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For menopause estrogen replacement therapy, are estrogen patches safer than estrogen pills?

ANSWER

While some experts believe that estrogen patches may be safer than oral estrogen, it's too early to know. So, for now, assume that estrogen patches pose most of the same risks -- a very small increase in the risk of serious problems, like cancer and stroke. They also have many similar, although perhaps milder, side effects. These include painful and swollen breasts, vaginal discharge, headache, and nausea. Avoid high heat or direct sunlight. Heat can make some patches release the estrogen too quickly, giving you too high a dose at first and then too low a dose later.

SOURCES:

ACP Medicine web site: "Menopause."

Canonico M et al, , Feb. 20, 2007; vol 115: pp 840-845. Circulation

MedicineNet web site: "Hormone Creams: Safe and Effective?"

National Cancer Institute web site: "How to Deal with Surgical Menopause."

National Institutes of Health web site: "Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy."

National Institutes of Health Medline Plus web site: "Estrogen," "Estrogen Vaginal," "Estradiol Topical," "Estradiol Transdermal."

  Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, , November 2006; vol 86: pp S75-S88. Fertility and Sterility

National Women's Health information Center: "Menopause and Menopause Treatments." WebMD Medical Reference: "Estrogen Replacement Therapy," "Low Dose Estrogen for Dryness and Atrophy."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on May 29, 2017

SOURCES:

ACP Medicine web site: "Menopause."

Canonico M et al, , Feb. 20, 2007; vol 115: pp 840-845. Circulation

MedicineNet web site: "Hormone Creams: Safe and Effective?"

National Cancer Institute web site: "How to Deal with Surgical Menopause."

National Institutes of Health web site: "Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy."

National Institutes of Health Medline Plus web site: "Estrogen," "Estrogen Vaginal," "Estradiol Topical," "Estradiol Transdermal."

  Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, , November 2006; vol 86: pp S75-S88. Fertility and Sterility

National Women's Health information Center: "Menopause and Menopause Treatments." WebMD Medical Reference: "Estrogen Replacement Therapy," "Low Dose Estrogen for Dryness and Atrophy."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on May 29, 2017

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What are estrogen replacement therapy topical creams, gels, and sprays?

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