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How Do I Choose the Best Over-the-Counter Estrogen Products?

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  • Written By: M. Walker
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the best over-the-counter estrogen product will depend on several factors, including the individual’s medical history as well as the product's strength and composition. While some individuals find over-the-counter estrogen creams to be most effective, others prefer taking supplemental estrogen in a pill form. The strength and mechanism of delivery of over-the-counter estrogen products will affect which products will benefit which individuals.

Before beginning any over-the-counter estrogen treatment, it is important to consult a physician. He or she will be able to take a full medical history and assess the risks of various estrogen therapies. Some studies have found that estrogen products can increase the risks of certain cancers, especially in patients who have a family history of these cancers.

For those who are not at any significant risk for health problems, there are many available types of over-the-counter estrogen supplements of varying strengths. Plant-based and herb-based estrogen products contain phytoestrogens, natural chemicals that mimic the structure of estrogen in the human body. Individuals who prefer natural or homeopathic remedies often choose these estrogen products first because they do not contain synthetic hormones. These estrogen supplements are often milder than synthetic estrogens, but some patients have found that eating soy products, or other plants that contain phytoestrogens, is a way to achieve even milder effects.

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Synthetic estrogens contain hormones that are designed to mimic the structure of estrogen. As a result, they also mimic the effects that estrogen has on the body. While many synthetic estrogens are associated with hormonal contraception, they are also available over-the-counter for estrogen replacement therapy. Synthetic estrogen products can be good options for individuals who need stronger estrogen supplementation or for those who need their estrogen levels to be closely monitored, as the dosage in synthetic hormones is more precise than in natural alternatives.

The two main types of over-the-counter estrogen products include creams and pills. Creams are either applied to the skin or inserted into the vagina, where the hormones will diffuse into the bloodstream. Pills are ingested and the hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system. Some argue that natural estrogen supplements are less effective when ingested in pill form, as the body can break them down before they have a chance to enter the bloodstream. Regardless of the treatment method, it is important to carefully follow the instructions for taking the estrogen products, and to accurately adhere to the dosage recommendations.

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Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

I like the herb based over-the-counter tablets. They work really well for post-menopause, especially hot flashes. I used to get so many hot flashes before I started taking these and it's almost completely gone now.

I actually also tried some herb teas that are said to be natural estrogen. I drank garden sage tea for a while. It did help a little, but it really is hard to control how much estrogen you're getting, so I went back to the tablets.

I've never wanted to take prescription tablets because my doctor said that they are very strong and it's unnecessary in my situation. Over-the-counter tablets are weaker and better for post-menopause symptoms.

discographer
Post 2

@burcidi-- I have used both prescription and over-the-counter. I don't know if they can be compared really, because I think the prescription estrogen is made of a different type of estrogen than over-the-counter ones. Over-the-counter ones are always phytoestrogen whereas I think prescription ones are synthetic estrogen which is closer to real estrogen that our body produces. That's why they're also more expensive.

If you've decided to switch over to over-the-counter, I would recommend using a progesterone cream. Over-the-counter estrogen creams are much better than the pills, because like the article mentioned, a lot of the estrogen is lost when it goes through the digestive system. This means that if you're using pills, you have to take more of them to get the same amount of estrogen that you would be getting from a cream.

Using more of any medications means there could be more side-effects. When I use over-the-counter medicines, I try to use as little as possible because the long-term effects of some of these drugs are not well known and this includes estrogen products. So try a plant based cream, like yam and see how that works for you.

burcidi
Post 1

I have been on prescription estrogen pills for several months. They work great but have a lot of side effects and are pretty expensive. I checked out some of the over-the counter estrogen pills at the pharmacy and was surprised about how little they cost compared to the prescription ones. I have a lousy health insurance which barely covers anything and I have to pay a lot of difference for any medications.

Has anyone been using over-the-counter estrogen pills and used prescription ones before? Can you compare the two and do you have an over-the-counter one you would suggest?

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