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: Taken orally, the estradiol pill is metabolized by your liver before it reaches your bloodstream. For that reason, this method of delivery is associated with a very slight increase in the risk of getting a clot or stroke when compared to transdermal estradiol. For most women, this is not a significant concern and your doctor can recommend whether the pill or patch is best. If you have a uterus, progesterone is important to take in addition to estradiol because it 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: (No brand name); Evernow uses the estradiol pill
Range of dosage: 0.5mg - 1mg orally/daily
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 safety information.