Hormone Therapy For Women
Restoring Hormonal Balance
Customized hormone therapy is the restoration of deficient hormones with hormones that are chemically identical to those that the body naturally produces, but which have declined due to ageing or illness.
Customized hormone therapy 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 restoration of the deficient hormones in the most appropriate dose via the most effective route for each woman, and monitoring to fine tune the therapy.
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 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.
Structural differences exist between human, synthetic and animal hormones. In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of hormones which were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. There are significant differences between hormones that are natural to humans and synthetic or horse preparations. Side chains can be added to a naturally-occurring hormone to create a synthetic drug that can be patented by a manufacturer. Naturally-occurring substances can not be patented, so scientific studies are less numerous on natural hormones.
Natural hormones include estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), progesterone, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and pregnenolone. Our compounding pharmacists work with patients and practitioners to provide customized hormone therapy that provides the needed hormones in the most appropriate strength and dosage form to meet each woman’s specific needs. Hormone therapy should be initiated carefully after a woman’s medical and family history has been reviewed. Every woman is unique and will respond to therapy in her own way. Close monitoring and adjustments are essential.