For the women who may wish to hasten the hormonal imbalance treatment process, there are a variety of options available.
Keep reading to learn more about how estrogen medications and products can be used to normalize hormonal levels and relieve symptoms once and for all.
For some women, estrogen imbalance symptoms will be so severe that more complex treatment is necessary. In taking the leap into using pharmaceutical options, such as estrogen drugs, side effects are inevitable. Yet, sometimes they can be worth it if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy (EHRT)
The most common drug therapy for treating hormonal imbalance is estrogen hormone replacement therapy, or EHRT. It works to by raising a woman's endogenous hormone levels and is for women who still have a uterus and have not undergone a hysterectomy.
EHRT is taken in one of two forms:
- Estrogen alone. This form of EHRT is commonly referred to as just “estrogen therapy.” Popular FDA-approved options used during estrogen therapy are Premarin®, Enjuvia®, Menest®, and Cenestin®.
- Estrogen combined with progestin. In this form of EHRT, estrogen is combined with a synthetic form of progesterone, known as a progestin. This therapy is often known as “combined hormone therapy.” Examples of FDA-approved combined hormones are Prempro®, Activella®, Combipatch®, and Prefest®.
Furthermore, EHRT is broken down into “systematic” or “local” therapy. These two terms describe how and where hormones behave in the body.
With systematic therapy, the hormones are released into the bloodstream and travel to various organs, glands, and tissues that need them. These can be taken through pills; skin patches; or gels and sprays.
Local therapy is generally only prescribed to women who have vaginal dryness, and forms of application include vaginal rings, tablets, or creams. They release small doses of estrogen into the vaginal tissue to help restore vaginal thickness and elasticity while relieving dryness and irritation.
Overall, HRT may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalances. However, it often entails serious side effects and increases the risk of contracting adverse health conditions, such as breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Women who choose to undergo HRT are advised to do so at the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible with re-evaluation every half year.
Estrogen Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormone therapy is often referred to as “natural hormone therapy.” These hormones act in the body similarly to those that are produced naturally.
They are made from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy. These forms of hormones can be administered as pills, patches, gels, vaginal rings, and creams.
Examples of bioidentical estrogen include Estrace®, Estrogel®, Climara®, Femring®, Vagifem®, and Estrasorb®.
Interestingly, it is believed that the body doesn't distinguish between bioidentical hormones and endogenous hormones. For instance, a blood test of estradiol will reflect natural and bioidentical levels of the estrogen as one value. Also, even though they are considered safer and more effective than HRT, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is little or no evidence to support claims.
Natural Estrogen Products
Using natural estrogen products involves little to no risk and can be an extremely effective way to treat a variety of hormonal imbalances at the source.
In the case of herbal remedies, there are two types that can be used for treating abnormalities in estrogen levels: phytoestrogenic supplements and hormone-regulating supplements.
Supplements made from herbs high in phytoestrogens are weaker versions of natural estrogens that help normalize bodily effects. They safely raise low estrogen levels. Phytoestrogenic herbs include black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, and more.
As a result of using phytoestrogens, a woman's body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This could cause a further decrease of the body's own hormone levels.
Hormone-regulating supplements stimulate natural hormone production by nourishing the pituitary and endocrine glands. This ultimately results in balancing not only estrogen, but also progesterone and testosterone.
These supplements - such as Macafem - can be considered a safe way to treat the symptoms of hormonal imbalance naturally as the body produces its own hormones.
Aside from these estrogen medications and products, there are a variety of natural options available for balancing estrogen levels. Keep reading to discover more about estrogen foods and supplements for a healthier approach to hormonal balance.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Hormone Therapy. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/pfs003.pdf
- Harvard Health Publications. (2006). What are bioidentical hormones? Retrieved July 20, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/what-are-bioidentical-hormones
- Holtorf, K. (2009). The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy? Postgraduate Medicine, 121(1), 73-85. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2009.01.1949
- Liew, L. (2003). The Natural Estrogen Diet and Recipe Books: Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle. California: Hunter House Publishers. Available from Google Books.
- National Institute of Health. (2017). Estrogen and Progestin (Hormone Replacement Therapy) | Estrogen | Hormone Replacement Therapy. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601041.html | https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682922.html | https://medlineplus.gov/hormonereplacementtherapy.html