Q: I was recommended to use a topical gel form of estradiol, but I’m not sure how often is too often to use it, or where I should apply it for the best effects. Does it make a difference where I use it?

A: Topical estradiol products (gels, mists, creams) are typically applied once or twice daily. The makers of Estrogel, Estrasorb, Divigel, Elestrin, and Evamist all suggest applying the product on the arms. Estrogel can also be applied to the thighs.

The main reason these sites are recommended is because that is where they were used during the product studies; it doesn’t mean they won’t work if applied elsewhere, only that these sites are known to be effective, whereas others have not been studied. Out of an abundance of caution, topical hormones should never be applied to the breast or skin that is irritated, and most of these products are not designed to be applied to the genitals.

Even if you’re too busy, please don’t forget to read the product insert. Be sure to do this every time you refill your prescription, too — there may be important new information there!

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