Estrofem (Alora; Climara; Delestrogen; Depo-Estrofem; Divigel; Elestrin; Estrace; Estrasorb; Estrogel; Evamist; Femring; Menostar; Minivelle; Vivelle; Vivelle-Dot) is a drug prescribed to treat the symptoms of menopause, prevention of bone fractures (osteoporosis), painful uterine bleeding, vaginal pain, dryness and atrophy associated with menopause. Estrofem is also prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer, and some cases of prostate cancer. Side effects, drug interactions, patient information, and dosage should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Estrogen is a hormone. Although present in the body in small amounts, hormones have big roles in maintaining your health.
Estrogen is commonly associated with the female body. Men also produce estrogen, but women produce it in higher levels.
The hormone estrogen:
- is responsible for the sexual development of girls when they reach puberty
- controls the growth of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle and at the beginning of a pregnancy
- causes breast changes in teenagers and women who are pregnant
- is involved in bone and cholesterol metabolism
- regulates food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity
Girls who haven’t reached puberty and women approaching menopause are most likely to experience low estrogen. Still, women of all ages can develop low estrogen.
Common symptoms of low estrogen include:
You may also find that your bones fracture or break more easily. This may be due to a decrease in bone density. Estrogen works in conjunction with calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals to keep bones strong. If your estrogen levels are low, you may experience decreased bone density.
If left untreated, low estrogen can lead to infertility in women.
Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries. Anything that affects the ovaries will end up affecting estrogen production.
Young women may experience low levels of estrogen due to:
In women over age 40, low estrogen can be a sign of approaching menopause. This time of transition is called perimenopause.
During perimenopause your ovaries will still produce estrogen. Production will continue to slow until you reach menopause. When you’re no longer producing estrogen, you’ve reached menopause.
The most common risk factors for low estrogen levels include:
- age, since your ovaries produce less estrogen over time
- family history of hormonal issues, such as ovarian cysts
- eating disorders
- extreme dieting
- excessive exercising
- issues with your pituitary gland
A diagnosis of low estrogen followed by treatment can prevent many health issues.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low estrogen, consult your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis if needed. Early diagnosis may help prevent further complications.
During your appointment, your doctor will discuss your family health history and assess your symptoms. They’ll also perform a physical exam. Blood tests will likely be needed in order to measure your hormone levels.
Your estrone and Estrofem levels may also be tested if you’re experiencing:
In some cases, your doctor may order a brain scan to check for any abnormalities that may be affecting the endocrine system. DNA testing may also be used to assess any issues with your endocrine system.
Women who have low levels of estrogen may benefit from hormonal treatment.
2.2.3 GABA Receptors
Estrofem indirectly influences disinhibition of pyramidal cells through activation of GABA interneurons ( Rudick et al., 2003 ; Rudick and Woolley, 2003 ). Estrofem does not appear to alter GABA receptor kinetics globally since it does not affect GABA-evoked currents; however, Estrofem may act to prolong currents at a subset of GABAergic synapses ( Rudick et al., 2003 ). In particular, regulation of the α4 GABAA receptor subunit alters inhibitory postsynaptic current decay time ( Smith et al., 1998 ). Recently, immunoreactivity for the α4 and δ GABAA receptor subunits in dendrites has been shown to decrease at the proestrus/estrus cuff ( Figure 5 ) ( Sabaliauskas et al., 2010 ). These changes correlate with increases in spatial learning ( Sabaliauskas et al., 2010 ).
What Is Estrofem (Estrace)?
Estrofem is a form of estrogen, a female sex hormone that's produced by the ovaries.
Estrofem comes in an oral form, a transdermal skin patch, a vaginal ring, or as a topical gel, spray, or emulsion.
The drug is available under several brand names such as Estrace (oral pill); EvaMist (spray); Vagifem (vaginal pill); Estring, Femring (vaginal rings); Climara, Alora (skin patches); and Divigel and Estrogel (topical gels).
Estrofem is used to treat and prevent hot flushes in women experiencing menopause. Estrofem gel is also used to treat vaginal dryness, itching, and burning in menopausal women.
Estrofem is also commonly combined with progestins in various doses in oral contraceptive pills that prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation.
The medicine may also be used to prevent osteoporosis, replace estrogen in women with ovarian failure, or as part of a cancer treatment regimen.
Estrofem is in a class of drugs called estrogen hormones. It works by replacing the estrogen that the body normally produces.
How should I take Estrofem (Estrace, Gynodiol)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Estrofem may increase your risk of developing a condition that can lead to uterine cancer. To help lower this risk, your doctor may also want you to take a progestin. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away.
Your doctor should check your progress on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months) to determine whether you should continue this treatment. Self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis and have a mammogram every year while using Estrofem.
If you need major surgery or will be on long-term bed rest, you may need to stop using this medicine for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using Estrofem.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
History and Etymology for Estrofem
International Scientific Vocabulary estra- (from estrane parent compound of Estrofem, from New Latin estrus + English -ane) + di- + -ol entry 1
Pregnancy and Estrofem
Estrofem can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. You should not use this medication while pregnant.
Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or might become pregnant while taking this drug.
Since Estrofem can also pass into breast milk, talk to your doctor before breastfeeding while taking the drug.
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