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Is dermal estrogen a safer choice in HRT?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Though there's much debate about the long-term safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it does appear that dermal estrogen-that is, estrogen applied to skin is safer than oral estrogen. It also appears that the pills go into the liver and have some effect in clotting proteins that can make you more susceptible to closing off arteries, while the dermal form does not get metabolized in the liver.

If you choose this therapy to deal with menopausal symptoms, it seems that natural estrogen-not plant-derived estrogen-is the most effective. Why? Plant estrogens have 150 isoflavones that interact with estrogen receptors in your body; some stimulate estrogen, while others block it-so you don't really know which are having an effect and which aren't. Also, take aspirin if you're on HRT to reduce the risk of clotting.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.