The HRT patch

My GP recently recommended that I move to an HRT patch rather than take HRT tablets. You can read more about that here.

So what is it like using an HRT patch?

An HRT patch is like a large plaster. It is completely clear, so not very visible. It should be applied to a fairly small area of the body around the bum and hips, so shouldn’t show through your clothes anyway. The leaflet makes it very clear that it should be in this area, then reiterates that it shouldn’t be on or near the breasts. Really?! Would anyone be that stupid that they would put it on their breasts, having been told that it should go on the thighs or bum?

It also says it should be on a ‘hair free’ area of the body, which is free from cuts and spots, and that you shouldn’t keep putting your patch on the same area.

Now I don’t know about everybody else, but my thighs aren’t always entirely hair free. Let’s be honest, they’re never hair free. They’re stubbly. Sometimes they’re more stubbly than others. So knowing that my thighs aren’t hair free, I decided to put my first patch on my bum.

I didn’t apply it perfectly. It had a few creases. Oh, and there are strict instructions not to get it under the elastic of your clothes. So I carefully avoided the waistband of my knickers.

I forgot the minor detail that knickers also have elastic at the top of the legs. Needless to say, the patch sat perfectly under the elastic I was supposed to be avoiding.

Should I take it off and start again? How serious was it that it was under the elastic? I tried googling, but apparently my request was too niche even for the entire internet. So I decided to stick it out.

For the first couple of hours, my bum ached, increasing my anxiety about my knicker elastic fail. I now think it was probably psychological. Most of the time I was unaware of it, but I occasionally had the feeling that there was a wrapper in my back pocket that needed throwing away.

Patch number 2 went on my thigh. No elastic. No creases. No weird feeling of a wrapper in my pocket. Win! But when I took it off there were four small spots or cuts on my leg, that I’m sure weren’t there before.

Patch number 3 went on my other thigh. For some reason, it only lasted two days and came off after a shower. To be fair, I’d run 18 miles in the space of 48 hours, as well as having three showers in that time. Maybe HRT patches aren’t designed for runners?

You wear two patches a week and the booklet in the package gives you instructions on when to change them. You have regular days, so you wear one patch for three days and one for four days. Luckily patch number 3 was a ‘three day patch’, so I decided to just go without for a day rather than start messing around with my days.

By this point I had three sticky marks on my body that were impossible to remove. There is definitely no risk of putting the patch back in the same place because the stickiness takes forever to come off. I suppose nail varnish remover would help, but I’m not really up for sticking nail varnish on my body.

The good news is that I’ve had no side effects from the patches and my night sweats are completely gone. I don’t like to speak too soon, but I may even be sleeping a bit better…

Read more about my early menopause symptoms here.

Update September 2021: After three summers of using HRT patches, I can confirm that they really aren’t suitable for runners, at least in summer. I’m not sure whether it’s down to sweat, the movement of my legs, rubbing on my shorts or a combination of all three. But I do lose a lot of patches early in summer.

So it’s not unusual for me to wear a patch for five days out of seven in summer, but it doesn’t seem to affect me adversely. Normal service should be resumed any day now, which will last until around May or June next year.

If you are a runner, you may choose to use the gel instead of the patches.

The HRT patch, HRT, Menopause




Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. hehehe! This did make me chuckle at you trying to figure out where to stick the HRT patch. There is so much to think about. I’m glad to hear it’s working well for you x

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    • It was definitely quite funny at first, but I seem to have it sussed now, thank goodness! x

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  2. Oh I’m glad they’re working, especially for your sleep! That must be really heartening. I do hope they continue to help.

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    • Thanks very much! Unfortunately my sleep seems to have gone wrong again over the last few nights, so I’m hoping I can get that back on track again. X

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    • I’m on these patches now too for early menopause. Buy ‘Zoffany Wipes’. They remove the sticky residue and marks.
      I’ve tried the gels but it was too much faff and I wasn’t sure I was putting a consistent amount on. Do you have a progesterone to go with the patch?

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      • Thanks very much, that’s useful to know. I definitely find them more convenient than the gel, which I had to use for a few months when the patches were in short supply. I also have the mirena coil, which is probably the progesterone?! I can’t remember now, but I know I was recommended it!

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  3. lol I never thought of that? I am interested in how this would work out. x

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    • I would never have known it came in patches! I’m not exactly sure how it’s helping, but it definitely is, so I’m happy with that (even if I do have three sticky patches I can’t remove on my body at all times!). x

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      • I know this is an old post but baby oil takes the stickiness off straight away with a cotton pad or flannel

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        • That’s really helpful, thanks very much! I still haven’t learned how to deal with the stickiness, so will definitely give that a go.

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  4. I never thought that HRT would be such a detailed activity, but I’m glad you figured it out.

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    • I’d never realised either! But I think I’ve got it all sorted now.

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  5. Interesting to read your experience of the patch Sarah. I switched my HRT recently and was offered patch or tablets and went for the tablet as it seemed easier than the faff of a patch and changing it etc. Will be interested to see what you prefer. X

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    • I think on the whole I do prefer the patch, but it isn’t without its ups and downs. I’ve had three of them come off early, in the space of only a couple of months, and I’m sometimes left with patches of sore skin when I remove it. I’m not sure if this is normal or if it’s just because I have sensitive skin. x

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  6. The sticky marks are easy to remove with baby oil, It’s more about persistence than pressure, but like you the area under the patch remains red for a good while so no fear of forgetting where the previous two were placed. (and def no ‘hard’ rubbing (either necessary or possible) with the baby oil and cotton wool). I am looking for an answer as to how to keep the edges of the patch clean so it doesn’t build up the unsightly grey edges that then need to be ‘baby oiled’ off. Any oideas here? Nothing found elsewhere on the internet?

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    • I’ve got no idea, I’m afraid! I end up with red edges in summer as I’ve got a pair of red trousers I wear a lot!
      Thanks very much for the tip re the baby oil. I will give that a go.

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  7. I have just been prescribed hrt patches but my female doctor has told me to apply them on my shoulders on my back….just wondering if this is right as all info on websites say to put below waistline…any info would be appreciated

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    • I have never heard that! My doctor told me to apply below the waist and that’s what it said on the info on the leaflet too. I would double check that with your doctor.

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  8. Thank you….you’ve confirmed what I think…I have only ever seen it being recommended for below the waistline…yes its a good idea to check with her…thanks again

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    • You’re very welcome.

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  9. Helpful to hear your thoughts as a runner. Just about to start these patches but I run about 20k a week and go to the gym. Do you think it’s going to be tricky?

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    • I think it should be fine and the benefits far outweigh any problems. I don’t go the gym, but I run a lot further than you in a week. The only time it’s a problem is when I’m running in very hot weather, when they have a tendency to peel off too early.

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