Bio identical Hormones Replacement Therapy (BHRT) for Women
THE “3” STAGES FOR A WOMAN
Most women don’t realize that hormonal changes can start as early as in their 20’s and 30’s, only to rage symptomatically in their 50’s when they go through the “change”. Dr. Christine believes very strongly in education. She feels that if the women in her practice had information, they would make better decisions regarding their physical and their mental health. Factors such as poor nutrition, stress, poor sleep hygiene, smoking and excessive alcohol intake can affect a woman’s hormones off balance. The changes that a woman experiences do not have to necessarily be as dramatic as the “change” or “menopause”, but can manifest themselves as unsolicited abdominal weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, irritability and or hair loss. In this pre-menopause phase, symptoms mostly present themselves right before or during their periods and are simply dismissed as temporary.
As we age, these symptoms become more frequent and are defined as Peri-menopause. During this phase, Women typically start to notice more frequent episodes of fatigue, bloating, increase abdominal fat, longer or shorter periods, heavier or lighter periods, headaches, adult acne, food cravings, and mental fogginess usually described as “I can never find my keys” or “I can’t remember why I came in this room”. Dr. Christine finds that most women will simply attribute their symptoms to everything other than hormones.
Dr. Christine can clearly recall a period of time when she was always fatigued, mentally foggy, had difficulty losing weight and achieving toned muscle mass despite how much time she spent at the gym. After a thorough blood panel, she was floored and in complete shock with the results. It all became very clear at that moment; certain levels were far below 50% of where they should be. Most of us believe that we are immune to such changes and dismiss them too quickly.
Before we know it these changes become our new “Norm” and we do not know any better. Having been there herself no comma and continuing to manage the art of Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Dr. Christine declares that this has changed her life dramatically and the life of many of her patients alike.
Dr. Christine takes the time she has with her patients when dealing with skin or cosmetic concerns to ask the right questions and educate the women in her practice. She finds that most of her patients are not aware there is even a problem. However, when possible symptoms are brought to their attention, they realize they have been feeling so poorly for so long. Unfortunately, most women do not have this conversation with their doctor until their symptoms are unbearable. By that time, a woman’s lifetime supply of eggs is depleted, and her estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels have significantly dropped leading to vaginal dryness, loss of libido, night sweats, anxiety, fatigue and depression. A woman can begin experiencing these symptoms as early as in her mid 30’s and well into her mid 50’s, with resolution by the time she reaches 60.
Hormones and their impact on our bodies can be a complicated topic from a medical perspective. However, most people have the belief that hormones have one single action in the body. In fact, that is not true at all. It is the balancing act of Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone during this crucial period of a woman’s life that can ultimately improve her quality of life.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BHRT?
Estrogen is vital to bone health and absorption of vital nutrients such as calcium. Decline in estrogen levels can cause bones to become porous and brittle leading to osteoporosis. Correction of Estrogen results in stronger bones.
Estrogen mainly plays a complicated role in a woman’s fat distribution and weight regulation. It is associated with high fat levels, but this is not necessarily because it makes a woman fat. In fact, having more fat in the body, leads the fat cells to produce more Estrogen.
Having balanced levels of Estrogen is often very helpful for weight loss. It helps the body know that it is fed and increases fat metabolism and weight loss. This balance is most importantly achieved with the correction of Estrogen and Progesterone levels.
Since Progesterone is a natural diuretic, decreased levels lead to bloating, discomfort, water retention and weight gain. By correcting Progesterone and Estrogen levels in women and reestablishing balance, Weight Loss can be achieved.
We all want to age as gracefully as possible without looking like we are trying too hard. Hormones play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of our youthful skin. What most women do not know is that balanced levels of Estrogen facilitate collagen formation, which keeps a woman’s skin youthful, hair and nails lustrous and breasts full. Decline in Estrogen levels leads to wrinkles, dull hair and nails as well as sagging breasts.
Intimacy and the desire for it is a physiologic trait that is further nurtured and enhanced by emotional and mental connection. The loss of Estrogen and Testosterone in a peri-menopausal or post-menopausal woman can lead to changes in her body and libido. A woman may notice that she is not as easily aroused, and she may be less responsive to stroking and touching. This lack of response can lead to less interest in sex or intimacy.
In addition, low Estrogen levels can decrease blood supply to the vagina, decreasing lubrication and causing vaginal dryness. This can lead to discomfort during sex and further deterring the desire for intercourse. Correction of hormonal levels increase blood flow to the vagina, improving natural lubrication and can lead to a more active and enjoyable sexually gratifying relationship.
No Mo’ Hot Flashes
The hypothalamus is responsible for the regulation of the body’s temperature and regulation of sleep cycles. This is achieved when the body is able to produce appropriate levels of Estrogen and Progesterone to do the job. A decline of these hormone levels in women leads to drastic fluctuations in temperature producing hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia.
What Should I Expect?
Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy can benefit women going through hormone decline at any age. A woman should not wait until her symptoms are so severe before intervention. As a woman, Dr. Christine understands the magnitude this can have on a woman’s quality of life. She chooses to dedicate her practice to helping women empower themselves, rather than becoming victims to Mother Nature.
Dr. Christine orders a thorough blood panel that when combined with a comprehensive office visit and a proper medical intake, provides a great deal of diagnostic information. Dr. Christine discusses the lab results with her patients and together they create an action plan that is simple to follow, while having the most impact. Dr. Christine understands that this process can feel overwhelming to a patient and she focuses her approach on addressing her patient’s top priority. Within weeks of initiating their treatment plan, the majority of women notice substantial changes in their symptoms, report weight loss, increased energy and libido.
I DO NOT WANT TO INCREASE MY RISK OF CANCER
It is important to clearly understand the difference between Bio identical hormones and synthetic or unnatural hormones. Synthetic hormones such as oral Estrogen are made from horse Estrogen. “Premarin” is the most popular Estrogen replacement therapy pill out there. It is made from pregnant horses and it is mainly made of Estrone and horse Estrogens that are not natural to humans. “Provera” or Progestin is also a synthetic form of Progesterone.
A study was conducted in 2002 on 16,000 post-menopausal women to evaluate effects of hormone replacement therapy on multiple factors. The hormones these women were given, were oral pills made of horse Estrogen and synthetic Progestin. They discovered that since the oral pill passed through the liver, it increased clotting factors and inflammatory protein (CRP). The oral/synthetic pill from the study increased the risk of stroke and heart attack as well increased the risk of breast cancer.
On the contrary, the natural combination (Bio Identical Hormones) of these hormones has in fact been shown to decrease the risks of:
- Stroke and heart attacks by 50%
- Breast cancer by 80%
- Alzheimer’s by 80%
- Osteoporosis by 50%
- Osteorarthritis by 40%
- Colon Cancer by 40%
The Bio identical hormones are administered transdermally (absorbed through the skin).
A study published in 2007 studied the risk of breast cancer with the use of combinations of Bio Identical Hormones and breast cancer in over 80,000 postmenopausal women for over 8 years.
PUBLISHED STUDY RESULTS:
- 1.29 times increase in risk of breast cancer in women who used Bio Identical Estrogen ONLY preparations vs. women who never used Estrogen
- 1.69 times increase in risk of breast cancer in women when added a SYNTHETIC PROGESTIN with Bio identical ESTROGEN vs. women who never used Estrogen
- No increase in risk of breast cancer in women who used natural Progesterone in combination with Bio Identical Estrogen vs. women who never used Estrogen
- Estriol containing products were protective against breast cancers and lowered risk of breast cancer even in women who never used any hormone replacement therapy
In conclusion, a combination of NATURAL ESTROGENS, ESTRIOL AND ESTRADIOL with PROGESTERONE would be expected to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer in women on NATURAL hormone replacement therapy than in women on NO THERAPY.