Confused About Hormone Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy is in the news! A major study using horse estrogens and progestin has been stopped because the expected advantages of decreased osteoporosis and improved heart health have been outweighed by an increase in breast cancer and stroke. Is there an alternative?

What Forms of Hormone Replacement are Available?

Some synthetic estrogens are:

  • Conjugated estrogens (Premarin) derived from pregnant mare’s urine
  • Estradiol (Estrace) a bio-identical hormone but not in bio-identical proportions
  • Estradiol transdermal patch (Estraderm). Yes, estrogens are well absorbed through the skin.
  • Progestin/Progestogen (Provera). Not to be confused with Progesterone.
  • Methyltestosterone

Some Natural examples are:

  • Tri-estrogen consisting of a combination of three different estrogens: estriol, estrone and estradiol. This is prepared by a compounding pharmacist specializing in natural products and is available in capsules, topical creams, troches and suppositories. These are plant source estrogens prepared to be identical to hormones produced in the human body.
  • Natural progesterone is available in suppositories, capsules creams and troches, also plant source modified to be identical to human progesterone.
  • Micronized testosterone is available in capsules and cream.

Why Use Natural Hormone Replacement?

The main benefit of using natural HRT vs synthetic is that the natural preparations are compounded to match more closely the way they are produced in the body. No two women are alike, of course, and the value of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is that it can be adapted to fit your individual body and hormone levels. With the help of your doctor and a compounding pharmacist, you can start and maintain a bio-identical hormone replacement regimen that closely mimics what your body has been doing naturally for years.

Are You a Candidate for the Testosterone Hormone Replacement?

If testosterone drops too low, the result an be loss of sexual interest, assertiveness or energy, which can create problems. The addition of small doses of testosterone orally or in a topical cream can help alleviate these problems. However, not all women need testosterone therapy. Ask your doctor for more information on testosterone.

Goals of Hormone Replacement

  • Alleviate symptoms caused by naturally decreases in production of hormones by the body.
  • Replace the hormones to the extent to provide the positive benefits of hormone therapy.
  • Bring the body back to hormone balance.
  • Imitate the body’s natural processes as much as possible.

Potential Benefits of Hormone Replacement

  • Guard against heart disease
  • Decrease bone loss
  • Reduce hip fractures
  • Raise good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Eliminate or reduce hot flashes
  • Reduce sleeping difficulties and night sweats
  • Promote a sense of well-being
  • Increase energy
  • Improve midlife short-term memory loss
  • Prevent vaginal dryness and thinning and shrinking of vaginal tissue
  • Lower incidence of urinary tract infections
  • Improve skin elasticity

Potential Risks of Hormone Replacement

Risk is dependent on a number of factors such as: age, family history, lifestyle habits, exposure to estrogen before menopause, unexplained vaginal bleeding, and present health status. Women with gall bladder problems, diabetes, fibroids and previous cancers should discuss all these risk factors with their doctor. The forms and doses of hormone therapy can have an effect on risk reduction.

Today’s woman has choices of lower doses and safer forms of hormone therapy which were not previously available. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to get the benefits you want from hormone therapy . . . with fewer side effects and risks.

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Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy - for Women
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