Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Omaha, NE
Improve overall health and well-being. Feel better as you age and prevent diseases associated with aging.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Why give in to aging and the medical problems associated with declining hormone levels? You can feel better and fight the diseases of aging with supplementation of bioidentical hormones. The levels of these hormones can be optimized naturally with hormones that are chemically identical to what our bodies make. Bioidenticals are safe and can be administered long term without the side effects of synthetic hormones. Reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. You can look better, stay healthier, and improve your quality of life. The hormone therapy regimen is individually tailored to optimize your levels and enhance your health and well being.
The following is a list of the hormones that will be evaluated and monitored while on the therapy:
A metabolic hormone that decreases steadily with age. Lack of thyroid hormone causes cold intolerance, fatigue, weight gain, increased cholesterol, thin and dry skin, hair loss, and thin and brittle nails.
Protects against heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis. Estrogen lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol. Prevents symptoms such as hot flashes, temperature deregulation, mood swings, urogenital atrophy, decreased libido, and depression.
Protects against uterine and breast cancer and osteoporosis. Reduces menopausal symptoms and must be taken if you have a uterus. Progesterone is important and protective of the breasts and uterus for all women.
Important in cancer and infection prevention and enhances the immune system. DHEA is a prehormone to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and is an important building block in the production of these hormones.
Helps sustain libido, increases muscle mass and enhances immunity. It is also a great mood enhancer and imparts a sense of well being.
Melatonin controls circadian rhythm and sleep cycle, increasing stage IV sleep. It improves quality of sleep and during that stage the immune system is stimulated and the body produces natural killer cells against cancer.
Hormone Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
What are hormones and why do I need them?
Hormones are an essential part of the metabolic process of living. Hormones are important for the cells, organs, and metabolism. Our hormones decline through aging, menopause, disease or trauma. When this happens, we begin an accelerated aging process. Loss of hormones is one of the major reasons for our deterioration as we get older, both physically and mentally. Hormones are beneficial at any age, but the best long term protective benefits are achieved if hormones are replaced when you begin to lose them, usually in our forties.
What are the typical hormones that are prescribed?
Synthetic estrogen (conjugated equine estrogen) and progestins (medroxyprogesterone acetate) are produced in a laboratory. They are chemically altered so they can be patented by the pharmaceutical companies. They are not identical to human hormones. They are designed to try to elicit the same responses in your body as your natural hormones. Because synthetic hormones are not identical to human hormones, they might adversely stimulate the cells and lead to side effects or cancer. CEE is an estrogen obtained from pregnant horses and is not human identical. MPA is a progestin. Both have been implicated in causing problems in some women, including breast cancer.
How are bioidentical estrogen and progesterone produced?
Hormones that are identical to human hormones are found in yams and soy. We call these “natural” because they are natural to the body. The hormones are extracted from these vegetables and then processed by a specialty compounding pharmacy into a prescription dose and form. The body accepts and metabolizes these hormones as if it made them.
What are the problems with synthetic hormones?
When first developed, synthetic hormones were well received because they provided some of the benefits of hormone replacement: controlling the symptoms of menopause and fighting osteoporosis and heart disease. However, long term results have shown that synthetic hormones sometimes elicit a negative metabolic response. Some women can’t tolerate synthetic hormones-often suffering side effects such as bloating, bleeding or mood swings. In some patients, synthetic estrogens and progestins contributed to the development of breast and uterine cancer.
Synthetic hormones are not a perfect match in the body. Synthetic hormones produce abnormal metabolites that can cause side effects and increase the risk of cancer. A natural hormone is a perfect fit in the body- it is a biologically identical hormone replacement.
Why doesn’t my gynecologist prescribe bioidentical hormones?
Natural supplements such as vitamins and hormones are protected by federal regulation and may not be patented. Major pharmaceutical manufacturers are interested only in patentable drugs that are exclusive and profitable. A lot of what physicians learn is from the drug companies who are promoting their products, therefore, your doctors are primarily taught only about synthetic products. Bio-identical hormones do not come under specific brand names. Your physician must be self-educated and experienced in prescribing and monitoring natural hormones. They probably just don’t know a lot about them or must prescribe within the constraints of your health insurance.
What is the truth about the recent publicity regarding the risks of taking hormones?
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) is a study focused on synthetic estrogen (CEE) and progestin (MPA). NOTE: PROGESTIN IS NOT PROGESTERONE. There were different “arms” of the study using different drug combinations. The arm of the study using CEE and MPA was discontinued before its completion, because an increased risk of breast cancer was detected in the early stages of the study. This risk is attributed to the progestin portion of the regimen. This is not the first time progestins have been implicated in increasing risks for women. The arm of the study using CEE did not show an increased risk of breast cancer, but was discontinued because of an increased incidence of strokes in older women. A recent study showed that natural estrogen did not have the same effects.
Unfortunately, the media has misrepresented the facts of this study by targeting all hormone therapy. THIS IS WRONG! Again, the culprits are synthetic progestin and horse estrogen (equilinin), not natural estrogen or natural progesterone. There are numerous studies showing the long term benefits of hormone therapy. You just need to make sure you are receiving the right hormones (bio-identical) in the right balance. It is also important to begin hormone replacement as soon as you begin to lose hormones to avoid any length of time without their protective benefits.
What are the signs of low progesterone and what are the health benefits?
Progesterone is responsible for balancing estrogen and the female reproductive cycle. Deficiency results in symptoms of PMS, bloating, headaches, cramping, mood swings, breast tenderness and irritability. A deficiency in progesterone can be a factor in frequent miscarriages.
Research shows that natural progesterone stimulates bone building osteoblasts, thus providing protection against osteoporosis. Progesterone reduces the mitotic change in breast and uterine tissue, thereby protecting against cancer (progestin does the opposite). Progesterone protects against heart disease. Progesterone is necessary for adequate sexual response, lubrication and vaginal vasodilation. Progesterone is responsible for the physiologic equilibrium with estrogen. At menopause, women lose both estrogen and progesterone, and both should be replaced. Progesterone replacement is important even if you have had a hysterectomy, because it does much more than just protect the uterus.
What if I have been taking synthetic hormones?
You need hormones, but you need the right kind–the natural bio-identical hormones in the right balance. Don’t tolerate the risks of synthetic hormones when a safe alternative is available. Find a physician who will prescribe natural hormones and then make the switch.
Should I take estrogen and progesterone or not?
The risks of not taking hormone replacement therapy include elevated cholesterol, heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, tooth loss, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and menopausal symptoms. The side effects of synthetic hormones such as bleeding, swelling, weight gain, and breast cancer can be almost eliminated by using natural estrogen and progesterone. Overall health and well-being are improved, long term survival is greatly improved and quality of life is greatly enhanced. The risks of not taking hormones are tremendous. Just don’t take the synthetic hormones.
What about over-the-counter creams and saliva tests?
Products purchased over-the-counter are not usually of a strength sufficient to produce a long term therapeutic difference. A sufficient dose requires a prescription. Over-the-counter products might give you some symptomatic relief, but it is necessary to maintain certain hormone levels to achieve the long term protective benefits.
Because hormones are delivered to the organs by the blood and not saliva, we rely on blood tests to determine accurate and optimal levels. Blood and saliva tests do not correlate. Saliva testing has consistently been shown to be inaccurate in medical studies.
How does one know whether they are receiving adequate amounts of replacement hormones?
Blood tests determine deficiencies. Blood tests also determine whether adequate replacements have been prescribed. All people will absorb, assimilate and respond to hormones differently than others. If the proper level (therefore, tissue level) is not achieved, then the full benefit of hormone replacement is not realized. We want hormone levels to be optimal and protective.
What about estrogen blockers and osteoporosis drugs?
Raloxifine is in a class of drugs known as designer estrogens. Studies show that these compounds are somewhat effective in increasing bone mass, although not as effective as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Designer estrogens do not relieve any of the side effects of menopause and might even increase them. Bisphosphonates are a non-hormone treatment used to block bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. They have been associated with a multitude of side effects, especially gastrointestinal problems. Neither designer estrogens, nor bisphosphonates, are as effective as natural estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone at preventing osteoporosis.
Are there other hormones I should replace? What about men?
Other bioidentical hormones that should be part of an optimal hormone replacement program are testosterone, thyroid, and DHEA. Both men and women need these hormones.
Schedule an Appointment
If you live near Omaha, Nebraska and are looking to learn more about our hormone therapy program, contact us today by calling our office at (402) 397-6600.