Estrogen is the predominant female sex hormone. It is the hormone responsible for the regulation and development of the female reproductive system. Estrogens used vaginally may be used to treat inflammation of the urethra or vagina or vulvar atrophy. They can also be used to lessen the symptoms of natural or surgical menopause. Estrogens increase the amount of clear vaginal discharge, which can eliminate vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and urinary frequency and urgency. Estrogens taken orally may also help prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women by decreasing calcium loss.
Bi-estrogen is also utilized as a form of hormone replacement therapy and is a combination of estriol and estradiol. Estriol, estradiol and estrone are all forms of estrogen.
Estrogens are available as creams, vaginal ring inserts, suppositories, and tablets. The strength of the medication, dosing frequency, and the length of time the medication is taken can vary from patient to patient based on the medical problem being treated.
The method of administration varies depending on the form of estrogen being taken. Patients should carefully read dosing instructions and package inserts regarding the method of application before using the medication for the first time. Women who have not had a hysterectomy may also be prescribed the hormone progesterone in combination with estrogen, which can trigger vaginal bleeding similar to a normal menstrual cycle.
Estrogen may not be appropriate for patients with a history of blood clots, migraines, breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, or a history of unusual vaginal bleeding, heart attack or stroke. As a general rule, women should take estrogen in the lowest dose and for the shortest time that will provide therapeutic results.
Low-dose estrogens typically cause minimal, if any, side effects. The most common side effects include enlarged or tender breasts and spotting or changes in menstrual periods. Some side effects may lessen as the body adjusts to the estrogen.
Women should avoid using estrogen during pregnancy or while nursing. Estrogen has an increased incidence of side effects, including invasive breast cancer, memory problems, and stroke, in women over 65. You can trust us to provide quality, affordable commercial and compounded medications for all of your health care needs. Contact one of our pharmacists today for more information.
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