What is estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)?
Before proceeding to the short dynamics of ERT, let us first know the estrogen hormone. This pertains to the hormonal groups that promote, develop, and maintain the female characteristics in the body. Its springs to the puberty or the childbearing stage and declines on the menopausal phase of a woman. Imbalance and declination in this hormone can lead to health problems and unwanted physical changes as well. That is why ERT is administered.
Estrogen replacement therapy or ERT is the process in which the estrogen hormone is added in a woman to increase the amount of estrogen in her body and you should click to find out more. Usually, it is given to women who are in menopausal stage since this is the time where estrogen declines at this time, to relieve some of its symptoms like hot flashes, night sweat, sleep deprivation, and vaginal dryness. Also, it is administered to women who underwent cancer treatments and removal of ovaries. Furthermore, it helps women to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
There are various types of ERT to choose from. However, it should depend on your present state of health, symptoms experienced and what you probably need to get out of the treatment. Here are the two of many ERT options that you can consider should you need to undergo this kind of treatment:
ERT OPTION #1: ORAL MEDICATION OR PILLS
The most common form of estrogen replacement therapy, oral medication is usually taken once a day after meal. Some of these pills are conjugated estrogens or Premarin, estradiol (Estrace) and Estratab.
- It ensures the worse symptoms in menopause.
- It can treat the perimenopause, an unstable hormonal period prior to the menopausal phase.
- It lowers the risk of having osteoporosis.
- It helps in the reduction of irregular menstrual bleeding.
- Oral medications are the best-studied forms of ERT.
- It has a slight increase in chances of having diseases like stroke, blood clots, and other illnesses
- It can also intensify the chances of having breast cancer and heart attacks because this type is usually combined with the hormone progestin
- Like other oral medications, ERT through pills has its side effects. Some of these include aching and swollen breasts, headache, dizziness, and vaginal discharges.
- Oral estrogen can also harm the liver. That is why health professionals do not recommend taking estrogen pills for women with liver problems and instead look for other ways.
- If this will not be absorbed well or if this is taken along with other medicines, it can lead to stomach illnesses.
- It increases the cholesterol level in your body because it is metabolized in the liver.
ERT OPTION #2: SKIN PATCHES
This type of ERT is done by wearing patches below the stomach, under the waistline. This patch can be changed usually for one to two weeks or depending on the instructions of your healthcare provider.
Some examples of these skin patches are Alora, Climara, Estraderm, and Vivelle-Dot. Also, there are skin patches with the combination of estrogen and progestin like Climara Pro and Combipatch. Moreover, there are certain patches that help relieve certain imbalance problems like Menostar which has a lower estrogen amount but it used in relieving the risks of osteoporosis but is not recommended to cure or relieve other menopausal or estrogen-related concerns.
- Skin patches are more convenient to use, unlike other ERT types. All you have to do is stick it out on your stomach and you do not have to worry for the next few days.
- It avoids the liver and goes directly to the blood, which makes it safe for those who are having liver-related conditions.
- There is a study conducted in 2007 which discovered that using skin patches in ERT does not increase the risks of blood clots in menopausal women, unlike in oral medications.
- For some of the experts, using estrogen skin patches is much safer than other ERT types like oral estrogen medications.
- Skin patches may cause irritations in the skin.
- It should not be exposed in heat or sunlight because it can release the estrogen properties on it. This will give you an inconsistent estrogen dosage- too high dosage at first, then too low after. Because of this, using sauna and tanning beds and doing activities that can expose the patient to the sunlight or heat is not advisable.
- Like other types of ERT, using estrogen skin patches has its side effects though milder than the others. Some of it includes tender breasts, nausea, discharges in the vagina and headaches.
- It also has risks, though milder than other ERT options, of serious conditions like heart problems and cancer.