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HRT Cream: The Benefits of Topical HRT

Hormone imbalances can wreak havoc on the human body, causing many symptoms that can significantly diminish the quality of life. One of the most common hormone imbalances for women occurs during menopause when estrogen levels drop sharply. A drop like this can lead to hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other problems. 

Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help alleviate these symptoms by replenishing the estrogen lost during menopause. HRT comes in many forms, including pills, patches, injections, and creams. Many women find that topical HRT in the form of bioidentical estrogen cream is the most effective and convenient option.

What is HRT Cream?

Unlike systemic hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which involves taking hormones in pill form, topical HRT uses a cream applied directly to the skin. The cream absorbs straight into the bloodstream and provides a more targeted approach to HRT.

Traditional HRT creams and other products come from animal sources; however, there is a plant-based alternative referred to as BHRT – or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Some practitioners claim that BHRT products are more chemically similar to the hormones produced by the human body.

The various types of topical BHRT creams include:

  • Bioidentical progesterone cream
  • Bioidentical testosterone cream
  • Bioidentical estrogen cream

Topical HRT and BHRT creams are available both with and without a prescription. Prescription versions are generally more potent than over-the-counter (OTC) creams, and some insurance companies may cover them.

Benefits of HRT Cream

Topical Hormone Replacement Therapy Cream Makes An Easy Alternative

Though pills are a relatively simple way to take hormone replacement therapy, and injections go straight into the bloodstream, HRT cream is still considered one of the fastest-absorbing and easily used varieties. Let’s review the benefits of using a topical HRT cream.

Ease of Use

Applying a cream is generally much more straightforward than other methods. Solid oral dosage forms (SODFs), or pills, cause problems for people who have trouble swallowing them. Studies have indicated that up to 40 percent of the population struggles with SODF administration.

Another study found that up to 50% of adolescents, 30% of young adults, and 16% of adults fear needles, making injectable HRT a non-starter for many people. Injected HRT also tends to leave scarring and can be painful.

Creams, on the other hand, are easy to apply and non-invasive. They’re also more forgiving if you miss a spot when applying them, and their absorption speed mimics the human body’s natural hormone fluctuations.

Decreased Risk

Hormone replacement therapy comes with many side effects that can make life difficult for patients. These include bloating, swelling, vaginal bleeding, headaches, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms.

Orally ingested estrogen has a slightly increased risk of blood clots, and orally ingested progesterone can cause drowsiness and dizziness. These symptoms often aren’t experienced when the substance is applied topically, however, letting you decrease the risk-reward ratio and more reliably improve the quality of your life.

While topical HRT is not proven to eliminate all side effects, they are much safer for people with liver and cholesterol problems. Using cream also lowers your risk of cancer and cardiovascular events

Lower Cost

One of the major benefits of topical HRT is the price tag associated with it. Injections cost up to $4,800 a year without insurance, while gels and creams only cost up to $1,020 a year. 

The lower cost, the easy accessibility of creams and gels, and the lower chance of side effects make topical hormone therapy an excellent choice for the uninsured and financially disadvantaged. 

Highly Accessible

HRT creams can be used in a variety of circumstances by a variety of different people as well. Men who suffer from hormone imbalances can also use these creams, either from natural aging or illness. 

Creams are also a practical option for transgender individuals looking for alternate methods of HRT on their path to transition.

Topical Hormone Replacement Therapy Cream

Conclusion

Patients can use HRT creams in various circumstances to supplement or replace the body’s hormones. Whether you are a woman experiencing menopausal symptoms for the first time, a man suffering from aging, or someone looking for gender affirmation, HRT creams are one of the most cost-effective forms of hormone replacement therapy. 

References

NHS (2022, May 17). Symptoms – Menopause. NHS UK. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) (2021, August 1). Progestin (Oral Route, Parenteral Route, Vaginal Route). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/

Richardson, R. (2020, September 3). How much does hormone replacement therapy
cost? Hormone Therapy Center of America. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://ht-ca.com/blog/how-much-does-hormone-replacement-therapy-cost/ 

Rosendaal, F.R. et al., (2022, February 1). Female Hormones and Thrombosis. AHA Journals. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/hq0202.102318

Griffin, R. M. (2021, November 30). Which Type of Estrogen Hormone Therapy Is Right for You? WebMD. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/which-type-of-estrogen-hormone-therapy-is-right-for-you#091e9c5e80171079-3-4

National Women’s Health Network (2019, January 15). How Safe Are Low-Dose Estrogen Vaginal Creams? Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://nwhn.org/ive-got-a-question-about-estrogen-creams-my-provider-has-recommended-i-use-estrace-vaginal-cream-and-i-wanted-to-check-in-about-the-carcinogenic-effects-of-doing-something-like-this/

McLenon, J., & Rogers, M. (2019). The fear of needles: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of advanced nursing, 75(1), 30–42. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13818

McCloskey, AP, Penson, PE, Tse, Y, Abdelhafiz, MA, Ahmed, SN, Lim, EJ. (2022, July 18). Identifying and addressing pill aversion in adults without physiological-related dysphagia: A narrative review. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2022; 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.15463

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