What it is: Natural estradiol is derived from plant-based sources, and it replenishes your body’s decreasing estrogen levels during menopause. Because it’s identical to the estrogen your body produces, estradiol is the most effective treatment for symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances. In studies, estrogen is proven to alleviate and reduce hot flashes. In one study, it was even found to eliminate hot flashes in up to 80% of women and to reduce the frequency and severity in the remainder.
How it works: A patch administers estradiol through your skin directly into your bloodstream. Because it bypasses your liver, this method of delivery is associated with a lower risk of clots in your legs, lungs and brain (ie: deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or stroke). If you have a uterus, it is important to take progesterone (in addition to the patch) because this keeps the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) thin and reduces your risk of endometrial cancer.
What the research says: In its 2017 position statement, The North American Menopause Society said that hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, painful sex and osteoporosis. The Endocrine Society clinical practice guidelines also state that the benefits of hormone therapy may exceed the risks if you are a healthy women within ten years of menopause.
Brand name: Climara patch; Evernow uses the generic estradiol patch
Range of dosage: 0.025mg - 0.1mg patch weekly
Safety information: If you have a history of breast cancer or other estrogen-sensitive cancers, coronary heart or artery disease, a previous clot or stroke or vaginal bleeding that has not been evaluated by a doctor, estradiol may not be right for you. You should speak to your in-person care provider to determine your best treatment options. To learn more about the risks and benefits of estradiol and to read the boxed warning, see this Estradiol patch safety information.