Estrogen creams are available to ease symptoms of estrogen deficiency like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Caused by menopause, surgery or medical conditions such as ovarian failure, estrogen deficiency can be treated with the use of readily available estrogen-based creams that provide a lower dose of estrogen than oral estrogen medications. Applied directly to the vaginal skin, estrogen creams are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and are available in different strengths.
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Conjugated equine estrogen cream, or CEE, is cream that contains synthetic estrogens that are scientifically close to what the human body produces naturally. Premarin cream is a commonly prescribed brand of conjugated cream that contains estrogens derived from the urine of pregnant horses as well as human-estrogen salts. Premarin can be therapeutic for women who are not producing enough estrogen and suffer from postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. The Mayo Clinic suggests that women suffering from vaginal dryness can benefit from the use of estrogen cream because of its rapid absorption into the blood and ability to relieve symptoms.
Estradiol is made in the ovaries of premenopausal women. Before menopause, estradiol is the most abundantly produced estrogen, and it begins to diminish rapidly after menopause. Estradiol cream is made from plants that have estrogen components that are chemically the same as human estradiol. This cream is often used to treat vaginal atrophy, or thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls, as well as other postmenopausal vaginal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, frequent burning with urination and irritation. Estradiol cream is commonly known under the brand name Estrace.
Custom Compound Estrogen Cream
Estrogen creams are available in customized blends to suit a woman’s specific needs. Created with estrogens that are identical to the hormones made naturally in the body, custom compound creams and treatments are drawing increased interest as a more personalized treatment for postmenopausal symptoms. First, a saliva or blood test is taken to determine which hormones are unbalanced. Then, based on the hormone results, a physician can write a prescription for a blend of estrogen and other hormones for a customized cream that can target and relieve postmenopausal symptoms.
According to Menopause.org, however, some components used in custom compound creams may not be regulated by the FDA for custom-blended uses, and they may have less scientific study to support efficacy and safety of use. Although custom compound estrogen creams provide a nontraditional option for topical hormone therapy, they can also be expensive and not always covered under traditional insurance plans.