Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy uses naturally derived hormones from wild yams and soy that are compounded for precise dosing into a variety of delivery mechanisms. Transdermal creams, oral drops or capsules, sublingual drops or troches, vaginal or rectal suppositories, vaginal creams.
As opposed to synthetic hormones that are man-made and are not bio-identical (meaning just like what your body makes).
Since the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study closed in 2002, seventy percent of women stopped using synthetic hormones. Bio-identical hormones became the logical alternative. Unfortunately the drug company that lost their Premarin sales alerted the FDA that one of the bio-identical hormones… Estriol… had never been tested. Well, not according to FDA standards, but doesn’t thirty years of use count?
Natural bio-identical hormones have been prescribed by European physicians with great success. In this country, health care providers willing to think outside of the box also prescribe them. Conventional medicine has been boxed in by the politics of greed, run by the forces of two big industries—the pharmaceutical industry and the malpractice insurance industry. Providers fear to try anything new even when patients ask for other options.
I applaud my colleagues who have braved the storm to dive into natural therapies including using bio-identical hormones. In order to patent a hormone, its chemical structure must be altered, making it a drug. Following FDA protocol costs a fortune to bring a drug to the market and there are no big drug companies willing to invest the money to bring a natural hormone to market if it cannot be patented.
Rather than medicate, I educate my patients. Poor things come so hormonally challenged that they cannot possibly absorb all I have to teach them. Yet there are no stupid questions. It is time for health care providers to partner with their patients!
If I had a dime for every time a patient said “How come no one else could figure out my problem?” I would be able to retire. I figure out the roots of their dis-ease because I listen to them. I am willing to go where other providers fear to venture. I investigate alternatives and am willing to try new things with my patients. I’ve always pushed the envelope and have found that I am five to seven years ahead of current thinking, current procedure, current practice.
Since the WHI closed, bio-identical hormones have become the rage in anti-aging medicine, and health care providers are trying to get on the bandwagon.
Most doctors and nurse practitioners are caring healers but few have been trained in the art of balancing hormones. I have been honing my craft for a long time. It’s not easy for most providers to get a feel for hormones. Just as each prescription is individually prepared by a compounding pharmacist, it requires an in-depth consultation to individualize the therapy for each woman.
Typically, if a woman who is suffering from symptoms of hormone deficiency comes to me for a consult, I spend two hours:
• Gathering information regarding the history of her symptoms, her family medical history, her lifestyle, her sex life, her spiritual life
• Do a complete physical exam
• Spend time explaining how her body works specifically in regards to hormones
• Explore factors that may influence her hormones like nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxicities, sleep patterns, immune function, life stressors, relationships (intimate, dependent, professional), disordered eating and body image, and her beliefs about health.
• Rule out adrenal and thyroid disorders, insulin resistance, immune dysfunction, neurological and mood disorders as well as other major health problems
• Order the appropriate lab tests for her
• Recommend therapeutic nutrition
• Do lifestyle counseling
• Offer bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
As you can see, it’s not as simple as rubbing on some over the counter hormone cream. Although some OTC progesterone creams can help ameliorate your symptoms.