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Hormone Delivery - HRT - Oral Pills

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Hormone Delivery - HRT - Oral PillsI am considering using hormone pills. What do I need to know about them before choosing this option?


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) comes in many different forms and doses, so it can be confusing trying to choose the right one for you. The most common delivery method is a pill, generally swallowed once a day without food.

You can choose pills that contain either bio-identical hormones or non-bioidentical hormones. Hormones in pill form provide systemic relief for several common menopause symptoms and related health concerns.

Where do the hormones in pills come from?


What the hormones are derived from will depend on which pill you choose. Many bio-identical options, such as Estrace, are created from molecules extracted from yams or soy that are then synthesized in a lab. Non-bioidentical options may be created from a combination of natural equine estrogens (Premarin) or synthetic conjugated estrogens (Enjuvia) that are also synthesized in a lab. There can even be combinations of hormones in pills such as with Prempro which is a contains both Premarin, a natural equine estrogens, and Provera, a synthetic progestin.

What are the benefits of hormones in pill form?


There can be several benefits to using hormones in pill form. If you find you have an adverse reaction to the pills, they are easily stopped. There are some very inexpensive versions available. They are not messy and can easily be taken with you when necessary.

Hormone pills provide hormones to the entire body and not just a localized area. Thus, they can treat a wide variety of menopause symptoms and health conditions.

Also, since pills are a well-studied delivery system for hormones your doctor may be more knowledgeable about this type of hormone therapy. S/he may be more aware of the wide variety of options and the risks and benefits for each, and can share data with you detailing their long term use.

What are the disadvantages of using hormones in pill form?


One of the disadvantages of using hormone pills is remembering to take them. While most are taken daily, your doctor may choose a different plan for you that you’ll need to remember to follow. If you miss a pill, pesky menopause symptoms can return.

Also, hormone pills are not always absorbed well which can leave you with uncomfortable menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. Oral estrogen can also cause vaginal discharge, headaches, nausea, and painful or swollen breasts.

Lastly, when taken orally, hormones pill form must first pass through the liver before entering the blood stream. This can stress the liver as well as cause up to 95% of the hormone to be lost in this process. You could also experience an increase in cholesterol as a result of your liver needing to metabolize the hormone pill. If you already taken oral medications, have stomach issues, and/or have a liver concern, using a pill form of hormone therapy may not be best for you.

What's best for me?


As with any medication, there are pros and cons to consider. Before choosing this method of hormone therapy, you’ll need to work with your doctor to determine if this choice is right for you and your situation.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

10-13-2014 - 08:35 PM


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