After deciding to take ERT or estrogen replacement therapy, the next step is deciding on the type of ERT to use. There are various forms of estrogen hormone therapy to choose from, such as pills, gels, suppositories, and others. The best one for you will depend on different factors, including health, symptoms, and preference.
Here are the four widely used ERT that you can also consider should you decide to take estrogen hormone therapy.
This is the most common type of estrogen treatment. Some of the examples include conjugated estrogens or Premarin and estradiol or Estrace. You can also check out https://www.yeswellness.com/lorna-vanderhaeghe-estrosmart/ for other options.
Estrogen pills are usually taken once a day, even without food. But other brands have a complicated dosing schedule.
This type of estrogen therapy can help relieve and address the troublesome menopause symptoms. They can also aid in lowering osteoporosis risks. Oral estrogen medications and supplements are the best-studied forms of estrogen therapy.
The risks involved in taking this kind of ERT are well-known to the public. Too much estrogen can increase the risk of strokes, blood clots, breast cancer, and heart attack. Some pills can also cause side effects such as headache, swollen breasts, and vaginal discharge.
Another type of ERT is a skin patch. Some of the brands available in the market are Alora, Estraderm, and Climara. There are also patches that combine estrogen and progestin, like Combipatch and Climara Pro.
The estrogen patches are normally worn on the lower stomach, just below the waistline. It is regularly changed once or twice a week or according to the label instructions.
Other than the benefits that oral therapy provides, an estrogen patch has an added advantage of convenience. Once you stick it on your stomach, you no longer need to worry about missing to take it like the pill. Some studies indicate that oral estrogen medicines can cause danger to people with liver problems, but patches are safer as patches bypass the liver and go immediately into the blood.
Patches pose the same risks that the oral pills do. But some say that its side effects are milder.
You should take note that ERT patches are not to be exposed to high heat or direct sunlight, as heat can make them release the estrogen too fast. Never wear your estrogen patch when you go to saunas or tanning beds.
Gels, Sprays, and topical creams
These estrogen treatments are absorbed by the skin directly into the bloodstream, the same as the patches. Applying the creams, gels, or sprays may vary as per label, but more often, they are used once a day. Estrogel (estrogen gel) is being applied from the wrist to the shoulder while Estrasorb (cream) is used on the legs. The Evamist spray is also applied to the arm.
As to the pros and cons of these products, there are not many studies done yet. So it is safer to assume that they pose the same risks as the patches or the oral pills.
Vaginal suppositories, creams, and rings
These are the estrogen treatment types that the user applies directly to the vaginal area. These types of ERT are generally used by women who are having trouble caused by vaginal itchiness, dryness, and intercourse pain. Vaginal tablets like Vagifem are often used every day for two weeks. While insertable rings like Femring are used and replaced every three months. Creams like Estrace can be used daily or several times a week.
These are the most effective estrogen treatment when it comes to relieving vaginal symptoms of menopause like itchiness and dryness but will not help in treating other symptoms like hot flashes and anxiety.
What is the right one for you?
To decide on the best type of estrogen hormone therapy for you, talk and discuss it with your physician. This way, you can be aware of the benefits and risks involved in your chosen ERT not only to your reproductive system but also to your overall health.