Patch vs Pills for Estrogen Replacement

a doctor's prescription pad
Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Many women struggle with lack of interest in sex after menopause. Lower estrogen with menopause may result in vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and—because estrogen helps regulate the parts of the brain that control mood and desire—libido takes a hit as well. Many women come to primary care doctors for help when sexual desire is lacking and they want to get back to the days when they felt desire and satisfaction.

Pharmacologic therapies to improve libido in women are limited at best and while combination estrogen and progesterone therapy after menopause may help, it does matter how you take it.

This month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, results of a large study were released that showed the use of estrogen patches—but not pills—significantly improved libido.

Here’s what we know:

What has worked for you?

Dr O.

Reference
Effects of Oral vs Transdermal Estrogen Therapy on Sexual Function in Early Menopause. JAMA Internal Medicine published online August 28th 2017.

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