You can now receive treatments that come as combinations of estrogen and progestogen or you can get them packaged individually. There is quite a degree of flexibility, as both of these hormones are available in different strengths, and in different brands, as well as different pharmaceutical companies.
Once you and your doctor have decided that HRT would be the best form of treatment for you, it is time to consider whether it is best to take HRT in oral form (ie as in a tablet) or a non-oral form (such as patches, implants or cream).
Oral HRT is the most common way for HRT to be prescribed to patients. It is not necessarily the best way to take HRT but it does have the advantage that it can be stopped at any time (unlike transplants) and is a lot cheaper compared to the other treatments.
Its only major disadvantage is that the pill itself needs to contain quite a large amount of the hormone because up to 80% may be lost as it transgresses the digestive system and before it gets into the bloodstream. A complication could arise from this hormone having to pass through the liver where there is a strong possibility it could cause other problems. Therefore, for women who already experience problems with their liver, oral-HRT may not be the first choice. In such a situation, the doctor will then go on to prescribe either a cream or patch.
A minor disadvantage for some women taking oral HRT is that some of them will find it a bit of a bother to remember to take a daily tablet.
The patch, also known as “transdermal HRT” is a round piece of plaster that is stuck to your body, preferably somewhere “fleshy”. Inside this patch is a reservoir of oestrogen which gets transported through the skin surface in an alcohol base. In this way the oestrogen is absorbed across the skin.