Hormone Therapy for Women

What is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy?

Bio – Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is the process of restoring and maintaining hormone balance with formulations that are identical to hormones that are naturally produced by the human body.

Hormones that are typically prescribed for BHRT are Estrogens (Estriol and Estradiol), Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA. These precise components of each woman’s therapy needs to be determined upon completion of a physical examination, medical history and laboratory testing ordered by your doctor. Close monitoring is essential to ensure that appropriate dose adjustments are made if needed.

BHRT can treat hormone imbalances due to many conditions for women, such as:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Female sexual disfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypoadrenalism
  • Hypothyroidism

  • Infertility
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Postpartum depression
  • Premenstral syndrome

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Every woman is unique, therefore it is a sensible approach for the patient to work together with her health care professionals to individualize Hormone Replacement Therapy.

With a valid prescription from a licensed prescriber, each formulation can be customized to meet each patient’s unique needs and body chemistry. Commercially available (synthetic hormone) treatments can not be customized and patients are forced to deal with unwanted side effects and ineffective treatments. BHRT requires a relationship with a trained physician who can order appropriate tests and monitor your treatment.

Goals of BHRT

Alleviate the symptoms caused by the natural decrease in the production of hormones by the body

Offer the protective benefits which were originally provided by naturally occurring hormones

Re-establish a hormonal balance throughout the body

Types of hormones:

Estrogen

Some principle estrogens used in compounding are Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). These are often prescribed in a combination to re-establish a normal physiologic state. Estrogen is responsible for:

  • the relief of menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness and thinning
  • may increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol and decrease LDL, the “bad” cholesterol
  • helps to decrease blood pressure and reduce plaque formation on arterial walls
  • reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

  • may improve mood, energy levels, and sleep patterns
  • may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • may improve memory and cognitive function
  • Postpartum depression
  • reduced bone loss

Progesterone

Progesterone – is a hormone commonly prescribed for peri-menopausal women to counteract the condition known as “estrogen dominance.” Estrogen dominance occurs when a woman produces smaller amounts of progesterone that normal, relative to estrogen levels. Progesterone is also responsible for:

  • improving Bone Mineral Density
  • is preferred by most women who have previously taken synthetic progestins
  • helps to decrease blood pressure and reduce plaque formation on arterial walls

  • minimize the risk of endometrial cancer in women who are receiving estrogen.
  • may enhance the beneficial effects of estrogen on lipid and cholesterol profiles and exercise-induced myocardial ischemia in post-menopausal women.

Testosterone

an androgen has been shown to:

  • help enhance libido
  • provide cardiovascular protection (lower cholesterol)
  • enhance bone building (increase calcium retention)
  • improve energy levels and mental alertness

DHEA

(dehydroepiandrosterone) is an adrenal steroid hormone
Dhea has been shown to help with

  • aging skin by increasing epidermal thickness and overall integrity of the skin
  • sense of well-being in those with adrenal and/or androgen insufficiency.
  • cognitive function and memory

Pregnenolone

is an endogenous steroid hormone. Its role in hormone therapy is to enhance energy, mood and memory. Pregnenolone can also be used to treat symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and endometriosis.

The Hormones We Use

Our hormones have a  molecular structure that is identical to hormones that are naturally produced by the human body, and are intended to replace those hormones when levels decline due to aging, disease, or surgery. In order for replacement hormones to fully replicate the function of hormones which were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structures must match exactly. Synthetic non-bio-identical hormones have similar but NOT identical structures, so they are not the perfect fit for hormone replacement.

Researchers have long held that there are significant differences between hormones that are natural to humans and synthetic preparations. The structure of the hormone, not the sources is the key.

Natural hormones are chemically processed from precursors found in yams or soy plants, yet they are identical to the hormones produced by the human body. These hormones are able to follow normal metabolic pathways so that essential active metabolites are formed in response to hormone replacement therapy.

Synthetic, or conventional, and commercially available, or artificial, or horse hormones have been chemically altered, and are not identical in structure or activity to the naturally occurring hormones that are intended to replace.

One last important fact to mention is that natural substances can not be patented, so scientific studies are less numerous on natural hormones. Side chains can be added to a natural substance to create a product that can be patented by a manufacturer and profitable to mass produce as a pharmaceutical drug. Therefore a drug company has an incentive to fund research on the use and effectiveness of synthetic hormones. Structural differences inherent to synthetic hormones may be responsible for side effects that are experienced when synthetic hormones are used for replacement therapy.

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