Five Reasons to Consider Bio-identical Hormones
As we age, our bodies experience several changes due to decreases in production of our “sex hormones.” Five of the most common symptoms can be easily alleviated with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Bio-Identical, “natural” hormones are derived from natural sources and are identical in chemical structure to those produced by our body. Synthetic estrogens are not the same as natural estrogens, nor are synthetic progestins the same as natural progesterone. Synthetic hormones and Bio-Identical hormones act very differently in the body and have different side effect profiles. The five symptoms below are taking into consideration hormone replacement with Bio-Identical hormones.
Help, I’ve just had my first hot flash!
Our bodies produce three types of estrogen: Estriol, Estradiol and Estrone. A decline in estrogen production is often the first hormonal imbalance we notice as we age. The most common presentation of this decrease is hot flashes. The intense feeling of your skin burning along with spotty redness and emission of heat is not soon forgotten. A topical cream containing Estriol and Estradiol will help relieve these symptoms.
Where, oh where, did my libido go?
Testosterone and progesterone are two key hormones in libido. Testosterone depletion often leads to symptoms of decreased sexual interest, decreased emotional well-being, fatigue, low self-esteem and depression, to name a few. Progesterone deficiency can also lead to decreased libido, depression and insomnia. When either, or both, of these hormones are deficient you can understand why sexual desire and intimacy are no longer priority. Hormone replacement will help replenish the desire for our partners, emotionally and physically.
Vaginal Dryness is making it difficult to walk.
You are not alone. Vaginal dryness causes difficulty with normal daily activities such as walking and sexual intercourse. This discomfort is due primarily to a decrease in estrogen. Often treatment with a vaginal or topical cream containing preservative free Estriol and/or Estradiol can help bring moisture into these tissues and provide relief. If you need a non-hormonal option, intravaginal Hyaluronic Acid also works well.
Waking up sweaty without a good reason?
Waking up in the middle of the night hot and soaking wet can drive you crazy. This leads to getting out from under the covers and falling back asleep, only to wake up 30 minutes later freezing from being out from under the covers soaking wet. Night sweats are common when our estrogen level is low, estrogen levels are fluctuating, and/or our progesterone and estrogen balance is off. Replenishment with natural progesterone and estrogen will help balance our estrogen levels and diminish night sweats. If insomnia is also an issue, progesterone should be taken by mouth. In this form, it helps produce a calming effect on the brain, which helps us sleep.
I feel like I’m walking around in a “fog”.
Do you ever feel like you are losing your mind, lost your ability to spell, or always losing your keys? Brain fog, or unclear thinking, is often noticed when estrogen and testosterone levels are low. Estrogen has many protective effects on the brain, including maintaining memory, decreasing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and lowering the rate of depression. Testosterone also helps to maintain memory. Supplementing with natural, bio-identical forms of these two hormones will help preserve and maintain mental clarity.
Optimizing your hormones will help improve your quality of life. The goal is to not only alleviate symptoms, but to also prevent disease. It’s all about the balance. Balanced hormones help us lead balanced lives.
BHRT should not be started without first measuring your hormone levels. Saliva testing is the preferred method of hormone testing. It measures only the “free” forms of our hormones, which are the only ones available for our bodies to use. These levels can then be used to tailor your BHRT to meet your individual needs. The dosage is unique to you and your needs based on your hormone levels.
How can a compounding pharmacist help you? They are part of the patient, physician and pharmacist triad and often work with your physician to help develop a treatment plan for you. Once an appropriate treatment regimen is approved by your physician, a compounding pharmacist will then prepare medications designed specifically for you and follow along your journey to better health and well-being.
Dr. Wilhemina Fry, PharmD, Stephens Compounding Pharmacy | 843.686.3040
55 Mathews Drive, Suite 215 Hilton Head Island, SC | Located in the Public Storage shopping plaza (In the same plaza as Bike Doctor, Jiva Yoga, and Good Health Nutrition).