Estrogen is most commonly used in combination with progesterones as contraceptives or as hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. The estrogens are used to relieve moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms of menopause (flushing, sweating), female hypo-gonadism, atrophic vaginitis (orally and intravaginally), osteoporosis in women past menopause, palliative treatment for advanced prostatic carcinoma, and in selected cases of inoperable breast carcinoma. The estradiol transdermal system is used as estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) for moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, female hypogonadism, after removal of the ovaries in premenopausal women (female castration), primary ovarian failure, and in the prevention of osteoporosis. Estrogen is given IM or intravenously (IV) to treat uterine bleeding caused by hormonal imbalance. When estrogen is used to treat menopausal symptoms in a woman with an intact uterus, concurrent use of progestin is recommended to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. After a hysterectomy, estrogen alone may be used for ERT.
The estrogens, in combination with a progestin, are also used as oral contraceptives (Table 52-1). The uses of individual estrogens are given in the Summary Drug Table: Female Hormones. The use of estrogens in the treatment of carcinoma is discussed in Chapter 55.
Was this article helpful?