Estrace is used for treating several conditions and symptoms that result when the ovaries no longer produce estrogen. Some of these Estrace uses include preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and treating menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness). In some cases, Estrace may be beneficial for relieving the symptoms of certain cancers and for treating a hormone deficiency in younger women whose ovaries do not produce enough estrogen.
What Is Estrace Used For?Estrace® (estradiol) is a prescription medication that contains an estrogen hormone. It is approved for the following uses:
- Prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
- Treatment of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness
- Relief of symptoms of certain cancers (in both men and women) that have spread throughout the body
- Treatment of hormone deficiency in younger women whose ovaries do not produce enough estrogen.
Because estrogen helps to keep the bones strong, the decrease in estrogen during menopause causes a significant weakening of the bones, often resulting in osteoporosis. By providing estrogen, Estrace can help prevent these menopause-related bone changes. However, Estrace is not risk-free, and it should only be used in women who cannot use other, non-hormonal medications for osteoporosis prevention.
Menopause is a normal change in a woman's life when she stops having her period. That's why some people call menopause "the change of life." A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row and there are no other causes for this change. Menopause symptoms include:
- Night sweats and sleeping problems (including insomnia)
- Vaginal changes, such as dryness or irritation
- Changes in your period, including abnormal bleeding or "spotting"
- Hot flashes (hot flushes)
- Thinning and weakening of your bones
- Mood changes
- Urinary problems
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Less interest in sex and changes in sexual response
- Weight gain or an increase in body fat around your waist
- Hair thinning or loss.
For some women, these symptoms are quite severe, and some form of menopause relief may be necessary. This may include medications, natural menopause relief remedies, or non-medical ways to deal with the symptoms.
During and after menopause, women experience a drop in estrogen levels, as well as a shift in the balance of estrogens that the body produces. Before menopause, the ovaries produce the main source of estrogen, and the main type of estrogen produced is known as estradiol. After menopause, the main source of estrogen is androstenedione, which is produced by the adrenal gland and is converted into an estrogen known as estrone. Menopausal symptoms and changes result from both the estrogen decrease and the shift from estradiol to estrone. Estrace contains estradiol. It helps to relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing the estrogen that the ovaries no longer produce.
For menopause treatment, Estrace should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period necessary.
Because Estrace (or any other estrogen treatment) without progesterone can increase the risk of precancerous or cancerous changes in the uterus, it must be combined with a progestin (either continuously or intermittently) in women who still have a uterus. If you have had a hysterectomy, you can take Estrace by itself, without any progesterone.