Since my hysterectomy, my doctor put me on the estrogen patch. She told me to put a patch on twice a week. Sometimes I forget to put one on. I usually put a patch on once a week. I always put it on my right arm in a different area each time.
My OBGYN said I don't have to use the patch if I don't want to if I can deal with the hot flashes and night sweats.
My family doctor told me that I need to use the patch (or pills) because I'm 45 years old and need estrogen until I'm 50.
Which is right?
Can I use the patch once a week? Or should I use it twice a week to get the estrogen I need? I'm on the lowest dose, 0.05mg.
Which estrogen patch are you using? I don't know of one which suggests wearing it on the arm--the directions of the ones that I'm familiar with say to apply the patches to the abdomen, below the waistline, alternating from side to side with each change. I am on the Vivelle Dot and wear mine on my rear, alternating from side to side, because absorption back there is about 20% better. I change them twice a week so that the dosing stays consistent. I'm not a big fan of fluctuating hormone levels and the symptoms that come with those fluctuations.
The 0.05 dose you're on is a medium dose. If you're using Vivelle Dot, the range of doses from lowest to highest is 0.025, 0.0375, 0.05, 0.075 and 0.1. Climara estrogen patches come in one additional dose of 0.06.
Whether or not to use estrogen is a personal decision. I was 46 when I had my surgery (TAH/BSO) and I'm 53 now and still using hormone therapy. Unless there is sound medical reason for me to stop using hormone therapy my plan is to continue using it forever, which is a decision supported by my doctor. I am careful to keep up on my well woman care which includes an annual mammogram, pelvic and breast exams, Pap test and whatever other tests my doctor feels are necessary. Keep in mind that women who have been through natural menopause have ovaries which continue to produce beneficial hormones, though at a lesser amount than prior to menopause.
There's interesting reading in the Hormone Jungle Articles which you may find helpful as you decide what is right for you.
(((Bernice))), you're right that it definitely shouldn't be put on the breasts. Check the package insert or if you don't have one, check the Vivelle website for the prescribing information. I'm positive that it's to be worn below the waste. When it's time to apply a new patch, try putting it on your abdomen. Placed there you should absorb the correct dose--something that may happen on other areas of the body.
I doubt you did any harm. Check with your doctor for peace of mind. Have you been having any of the typical symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, etc.? Symptoms are a pretty good indicator as to whether you're getting enough estrogen or not. Here's a link to an article with hormone imbalance symptoms: Too Much/Too Little.
Good idea on calling the pharmacist. I think you should place the patch where it will be the least likely to be affected by clothing and body movement. So long as it's below the waistline is shouldn't really matter whether it's above or below the incision. You'll find the place which works best for you.
I had the same surgery as you 5 weeks ago. I am on the Vivelle dot, too. I had this same discussion with my doctor just this week! She said that due to my age, there is no reason to suffer from the symptoms. She said that the patch has a few advantages, namely that you get small does all day and night whereas the pill starts to wear off during the night and cause night sweats or interrupt sleeping. But she said if I was having trouble remembering to change the patch 2 times per week and would prefer the pill, she will gladly switch me. I decided that I would figure out a way to remember changing the patch ( I put a reminder on my iphone calendar) since I didn't want the nighttime problems associated with the pill. Also, before I forget, if you have a history of high blood pressure in your family (which I do), the patch is better for you than the pill. She said that research is always changing and may prove eventually that this is not true, but for now that is what the research says.
Since I just started on the patch 2 weeks ago, I am familiar with the directions. It says to place it on the abdomen under your belly button. I had a bikini cut, so I put it on the left side one week 1/2 way between the cut and my belly button, and then switch to the right side the next time (per directions included and my doctor). I showed my doctor at my last post-op appt. and asked if I was applying it correctly and she said I was.
Fun times...life with a patch...but the trade off is no more pain and periods!!!