Hormone replacement therapy involves using medications to replace or supplement what the body is no longer producing, either after menopause, a hysterectomy or related condition. Hormone replacement has become more popular for both females and males due to identification of symptoms associated with lowers levels produced by the body. There are may factors that play a role in the diminished production in the body, however, where needed hormone therapy can be a beneficial tool to regulate such deficiencies.
Types of hormone replacement
– Vaginal cream
– Slow-releasing suppository or ring that can be placed in vagina
– Bio-Identical hormone via cream or gel
What are bio-identical hormones?
In the U.S. women have been prescribed hormone therapy for decades, however, taking a halt in 2001 with the release of a double-blind controlled study demonstrating that women who used hormone therapy after menopause had a slight increase in breast cancer risk, stroke and heart attack. The study, the first of its kind, “The Women’s Health Initiative” only used synthetic hormones. The commonly prescribed formula of estrogen was from horse urine and synthetic progestin’s.
The major difference between standard hormone therapy and bio-identical hormones is the molecular structure. Bio-identical hormones are the exact chemical and molecular structure as the hormone produced in the body.
Synthetic or nonbio-identical are structurally different from what the body produces and therefore produces different outcomes as the increased risks mentioned.
Bio-identical hormones are made by conventional pharmaceutical companies as well as compounding pharmacies. Conventional pharmaceutical companies have limitations in dosages and control of additives and fillers.
Compounding pharmacies can formulate tailored to the patient whether in a cream, pill, add in additional hormones as testosterone, DHEA or other compounds based on the need and is adjustable based on how the individual responds.
In theory bio-identical hormones are safer, however, it may not be the best choice for some. We have to keep in mind each individual case, weighing the benefits and risks of each treatment option, monitoring progress as well as focus on overall balance and wellbeing.
Who would benefit from hormone therapy?
Women who experience menopausal symptoms earlier in life, (average age is 51 yrs) as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, low libido, mood swings, vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse, joint pain, decreased memory and concentration; have lost bone mass (who have not responded to other treatments); or have experienced premature menopause (stopping of periods before age 40).
As with any treatment there are risks. In most cases the benefits need to outweigh the risks in order to be a solid option. Hormone therapy may not be for everyone, especially those with a past history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, blood clots to the legs or lungs or stroke. Women taking hormone therapy should not smoke.
How often should I see a doctor or do blood work with hormone therapy?
If hormone therapy is chosen as an option for your current symptoms and condition, it is advisable you get regular check-ups, at least monthly initially, followed by blood work every three months.
How we use hormone replacement therapy naturally:
There are several treatment options available to women, which may make it difficult to determine which option is best. Taking into consideration the complete medical history, lifestyle habits that include diet, exercise sleep, detoxification of the body, medications/supplements, mental/emotional state and lab work we will gain a better understanding of what imbalances the body is trying to work through.
Naturopathic medicine offers many options as homeopathy, herbs, nutritional supplements, dietary modifications, mind/body work, acupuncture as well as hormone therapy primarily using bio-identical hormones for greater balance and overall improved quality of health.
Each treatment plan will be tailored to the individual. Our goal is to improve your overall quality of life, not simply treat the symptoms.