HRT: Choosing the Right Fit Between Systemic and Local Estrogen Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is used to replenish the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone which fluctuate and decline as we age.  Supplementing these hormones helps fight the symptoms of menopause and helps prevent the development of long-term illnesses that can result from long-term hormone deficiencies.  The goal of HRT is to enable the body to maintain healthy, balanced hormone levels in order to maintain sound holistic health.  The best HRT, like the HRT used at Androgenix, is plant based and bioidentical.  Bioidentical hormones are superior because their function is identical to the function of hormones that are produced naturally in the body.

Women who are starting the period of perimenopause or are experiencing menopause may begin to notice physical, emotional, and mental changes.  Feelings of fatigue and insomnia are common.  Hot flashes and night sweats plague many women.  They notice drier skin and thinner hair.  Energy levels fluctuate and many women report feeling constantly tired and overwhelmed by life. Women complain about a loss of sexual drive and vaginal dryness which leads to painful intercourse.  These are just a few of the effects of low hormone levels that menopausal women suffer from as their hormone levels fluctuate and drop.  Unfortunately, low estrogen also puts women at risk for developing osteoporosis and brittle bones.  Low estrogen levels also tend to allow the body to retain fat around the stomach area which isn’t good for  maintaining a healthy heart.

If you are experiencing hormonal changes, you have probably thought about hormone supplementation.  Speak with your doctor because it is important to understand the underlying factors that are affecting your body.  Women go through menopause at a variety of ages and you want to rule out any serious medical issues that may be causing hormone imbalances.  Once you’ve decided to use a type of estrogen replacement therapy you will work with a trained medical professional, like those at Androgenix, to determine not only the specific therapy you need but to decide what is the best delivery method.

There are two main types of estrogen therapy delivery systems for women.  The first is systemic estrogen therapy which uses the bloodstream as its delivery system,  The medication enters the bloodstream using some form of oral medication, such as pills or capsules, some type of skin patch, or a type of spray. Systemic hormone treatment contains higher levels of estrogen that are absorbed throughout the body.  It is used to treat the common issues associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and low estrogen levels.

The second type of HRT delivery system is called local estrogen therapy.  It is administered topically using creams, vaginal rings, or tablets.  Lower doses of estrogen are released into the body using local therapy. It works in a similar fashion to using hand crème for dry skin. It is usually used only to treat the vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause. Local estrogen therapy acts locally on the vaginal skin; little or no estrogen enters the bloodstream. The most common side effect of this type of estrogen therapy is a milky vaginal discharge. This type of low dose estrogen therapy is usually administered twice a week for about a year before reevaluation.

Each of these two treatments works differently from the other.  Each type has certain benefits that the other doesn’t have.  It’s important to go over the pros and cons of each hormone treatment delivery system with your healthcare specialist.  The most striking difference between the two is that local therapy only treats neighboring tissues while systemic therapy offers a more holistic effect.  The safety and effectiveness of any treatment can vary depending on individual health risks, the type of hormone therapy, the dosage, and the length of treatment.  It is important to discuss with your healthcare specialist the potential side effects of any type of treatment you are thinking about starting so that personalized advice can be provided based on your health history and current individual situation.

How Androgenix Can Help

If you wonder whether estrogen therapy might be right for you, talk with our staff and doctor about the risks and benefits. If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or have any other concerns about your health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff. Visit our office to get complete blood work and a physical examination.  You will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects on a regular basis. The team at Androgenix are here to support you in your journey for a better, healthier you. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners will help diagnose and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.  Every person who enters our doors is treated as an individual deserving of care and respect.  We can help you feel and look better.  Give us a call today.



*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.