There are some great combos in life. Peanut butter and chocolate. Strawberries and champagne. Estrogen and progestin. Both are natural hormones found in the body and go great together. The reason is that estrogen and progesterone help regulate fertility and menstruation as a team (amongst other essential functions). So, when taken together, the combined estrogen and progestin can be the most effective alternative combination.
The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone in women. Men make it too in the adrenal glands and testes, just in smaller amounts. But if you have low estrogen levels, you may need hormone replacement therapy. There are different hormone therapies, but combination products with estrogen and progesterone work best together to balance your hormones.
While estrogen and progesterone are commonly used in birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, the combination of hormone therapy helps ease menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal atrophy. The combination estrogen is usually prescribed for women who still have their uterus.
Taking progesterone with estrogen decreases your risk of endometrial cancer. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, and the leading cause of uterine cancer is too much estrogen compared to progesterone in the body.
Estrogen thickens the uterus in preparation for egg implantation, but an increase in progesterone occurs if an egg doesn’t implant. Increased progesterone helps shed the lining and the menstrual period begins.
But if there’s not enough progesterone, the lining remains thick, and this build-up can lead to cancer. If you don’t have a uterus, then taking progesterone with estrogen the protective effects isn’t as important.
Menopause typically affects women in their early 50s, but some women experience symptoms years before. According to the North American Menopause Society, for some, the symptoms are mild, but menopause wreaks with the body for others. The symptoms of menopause include the following:
Menopausal hormone therapy provides a balance of hormones to help ease these painful symptoms. The reason is that menopause is caused by low estrogen or the menopause hormone. But this implies that your levels slowly taper off as you enter menopause.
In fact, your hormones plummet. Your body has to deal quite suddenly with this drop, resulting in significant side effects, making replacement therapy one of the best ways to ease the symptoms.
Besides combination therapy with estrogen and progesterone, you can have hormone therapy with a single hormone.
Estrogen hormone therapy is a kind of therapy using estrogen hormone, commonly prescribed to help the symptoms of menopause. It stops or alleviates short-term side effects of menopause, such as irregular sleep patterns, hot flashes, and vaginal atrophy. ERT may also prevent osteoporosis, a result of low estrogen levels. It’s also referred to as replacement therapy.
Progesterone hormone therapy, like ERT, is a kind of hormone therapy. It uses the female hormone progesterone. It’s usually taken in conjunction with ERT, especially for women who still have a uterus.
But if your levels of estrogen are high, you may need progesterone to balance the estrogen. Some signs of low progesterone could be an irregular menstrual cycle, a short menstrual cycle, or fertility issues.
From ERT to combination therapy using estrogen and progesterone, all types of hormone therapy come in different ways to manufacture the hormones. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is considered more natural because it uses natural ingredients to match your body's exact hormones.
The man made hormones come from plant estrogens that match the chemical your body produces. Traditional hormone therapy uses synthetic hormones and the urine of horses.
There’s a lot of debate about which one is better, but plant-based hormones come from the earth and mixed to perfectly match the natural hormones in your body, while traditional hormone therapy is more unnatural.
In the decades since the landmark study by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), there has been a lot of debate about hormone therapy by medical professionals. As stated on the North American Menopause Society’s website, menopausal women using hormone therapy will find relief from symptoms (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.) with hormone therapy.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The Endocrine Society agree as well. But they should also be aware of the risk associated with replacement therapy. It’s agreed that women should only take ERT for five continuous years or less.
Like taking birth control pills, ERT does have a slight risk for blood clots or increased breast cancer risk. This is only true if the woman has taken ERT/EPT for more than five years. And the risk is rare for people aged 50 to 59. Using estrogen by itself for up to seven years did not increase cancers in women in the WHI trial.
Hormone therapy is the single most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms and any kind of increased risk stops after therapy ends.
Sometimes too much choice in life can be a bad thing. Well, when it comes to combination therapy with estrogen and progesterone, you do have a few choices for how you supplement but not all are equal.
Vaginal estrogen comes in suppositories or creams that you insert into the vagina. This may be best for vaginal dryness or quick relief from thin, papery vaginal tissues.
Low-dose hormone pills are another standard method for hormone therapy. You can take doses of estrogen or progesterone just like you’d take a multivitamin. But pills can be hard to swallow, and the effects take longer to circulate around the body.
The best way to administer hormones is through transdermal creams or skin patches. You apply the prescribed amount onto your skin and rub it gently. The hormones soak through your skin and into your bloodstream. It soothes your skin and provides the necessary estrogen and progesterone you need to feel better.
Estrogen and progesterone are effective when combined together to balance hormones. For women who still have a uterus, taking both is necessary to ensure no increased risk for endometrial cancer.