You don't have to know how hormone creams work for them to be effective. But it doesn't hurt.
Besides, if you’re using a cream hormone supplement, or considering using one, wouldn’t you like to know how the magic happens? So let’s take a quick look behind the curtain of this impressive Hormone Replacement delivery system.
Normal Hormone Distribution
To understand how hormone creams work, it’s critical to know how your own naturally produced hormones behave in the body.
Hormones are chemicals that interact with individual cells, telling them what they need to do, like tiny little orchestra conductors. That’s a good thing too, because literally trillions of cells comprise our bodies. At proper levels, our hormones efficiently direct the healthy cooperation of our smallest individual components.
Hormones are produced by the endocrine system (a series of glands and organs at various locations throughout the body). So how does a hormone produced in a gland in our brains reach a cell in our foot? It travels in the blood.
Think of your cells as the people in a large community. The glands of the endocrine system are community headquarters, constantly generating orders for the people. Our circulatory system acts like UPS, delivering all the orders where they need to go.
So when a hormone needs supplementing, how does a cream accomplish the task?
Getting Under Your Skin
The skin actually absorbs the hormones found in supplement creams. Because the skin absorbs these hormones, they are allowed to pass into the bloodstream where they are sent out to the tissues of the body.
Getting hormones into the blood is the true goal of hormone supplementation creams. Once the hormones are present in the blood, they can have the same impact as if they had been produced in the endocrine system.
Access to the blood dictates that hormone creams often be applied to areas where skin is thinner, or blood vessels are near to the surface (such as the wrists or chest).
Cream Versus Oral Supplements
Oral Hormone supplements still dominate the hormone supplement landscape, and they can certainly be effective.
But one of the downsides of oral hormone delivery is that the hormones often have to go through more steps in order to be introduced to the cells that they impact. For instance, many oral hormone products have to be processed through the lymphatic system. Some oral hormones must bind to proteins or be micronized in order for the body to absorb them.
Ironically, hormone creams impact the body more efficiently than ingested supplements.
The Vaginal Dryness Question
So what’s the benefit of knowing how these creams work?
One clear benefit is a better understanding of how vaginal dryness (as well as estrogen-related skin health in general) can be treated without direct topical application.
For women who list vaginal dryness among their menopausal symptoms, there is a common belief that internal application of cream estrogen supplements is necessary for symptom relief. But because the supplemented estrogen is distributed to all cells through the blood, internal application is not always necessary for relief of vaginal dryness.
Application to the external tissues (vulva) is sometimes advisable, but it’s important to follow the directions provided for your cream.
No matter what path or products you choose for your hormonal health, make sure you fully understand how the work, and what you can expect. Hormone supplement creams provide a great option, especially for bioidentical hormone delivery. We hope that you can now use them as needed with confidence.