HRT patches are used by many women to reduce menopause symptoms. Here's a brief overview of patches and how they work.
What Are HRT Patches?
HRT (hormone-replacement therapy) can be administered via skin patches. These patches can be self-adhesive and are placed on the skin below your waistline or on your buttocks. You should not place the patches near your breasts.
The hormones in each patch are a set amount that is gradually released into the bloodstream and body throughout the day to relieve menopausal symptoms. You can choose from either estrogen-only patches or combined HRT (estrogen plus progesterone), depending on the prescription.
Why use HRT Patches?
Patches may be an option if you have trouble remembering to take your daily tablets or are unable take medication orally. The patchesneed to be replaced every few days, however it varies depending on which brand you use.
How are they usually administered?
Apply patches to dry, clean skin. To avoid irritation, don't place the next patch on the same spot as the previous one. You will need to replace your HRT patch depending on the dose you are taking.
Side Effects of HRT Patches?
HRT patch side effects that are common include nausea, bloating and breast tenderness, headaches, and bloating. Because it's applied as an adhesive, skin patches can cause irritation - these are normal & are not something to be concerned about.
Side effects may vary between HRT types. Take a look at our post on the side effects of HRT for more info.
Like the name suggestd, these patches just deliver estrogen to your body. These are safe to use on their own if you don't have a womb as you won't need to take progesterone to prevent your uterine lining from building up.
You will need to use progesterone alongside your patch however if you have a womb. Because without progesterone your uterine wall will become more clogged, which can lead to health issues such as endometriosis and uterine cancer.
You can also opt to take combined HRT patches. This will eliminate the need to worry about taking estrogen and another form of progesterone. Combination HRT patches include both estrogen and progesterone. They are released slowly into the body throughout the day.
You will usually receive two types of patches in your package. The patches will be labeled. One patch is for the first half (and contains only estrogen), while the other patch will cover the second half (and contains both progesterone and estrogen).
Which are the best HRT patches available?
There are many types of HRT patches, and there is no one best type. What matters most is whether the prescribed dosage suits your body. If your initial patch is not satisfactory you can switch brands and adjust your dosage, you may need to wait a little longer before you find the right treatment for you.
Some people with sensitive skin may prefer a gel to a patch as reactions may occur from adhesives. Talk to your doctor if you feel this is the case.