyone, and you should work with your provider to determine if the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for HRT. Next week, I’ll explore some of the specific benefits and risks that come with HRT, so stay tuned!

As always, we're available in the lab Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. Or you can email me anytime at We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,


For more information on compounding, click here

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