Estragel or estrogen cream non-vaginal

sheila huckeNovember 22, 2001

Am from Quebec, Canada & met 2 women who told me they are using an estrogen cream on their arm instead of patches & are satisfied. Anyone using this since it's new to me & all i see in the forums is progesterone cream not estrogen gel or cream. Apparently the skin absorbs it better on the arms & more directly than patches. Cannot compare to other hrt-I just know 2 on the cream who wore patches like I do(Vivelle in my case 50 mg) Thanks

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The estrogen topical cremes I looked into were primarily soy based so should work similar. You could apply it based on symptoms and should get relatively quick relief. Since they were soy based and much more expensive than the soy tablets, I chose to go with the tablets.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 11:16AM
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I use an estrogen cream which is rubbed onto the skin of arms or thighs. It is a prescription, not over the counter. It has to be made by a compounding pharmacist. I like it very much. I tried the patches but was allergic to the adhesive and the dose was too high for me, so I asked my doctor to prescribe the cream. This way I can use the least amount of hormone necessary to relieve my hot flashes.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2001 at 10:31PM
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There is no such thing as an otc estrogen cream available in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia or New Zealand. Any supposed otc estrogen crream cannot possibly contain any real estrogen because the sale of this drug is not permitted without a prescription.

Estrogen made out of soy has no relationship to the supposed "phytoestrogens" in soy- i.e. you can't take a soy pill and get the same active ingredient that you would get from a cream/patch/pill containing an estrogen made from soy as the raw material. That synthesis can only be done in a lab. The human body isn't capable of doing it. The same is true of synthesis of progesterone from the Mexican Yam. The body cannot perform that synthesis either.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2001 at 12:50PM
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Expanding on what others have said, the estrogen creams and gels for skin, as opposed to vaginal, use are prescription forms, made up by a compounding pharmacist to a prescription written by your own doctor (the pharmacist can help him with that if he is unfamiliar with how to write this kind of prescription). There are compounding pharmacists in Canada and they can make up these forms of HRT, but they are somewhat harder to locate (less common) than in the US.

The main difference between using a topical cream/gel and using a patch is that the patch gives a steady release over the life of the patch (more or less) where the topicals give more of a curved effect, peaking after the dose and then dropping off till the next dose. Whether or not that makes a difference to any particular woman seems to be an individual thing: some dose with topicals once or twice a day and do fine; others have to go to multiple doses to avoid too much variation in hormone levels. The vehicle (there are a number of different cream bases, not to mention the gel) and where you put it (fatty tissue versus not) also affect the length and shape of the absorption/circulation curve. So, as with everything else menopausal, there's a lot of personal variation and you may have to experiment some to find the best one for your own body.

There are, as Leigh notes, no effective over the counter variations on estrogen creams and gels.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2001 at 6:51PM
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In Canada, Estrogel is a brand name drug manufactured by Schering Canada. Its active ingredient is estradiol and it comes in a bottle with a metered-dose pump.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2001 at 12:16AM
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