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Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches stick to your skin and release hormones. There is a constant, small amount of oestrogen (oestradiol) in oestrogen-only patches and oestrogen and progestogen in combined patches.
HRT consists of two hormones – oestrogen and progestogen. Oestrogen manages most menopause symptoms, and progestogen protects the lining of the womb. If you still have a womb (you haven’t had a hysterectomy) and you take oestrogen by itself, it can thicken the lining of your womb, increasing your risk of womb cancer.
If you have a womb (you haven’t had a hysterectomy) and you have oestrogen-only patches, you’ll also need to use a separate progestogen in a capsule, tablet or the Mirena™ intrauterine system. You can find out more about the Mirena™ here.
HRT patches stay on all the time. You change them twice a week, always on the same day – so you have one on for 3 days and one on for 4 days. For example, you can change on a Monday and a Thursday and then on a Monday again etc., or Tuesday and Friday and then Tuesday again, etc. Some patients tell us that they set the alarm on their phone to remind them when to change. There should not be a break between one patch and the next.
Stick the patch onto a hairless area of skin below your waist. Most women prefer to wear the patch on their thigh or bottom:
Apply a new patch but keep to your original ‘patch change’ days. If you have just had a bath or shower, wait until your skin cools before applying a new patch.
Change it as soon as you remember, and then keep to your original ‘patch change’ days. You may get some bleeding and spotting, like a period, during this time.
Some women get skin reactions:
Different brands of patches have different additional ingredients, as well as the oestradiol. So if you react to one kind of patch, it can be worth trying a different brand.
Dr Clare Spencer
Registered menopause specialist, GP and co-founder
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