Hormone replacement therapy - patches
Patches may be used to provide hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Patches have the advantages that they give a more constant dose of hormone and require changing only once or twice a week.
Patches may contain either a combination of oestrogen and progesterone, or oestrogen alone. If the uterus is still intact, a combination of oestrogen and progesterone is given, or an oestrogen-only patch with progesterone tablets for 2 weeks of the month. If the woman has previously undergone a hysterectomy, oestrogen is given alone.
The patch is usually positioned on the lower body or thigh. It will need to be changed twice a week, but should not come off in the bath or when swimming.
Irritation may occur, but this can be minimized if the patch is left open to the air for 1-2 minutes before being applied.