Hormone Therapy for Women
Restoring Hormonal Balance
Customized Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is the replacement of deficient hormones with hormones that are chemically identical to those that the body naturally produces, but which have declined due to aging or illness. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy medicine is customized to specifically fit your body’s hormone levels and restore any imbalance.
What Can Cause a Hormonal Imbalance?
Several factors can cause hormonal imbalance. Here are the top three:
- Lack of Nutrition and Exercise: Your body does not function properly if you don’t treat it right. Not eating healthy or exercising regularly can cause many problems, including a hormonal imbalance.
- Stress: Intense or chronic stress can lead to Cortisol imbalance (adrenal fatigue), which can alter your other hormone levels leading to menopausal symptoms.
- Perimenopause or Menopause: Surgical or age-related menopause can cause hormone levels to fall thus creating an imbalance leading to troublesome and persistent symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance?
HRT is most often prescribed to ease the symptoms of menopause, but it also can be used to treat a variety of conditions that women of all ages may experience, including:
• Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Irregular menstrual cycle
• Post-partum depression
• Weight gain
• Fibrocystic breasts
• Sleep disturbances
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Decreased libido
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Vaginal dryness
These conditions affect millions of women. As the number of women seeking hormone-related treatment has grown, so has the mass production of pills, patches, and creams by the drug industry. However, each woman’s body is different and has its own unique needs, but commercially manufactured products tend to be “one-size-fits-all,” and do not always account for the differences between individuals.
No two women are alike, of course, and compounding pharmacists understand this fact.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are natural, compounded preparations that have a structure identical to the hormones produced in your body. Bioidentical hormones have the exact chemical structure as the hormones your body requires.
How does Customized Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
Customized BHRT has improved the quality of life for millions of women who suffer from hormonal imbalance. The ideal process for achieving hormonal balance includes an assessment of hormone levels and complete evaluation of signs and symptoms, followed by replacement of the deficient hormones in the most appropriate dose via the most effective route for each woman, and monitoring to fine-tune the therapy.
Which Hormones Are Prescribed to Treat Different Symptoms?
Estrogen is prescribed to relieve menopausal symptoms and treat postmenopausal problems such as vaginal dryness and tissue breakdown, painful intercourse, and various urinary disorders. Estrogens have been shown to decrease the risks of osteoporosis.
Progesterone is commonly prescribed for perimenopausal women to counteract “estrogen dominance”, and may enhance the beneficial effect of estrogen on lipid and cholesterol profiles.
Synthetic medroxyprogesterone acetate does not confer all of the benefits of natural progesterone. That is why we recommend the use of natural estrogen and progesterone.
Androgens are a class of hormones that include DHEA and testosterone, which are normally produced in a young healthy woman, and are important for libido as well as the integrity of skin, bone, and muscle. When women enter menopause, testosterone and DHEA levels may decline. Experts now recognize the importance of supplementing androgens for women who are deficient.
While women have benefited from therapy with estrogens, progesterone, and androgens that are “chemically identical” to the hormones produced naturally by the human body, researchers and health care professionals realize that this is just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to achieving hormonal balance. Thyroid and adrenal function, as well as nutritional status, should also be evaluated and treated when indicated.
Women Prefer Natural Hormones
Mayo Clinic researchers surveyed 176 women taking natural micronized progesterone who had previously taken a synthetic progestin (medroxyprogesterone acetate, or MPA) to see if progesterone improved the women’s overall quality of life, menopausal symptoms, and satisfaction with HRT. After one to six months, the women reported an overall 34% increase in satisfaction on micronized progesterone compared to their previous HRT, reporting these improvements: 50% in hot flashes, 42% in depression, and 47% in anxiety. Micronized progesterone was also more effective in controlling breakthrough bleeding. In other studies, women using micronized progesterone had specific improvements in the areas of cognition, sleep, and menstrual problems.
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Works
PenCol pharmacists work closely with you and your healthcare provider to help you start and maintain a bioidentical hormone replacement regimen. This regimen will bring your hormones back into balance and closely mimic what your body has been doing naturally for years. With your healthcare provider’s consent, we can prepare hormones in a variety of strengths and dosage forms. With BHRT, your levels can be measured through lab testing to ensure your dosage is producing properly balanced levels.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be right for you, contact your physician or talk to one of our pharmacists by calling at 303-388-3613.