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    Hormone Patch for Menopause: All About Estradiol Patch and More

    Hormone Patch for Menopause: All About Estradiol Patch and More
    Updated 23 April 2020 |
    Published 25 November 2019
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Iryna Ilyich
    Reviewed by Dr. Iryna Ilyich, Obstetrician and gynecologist, medical advisor, Flo Health Inc., Lithuania
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    It’s no secret that the female body goes through many changes during menopause. Most of these changes are associated with hormonal fluctuations, which can cause a variety of symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy and hormone patches in particular are commonly used to relieve menopause symptoms. Let’s talk more about menopause patches.

    Hormone patches against menopause symptoms

    Menopause is an inevitable, natural process. During menopause and perimenopause, hormone levels fluctuate, which causes a variety of symptoms. Everyone has a different experience during menopause, but certain symptoms are extremely common.

    Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is proven to be effective for the treatment of different menopause symptoms.

    Menopause patches, especially estradiol patches, can be used to treat symptoms such as hot flashes, and they can also relieve vaginal dryness, itching, or burning. These are some of the most common symptoms of menopause, and practically all women experience them at some point during perimenopause and menopause.

    Estradiol transdermal patches can also help prevent osteoporosis. At the onset of menopause, falling estrogen levels lead to a decrease in bone density and rapid bone resorption. These factors increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures during menopause, and transdermal estrogen can help prevent this.

    Systemic HRT is especially helpful for women who:

    • Have lost significant bone mass and aren’t suitable candidates for other treatments
    • Suffer from moderate or severe menopause symptoms, including hot flashes
    • Experienced a premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency (before the age of 40), in the event of which systemic HRT can prevent or reduce anxiety, depression, heart disease, osteoporosis, and premature death

    Estradiol patch vs. combination patch: types of menopause patches and how they help

    A woman uses a hormone patch for menopause symptoms

    There are two main types of hormone patches:

    • Estrogen (estradiol) patches
    • Combination estrogen (estradiol) and progestin patches

    Both of these types of hormone patches act similarly, but they are usually used by different groups of people. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy and no longer have a uterus can use estradiol patches, whereas women who have a uterus use combination patches because maintaining progestin levels can help prevent uterine cancer.

    It’s important to keep in mind that systemic HRT will affect your entire body. These types of HRT include patches, pills, and implants. Local HRT, in the form of vaginal rings or creams, is a good option for milder symptoms.

    Common side effects of a hormone patch

    Just like most medications, hormone patches can have side effects. Some of the most common side effects of estrogen patches include:

    • Abdominal bloating
    • Breast tenderness
    • Back pain
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
    • Leg cramping
    • Indigestion
    • Swelling

    Combination patches that contain progestin, on the other hand, can have the following side effects in addition to the ones listed above:

    • Acne
    • Headaches
    • Bloating
    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Abdominal pain
    • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
    • Back pain

    In most cases, side effects tend to subside after a few weeks of using the patch. If the side effects persist or become even more severe, your doctor can prescribe a lower dose or a different treatment. 

    It’s important to note that although many people believe that HRT can cause significant weight gain, this isn’t true. It’s very common to gain weight during menopause, but it isn’t caused by HRT.

    Are hormone patches safe?

    Any type of HRT comes with some associated risks. But in most cases, the benefits of using menopause patches greatly outweigh any potential risks. Discuss your personal and family history and symptoms with your physician before using any type of HRT.

    Transdermal estrogens increase the risk of developing blood clots, which is also a risk with most other types of hormonal treatments. This risk is rare in women aged 50 to 59 years old. 

    Hormone patches could slightly increase the risk of breast cancer if they’re used for 5 or more continuous years. However, the risk decreases once HRT is discontinued. It’s very important to carry out routine breast cancer screening whether you’re taking HRT or not.

    Women who are older than 65 years old could experience an increased risk of dementia while on HRT. Studies have found that using HRT for 5 to 7 years doesn’t increase the risk of death. Transdermal hormones carry a lower risk of gallbladder disease than oral hormones.

    Other ways to reduce menopause symptoms

    Although more research is needed, it’s believed that several natural treatments can help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Some natural treatments that may help relieve menopause symptoms include:

    • Black cohosh
    • Ginseng
    • Dong quai
    • Red clover
    • Kava
    • Evening primrose oil

    Other natural remedies, such as lavender, basil, and geranium, can help tackle mood swings, headaches, and nausea. You should always ask your doctor before starting a new treatment, even if it’s natural, as some natural treatments can interfere with other medications and cause adverse side effects.

    Leading a healthy lifestyle can also help you avoid health problems and feel better during menopause. Some lifestyle habits that will help you during menopause include:

    • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
    • Exercising regularly
    • Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Seeking therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, when necessary

    On a final note

    HRT, including hormone patches, is a good option for many women during menopause. Hormone patches can help alleviate different symptoms of menopause and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.

    It’s always important to discuss your history and risk factors with your doctor before you start a new treatment. In many cases, the potential benefits of using a menopause patch outweigh its risks. Besides, HRT should be combined with healthy habits to maintain your health during your menopause.

    History of updates
    Current version (23 April 2020)
    Reviewed by Dr. Iryna Ilyich, Obstetrician and gynecologist, medical advisor, Flo Health Inc., Lithuania
    22 November 2019
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