"You’ve been using Natural Hormones all your life, why change now?"
The term Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is interchangable with Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Health is a holistic goal, and hormonal health put simply, is a large significant factor of that big picture. To control your hormonal health you need to work with an understanding doctor who believes in the value of hormonal testing to use as a tool in the treatment of your health.
Combining your symptoms with your hormonal profile, looking at you individually, and considering your own, and your family history a picture can be brought into focus. Once obtained, this picture of your individuality can be used to give you a predictable and active future so that age is not a barrier to wellness.
When hormone supplementation is warranted, there are four major points to consider. These stem from the belief that if we are going to relieve or reverse the ageing process, it should be done in such a way as to mimic the body's system as it was created. In that endeavour, only hormones that are the exact molecules made by the human endocrine system should be used. The human race would not have survived this long if these hormones were dangerous and subjected us to fatal diseases.
Secondly, those hormones used should be introduced into the bloodstream in a way that emulates the glands as closely as possible, that is, avoiding the digestive tract and liver and minimising first-pass effects.
Thirdly a broader spectrum of hormones, at lower doses, offers a more complete, physiological balance.
Finally the dose must be individualised to the patient's needs and goals which in the end will result in fewer side effects if any, along with reducing or eliminating other medical problems.
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy products are compounded by a compounding pharmacist, which offers you and your physician a choice for individualised hormone replacement.
"Natural" refers to the structure of the hormone (i.e. they are bio-identical in structure and function to the hormones naturally produced in our bodies). The hormones start from wild yam and soybeans which are rich in precursor molecules. These are easily converted by biochemists into other molecules that areidentical in all aspects to our own naturally occurring hormones.
It should be emphasised that although these precursor molecules can be synthesised into natural bio-identical hormones in a test tube, our bodies are incapable of doing so. Therefore although wild yam creams are good moisturisers they do nothing to increase our hormonal levels.
Insulin used by diabetics was obtained in the past from pigs, which saved many lives, yet caused a significant amount of side effects and problems. Pig insulin is no longer used by diabetics as a 'Natural' identical human insulin has been established, overriding any reason for using pig insulin. In this same light, there is now NO cause for women to be using oestrogens and progesterone’s produced from the urine of pregnant mares, as we now have 'natural' bio-identical human hormones available.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is administered generally, in the form of a troche (lozenge) or as a transdermal cream which are absorbed into the blood stream without having to go through the digestive system creating stress on the liver. We find Troches are the most suited form for Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy mainly because of the ease in which the ingredients in each prescription can be altered, and because of their superior transbuccal absorption.
Compare this to the mass produced formulas available commercially where titrating a dose is almost impossible and one must fit in with what is available.
Results have been good to excellent and in many cases extraordinary. The natural or bio-identical hormones used in the treatment of menopause are any combination of natural Progesterone, Oestrogen, Testosterone, at levels determined specifically for each patient.
Troches can be mixed so that each individual troche contains a combination of various natural bio-identical hormones in small doses. For example, a troche can be made containing a mixture of any of the hormones, eg: oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone in any possible doses according to your needs. This combination is used to treat the symptoms of menopause.
Small doses of testosterone are useful in menopause for depression, to enhance energy levels, mood and libido without causing side effects.
Troches containing natural progesterone alone are helpful for premenstrual syndrome and peri menopause and can be taken during the latter half of the menstrual cycle to alleviate depression, migraine, nausea and basically all those PMT symptoms that occur premenstrually.
Menopausal women who have had a hysterectomy can benefit from troches containing natural bio-identical estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Even though the uterus may not be present, in the case of hysterectomy, progesterone is still essential to balance the oestrogen component and stop oestrogenic side effects. Your requirements should be determined with a blood test to measure your sex hormones – we recommend tests for blood oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Troches can be made palatable, by making them in different flavours. Each troche is made up on an individual basis and the whole process takes a few days.
Once deciding to embark on taking hormone replacement one is usually forced to grapple with the risk/benefits factor. It must be stressed that although we believe Bio-identical hormones used in troches may be safer than Synthetic hormones, there are still risks relating to the use of natural hormones. These risks are mostly related to the uses of oestrogen and the increase risk of breast cancer. For medicolegal purposes we have to assume the use of bio-identical hormones carries the same risk as synthetic hormones. The current thinking suggests that if we need to use any form of oestrogen to treat menopause we should attempt to stop this within 2 yrs of commencement.
Tailor made troches allow slow reduction of oestrogen and in my experience it is most definitely easier to slowly wean a patient off Oestrogen due to ease of dose adjustment. It would appear that continuation on progesterone and testosterone over a longer period is a safer option.