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Hormone therapy involves the replacement of estrogen and/or progesterone in order to alleviate symptoms associated with pre-menopause and menopause. Estrogen replacement is also offered to help diminish your risk of getting osteoporosis and to increase your life span. Estrogen cream is one form of estrogen replacement used to alleviate vaginal dryness; there are four types of estrogen cream including Estradiol, Estropipate, Dinestrol and conjugated equine estrogen, all of which supply a low dose of estrogen.
Estrogen is a female hormone created by the ovaries. It controls a variety of bodily functions including calcium absorption, cholesterol level regulation, the elasticity of your skin, and the tonicity of the bladder and uterus. During pre-menopause and menopause, your ovaries begin to shut down and stop producing progesterone and estrogen, which causes bodily hormone levels to become imbalanced. The hormone imbalance is evidenced by symptoms such as:
- hot flashes
- dry skin
- bladder difficulties
- vaginal dryness
Estrogen creams are used to alleviate vaginal dryness, and to help improve the tonicity of the uterus and bladder.
Estrogen and Weight Gain
When you first begin to use oral estrogen replacements, patches, and/or estrogen creams, you might note some weight gain which is primarily due to water retention. The water retained by the body is only temporary weight gain. Lower doses of estrogen will help to eliminate issues with water weight gain and if it is a concern for you, a conversation with your doctor might be needed 1. The five to 10 pounds normally gained during menopause is due to the natural aging process, and estrogen creams do not increase the amount of weight gained during pre-menopause or menopause.
Weight Gain during Menopause
During menopause, your metabolic rate slows considerably, and this is the primary reason why weight gain occurs. You will also want to reduce your intake of sugary and fatty foods. Finally, regular aerobic exercise, three times weekly will help keep muscles toned and help boost your metabolic rate and increase your energy levels.
Estrogen Cream Alternatives
Estrogen creams are used to help keep vaginal dryness at bay. These creams further help to tone the bladder and the urethra, which have estrogen receptors. Low doses of estrogen are provided via the application of the cream. If you are concerned about the temporary water weight gain, you can use lubricants such as Replens and K-Y Jelly as an alternative. Petroleum jelly can also be used in lieu of estrogen cream
- Cleveland Clinic for information on estrogen cream and weight gain.
- The Menopause Sourcebook, Third Edition; Gretchen Henkel; 2001.