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Hormone Delivery - HRT - Transdermal Creams, Gels, and Ointments
From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List
What do I need to know about hormones in cream, gel, or ointment form?
If you have questions about transdermal hormone creams, gels, or ointments which are used topically, you are probably dealing with some menopause symptoms
that are affecting your quality of life and overall health. Depending on your needs, lifestyle, symptoms, and health condition, transdermal hormone creams, gels, or ointments may be an option for you.
Transdermal hormone creams, gels, and ointments can be purchased pre-made, or you can have them created specifically for you in a compounding pharmacy. These creams, gels, and ointments are applied topically to the skin where they are absorbed into the bloodstream for the body to use systemically.
Where do the hormones in creams, gels, and ointments come from?
There are bio-identical, non-bioidentical, and synthetic hormones available in creams, gels, and ointments. The bio-identical hormones may be derived from soy or yams. The hormone in Premarin cream, an effective non-biodentical option, is derived from natural equine sources. Bio-identical progesterone in creams, gels, and ointments can be created from yams, and the bio-identical testosterone in creams can be derived from soy or yams. If you prefer, synthetic hormones may also be used in some cases.
What are the benefits of hormones in cream, gel, or ointment form?
Unlike most delivery systems, creams, gels, and ointments can include estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, and they can also contain a combination of those hormones. With creams, gels, and ointments, you have the option of choosing to use them exclusively, or you could choose them to use them to supplement another delivery system.
Hormone creams, gels, and creams created for you in a compounding pharmacy can be made using several different bases, so you can choose one that works well for your skin and absorption needs. When the creams, gels, or ointments are made specifically for you, the dose for each hormone included can also be according to your specific needs.
You can also control the dose of hormones to a degree by how much or how little cream you apply. If symptoms persist, it is easy to add a bit more. If issues develop, you can easily discontinue applying the creams, gels, or ointments.
Hormone creams, gels, and ointments are absorbed transdermally through the skin, so they do not need to first pass through the digestive system. This can also allow you to use a lower dose of hormones for systemic symptom relief and avoid unnecessarily taxing your stomach and liver.
What are the disadvantages of using hormones in cream, gel, or ointment forms?
Hormone creams, gels, and ointments can be a bit messy and inconvenient. All of the cream, gel, or ointment needs to be absorbed to achieve the full benefit of the product, so you must take care to keep the area from being rubbed by clothing, bedding, people, pets, etc. until it is completely dry.
Each woman will absorb creams, gels, and ointments differently, so it may be a bit time consuming to find the right dose and base to alleviate your symptoms. Creams, gels, and ointments can also cause rashes and irritations of the skin, as well as leave an oily residue.
In addition, there are concerns with transdermal hormones
such as creams, gels, and ointments because the hormones can be spread to other persons and even pets. For their safety, it is important to thoroughly wash any cream, gel, or ointment from your hands as well as prevent all persons and animals from coming in contact with the area where the cream has been applied until it has thoroughly dried.
While it can be convenient to have more than one hormone in a cream, ointment, or gel, if one hormone needs adjusted you will have to throw all of the current product away and start fresh which can be very expensive. Having each hormone in a separate cream, gel, or ointment can make adjusting each dose easier, but then you must them deal with multiple products and body sites which must be kept dry and free from people, pets, and products until the creams, gels, or ointments are completely absorbed.
What's best for me?
Given the wide range of transdermal hormone cream, gel, or ointment options, if you choose a topical cream, gel, or ointment you and your medical team will need to work together to determine which could be best for you. You’ll need to make decisions about whether to use pre-made or customized versions, and if you will use the cream, gel, or ointment as your primary hormone therapy or to supplement another delivery method. When going with the customized route, you also will need to make decisions about bases and whether to include one or more hormones in your cream, gel, or ointment.
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.
10-23-2014 - 02:49 PM
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