Hormone Replacement Therapy

There are different methods for delivery.

Pills, a patch, creams and the estrogen ring. There are many methods for delivery of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The dosages and regimens vary, but HRT always is taken regularly – and for some women, for the rest of their lives – rather than giving doses on “bad” days for symptoms.


Pills are the most common way to receive HRT. Estrogen pills can be taken either every day or for 25 days each month. Women who have had a hysterectomy can take estrogen alone, while others may take a combination pill (estrogen and progestin). The cyclic method involves taking estrogen and progestin separately, with estrogen taken either every day or daily for 25 days of the month and progestin taken for 10 to 14 days of the month.


A transdermal estrogen skin patch is applied to an area of hair-free skin such as the abdomen. The estrogen travels directly through the skin to the bloodstream for a slow, steady absorption that mimics the body’s natural production of estrogen. The wearer changes the patch periodically, according to directions.


Inserted directly into the vagina, creams improve lubrication of dry, thinning vaginal walls, help eliminate painful intercourse and may reduce incontinence. They may be useful for women who cannot tolerate or who do not wish to take hormone replacement therapy to relieve such symptoms. The cream is absorbed into the bloodstream. Such creams do not relieve other menopausal symptoms.


A circular ring made of soft plastic, it emits estrogen on a gradual basis when inserted into the vagina. It helps to improve lubrication of dry vaginal walls and eliminate painful intercourse. The ring usually is replaced about every three months by the woman or her physician.


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