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Why is hormonal therapy used? 

Your doctor may recommend hormonal therapy to treat certain diseases and conditions of the endocrine system including:

  • Addison’s disease, which is decreased production of adrenal hormones. Adrenal hormones help regulate your body’s water and salt balance, blood pressure, and stress response.

  • Birth control. Hormone-mediated birth control is a combination of synthetic progesterone and estrogen.

  • Cancers that depend on hormones to grow, such as prostate cancer and certain types of breast cancers

  • Certain cancers that require removal of all or part of a gland such as the thyroid

  • Diabetes, which is decreased production of insulin that results in an inability of the body to properly use sugar for energy

  • Hyperaldosteronism, which is increased production of the hormone aldosterone. Your doctor may manage hyperaldosteronism due to overactive adrenal glands with hormone blocking therapy. Treatment of hyperaldosteronism caused by an adrenal adenoma (tumor) may include removal of the adrenal gland.

  • Hyperinsulinemia, or high insulin, caused by a tumor in the pancreas

  • Hypoparathyroidism, or underactive parathyroid. Parathyroid hormones help regulate calcium in your body.

  • Hyperparathyroidism, or overactive parathyroid. Certain people with few or no symptoms may receive hormone blocking therapy. Doctors generally use surgery to treat hyperparathyroidism due to a noncancerous adenoma or enlarged parathyroid glands in anyone younger than 50 years. 

  • Hypopituitarism, or underactive pituitary. Pituitary hormones help regulate growth, blood pressure, and reproduction.

  • Hyperpituitarism, or overactive pituitary. Doctors usually use surgery to treat hyperpituitarism caused by hormone-secreting tumors of the pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumors do not produce hormones (nonsecretory). These tumors tend to cause low levels of hormones, but your doctor may still recommend removal.

  • Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Thyroid hormones help regulate your metabolism and how you use energy.

  • Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. Your doctor may treat hyperthyroidism with blocking therapy. However, treatment of hyperthyroidism may include thyroid gland removal for thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, and when thyroid-blocking medications do not work.

  • Hypogonadism, or low levels of sex hormones, including low testosterone in men

  • Infertility. Hormonal therapy can stimulate the release of eggs from the ovaries in women. Hormonal therapy is also used for some causes of male infertility.

  • Menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is sometimes used to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.

  • Transgender patients to block the unwanted secondary sexual characteristics

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 12, 2016

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View Sources

Medical References

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

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