If you’re looking for relief from menopause symptoms, knowing the pros and cons
of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help you decide whether it’s right for you.

Learn all

About
HRT

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

During menopause, your estrogen levels fall. Some women get uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. HRT (also known as hormone therapy, menopausal hormone therapy, and estrogen replacement therapy) is the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.

Estrogen Therapy Estrogen Therapy:

Doctors generally suggest a low dose of estrogen for women who have had a hysterectomy, the surgery to remove the uterus. Estrogen comes in different forms. The daily pill and patch are the most popular, but the hormone also is available in a vaginal ring, gel, or spray.

Estrogen pill — Pills are the most common treatment for menopausal symptoms. Among the many forms of pills available are conjugated estrogens (Cenestin, Estrace, Estratab, Femtrace, Ogen, and Premarin) or estrogens-bazedoxifene (Duavee). Follow your doctor’s instructions for dosing. Most estrogen pills are taken once a day without food. Some have more complicated dosing schedules. As noted above, estradiol is the same estrogen that the ovary makes before menopause. (note there are also combination pills that include both estrogen and progestin)

The Therapy

Hormone Replacement

Estrogen patch — the patch is worn on the skin of your abdomen. Depending on the dose, some patches are replaced every few days, while others can be worn for a week. Examples are Alora, Climara, Estraderm, and Vivelle-Dot. Combination estrogen and progestin patches — like Climara Pro and Combipatch — are also available. Menostar has a lower dose of estrogen than other patches, and it’s only used for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It doesn’t help with other menopause symptoms.

Topical Estrogen – Creams, gels and sprays offer other ways of getting estrogen into your system. Examples include gels (like Estroge and Divigell), creams (like Estrasorb), and sprays (like Evamist). As with patches, this type of estrogen treatment is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. The specifics on how to apply these creams vary, although they’re usually used once a day. Estrogel is applied on one arm, from the wrist to the shoulder. Estrasorb is applied to the legs. Evamist is applied to the arm.