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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Over-the-Counter Estrogen Cream?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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When considering over-the-counter estrogen cream to help relieve the symptoms of menopause, it is important to look at both the pros and cons. On the positive side, these creams are readily available and do not require a doctor’s prescription. There is also some evidence that they can help reduce problems like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, their production is not well regulated, which means that the amount of estrogen in one cream may be very different from the amount in another, and there may even be differences between batches of the same brand. Using these creams may also carry some of the same health risks as using prescription creams, and do not have the benefit of a doctor’s supervision.

One of the main benefits of over-the-counter estrogen cream is its availability. Women suffering from menopausal symptoms can easily purchase it without having to wait to see their doctor. They may be able to use it to find quick relief if symptoms become extremely uncomfortable and they have no other options.

Using over-the-counter estrogen cream would not be much help if it did not work, but some research has shown that it can relieve menopause symptoms. Vaginal dryness may be reduced by applying some creams. Women concerned about the appearance of their skin as they age may find that some estrogen creams can reduce wrinkles and large pores. There is also some evidence that it can help control hot flashes.

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While there are potential benefits of over-the-counter estrogen cream, the lack of regulation of its production is a significant concern. Unlike prescription creams, which typically include a consistent amount of estrogen, those sold over the counter are not required to follow any standard. This means that one company’s product can be very different from another’s, making it difficult for women to know how much estrogen they are really getting. If care is not used during production, there may even be significant variations between batches of products in the same line.

Some women may use an over-the-counter estrogen cream in the hopes that this will help them avoid the potential health issues associated with hormone replacement. However, even if the cream contains lower amounts of estrogen or other hormones than a prescription, there is no proof that it may not still carry the same risks. Hormone replacement can cause some serious issues, including cancer and heart disease. Using an over-the-counter product also takes a woman’s doctor out of the picture, meaning no one is monitoring for these potential problems.

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