A Guide to Good Health

The Pros And Cons Of The Patch Approach To Hormone Replacement Therapy

Deciding to pursue hormone replacement is a big decision. You've weighed the pros and cons, talked to your doctor, and ultimately decided the rewards outweigh the risks for you. But now, you have another choice to make. Which form of hormone replacement will you use? More and more women are turning to skin patches, and patches may be the right choice for you, too. However, you should look over these pros and cons and make your own determination.

The Pros:

1. You only have to change a patch once a week

With hormone replacement pills, you need to remember to take one daily. With the patch, however, you only need to remember to change it once a week. It's easy to set an alarm on your phone and remember to do this. Generally, if you are a few hours late, there are no serious consequences. You're less likely to slip up with the patch, which means your hormone levels will be more consistent, which will generally mean you experience fewer side effects.

2. The estrogen bypasses your liver

If you swallow hormone replacement pills, the hormones will end up being processed in your liver, which can cause problems for some people. With the patch, the hormones go straight into your bloodstream, avoiding your liver, which can be a safer option.

3. You don't have to worry about others being exposed

With pills, there may be a concern someone else will mistake them for another medication and take them accidentally. With hormone replacement creams, you have to worry about the treatment rubbing off on someone. Neither of these problems are issues with the patch.

The Cons:

1. The patch may irritate your skin

Most women do not suffer any serious skin irritation related to the patch, but this is a possibility. If your skin becomes red and sore, you will need to apply your next patch in a different area. If the irritation becomes too bothersome, you will need to try a different hormone replacement method.

2. You can't expose the patch to the sun or heat for long periods

Sunlight will heat up the patch, which may cause it to give off hormones too quickly. If you're someone who spends a lot of time in the sun or heat, the patch may not be ideal for you.

Maybe the hormone replacement patch is right for you, or perhaps you'd prefer a different delivery method. Remember, you can always change methods, too, so if you try the patch and decide it's not as nice as you thought, it's not too late to make a change. 

To learn more about hormone replacement therapy, contact a local medical health professional.