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Transdermal Creams Confirmed As Best For Hormone Use

The New York Times reported on how best to tackle menopausal symptoms, and transdermal progesterone gets a thumbs up. If you want to know why applying to the skin is more effective than other methods read on.


There is often some doubt about whether applying a simple cream can help with menopause symptoms, but if the cream contains bioidentical hormones, then that is indeed the case.

Of all the methods of taking hormones, applying to the skin has been shown to be the most effective.

Why bioidentical hormones?

Ever since the report of the WHI (women Health Initiative) raised concerns about the use of HRT both for its high and often unopposed levels of oestrogen, and the side effects associated with the synthetic progestins that are often in included in it.

In the UK the maximum recommended time on HRT is five years, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also revised its guidelines for effective treatment of the symptoms of menopause.

Hot flushes are the most troublesome symptom of menopause and simply replacing oestrogen, which has been the standard practice, was largely discredited by the findings of the long-term clinical trial called the Women’s Health Initiative.

It found that the most popular form of hormone replacement, a pill that combined oestrogen and synthetic progestin, increased a woman’s risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and blood clots.

This caused many women to rethink HRT and to look for more natural methods to help with flushes. Alternatives from soy products to herbs such as black cohosh and sage are popular, but there has been no conclusive evidence to say there were effective against menopause symptoms.

New information on treatments for menopause symptoms

At the time of the WHI report, bioidentical hormones were not being widely used and the work of Dr John Lee – the pioneer of progesterone cream usage – was not well known.

Now bioidentical progesterone, oestrogen, and a combined bioidentical progesterone and oestrogen cream are available to help women with symptoms of menopause in a more natural way.

However, there is a bulletin, prepared by Dr. Clarisa R. Gracia, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Pennsylvania, which has examined the various claims and scores of studies.

It offers treatment recommendations based on the best available evidence and it seems that oestrogen alone, or in combination with a natural progesterone, is the “most effective therapy” for curbing hot flushes, the report found.

Approval for transdermal hormone creams

However, the report also said that the transdermal route is considered safer as when absorbed through the skin, the hormones bypass the liver, which would otherwise create substances that might raise the risk of heart attack or cancer.

Also hormones given orally have to be in much higher dosages to compensate for the loss that occurs as they are processed through the liver, and bioidentical cream formula hormones can be in much smaller doses to be effective.

The report found little or no data to support the use of herbal remedies, vitamins, phytoestrogens (like isoflavones, soy and red clover) or acupuncture to relieve hot flushes although many women anecdotally do find such remedies helpful for less severe symptoms.

It did recommend “common sense lifestyle solutions” like dressing in layers, lowering room temperatures, consuming cool drinks, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. For overweight women, weight loss can also help.

These are sensible ideas, and ones most women will certainly already be aware of, and the issue of being overweight is certainly a common issue at menopause.

It is related to the fact that oestrogen is no longer being produced in the ovaries and so the body switches production into the fat cells. Thighs means that there is more weight on the stomach, abdomen and thighs and what women see as more belly fat or a ‘muffin top;.

Also, because more oestrogen is being produced there, and therefore there are more signs of oestrogen dominance and the associated risks.


The positive from the report from those wishing a natural alternative to HRT is the acknowledgement that transdermal application of hormones is the most effective method – and that is exactly what you get with bioidentical hormone creams.

The majority of women are offered HRT of oestrogen and a synthetic progestin for their symptoms at menopause. However, for those who wish to avoid HRT, and have found herbal remedies or dietary changes to be largely ineffective, then using bioidentical hormones is the solution an increasing number of women are turning to.

Helpful information:

Rebalancing with progesterone to oppose excess oestrogen is also recommended by Doctors experienced in bioidentical hormone usage.

Also bioidentical progesterone cream can be used vaginally to help with dryness for women who cannot tolerate oestrogen. A combined progesterone/oestrogen cream or separate bioidentical oestrogen and progesterone creams can be more specifically helpful for this condition.

If you are not sure which hormone you may need to supplement then this article can help.