What are Estrogen Patches?

Malcolm Tatum

Also known as oestrogen patches, estrogen patches are a topical method of delivering estraodil or estrogen to the body. The patches are commonly employed in situations where physicians find that hormone replacement therapy is necessary to correct a deficiency in estrogen levels. Women who are experiencing a great deal of pain and discomfort during menopause often find relief by using an estrogen transdermal patch.

Estrogen patches may help ease the symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.
Estrogen patches may help ease the symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.

In configuration, an estrogen patch looks very much like any type of simple adhesive bandage. The patch is adhered securely to the skin, normally in an area that is relatively smooth. Many physicians recommend the buttocks or the lower abdomen. Applying estrogen patches to the breasts or anywhere on the upper body is generally discouraged. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it may be necessary to apply the patch twice each week, although many women find that a single application can easily provide relief for the entire seven days.

Transdermal patches can be used to deliver estrogen to the body via the skin.
Transdermal patches can be used to deliver estrogen to the body via the skin.

Estrogen patches can help with a number of the more uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause. When the dosage is adequate, the amount of estrogen absorbed through the skin will help to minimize both the frequency and the severity of hot flashes. There is some evidence that the patches can also help alleviate vaginal dryness. For women who are at risk for developing osteoporosis, this type of patch can help minimize the possibility.

There are a couple of benefits to the use of estrogen patches rather than tablets as part of the hormone replacement therapy. One benefit has to do with the fact that since the estraodil or estrogen is absorbed through the skin, none of the substance passes through the liver. This ensures that there are no ill effects to the liver, something that is a possibility with oral hormone replacement products.

Side effects connected with estrogen patches generally tend to focus on changes in triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Some women do not respond well to patch therapy, and may find that their menopausal symptoms increase rather than decrease. There is also the potential for the treatment adversely affecting mood. While estrogen patch side effects are well-documented, a number of women have successfully used the treatment and experienced no side effects at all.

In the event that the treatments do not seem to be effective, the physician may choose to increase the dosage. Should side effects appear, it may be necessary to abandon the use of estrogen patches altogether, and make use of oral medication or other methods to manage the hormone replacement therapy. While using the patches, it is important to note any apparent side effects, and report them to the attending physician immediately.

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