Our endocrine system produces a variety of hormones. All have their own purpose and function to perform. Many interact with each other. The endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete these hormones. These hormones function on body cells, tissues, organs or systems. The pituitary, testes, ovaries, pancreas, thyroid and adrenal cortex make up the endocrine system. More recently, science has also documented hormone secretion from ‘non-traditional’ sites such as the heart, kidney, liver and adipose tissue. A person’s gender causes certain secretions to be more prevalent than the other. For example, males produce high levels of testosterone whereas females have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, and lower levels of testosterone compared to males. However, when changes take place, such as under active thyroid or over active thyroid conditions and menopause, hormone problems begin. Hormones coordinate biochemical activity throughout the body. They are chemical messengers that orchestrate metabolic processes by stimulating all types of cell changes. Hormones level decline with age, disease and trauma or surgeries such as hysterectomies.
For women, during menopause replacement therapies can be prescribed by a physician skilled in doing so. Many women are placed on estrogen alone. This is unfortunate because this causes an unbalanced situation known as estrogen dominance. Other side effects can develop because of this. Estrogen replacement shouldn’t be given without balancing it with the addition of progesterone.
For many years I had been on Premarin (synthetic) estrogen and only Premarin.
The only side effect I had during that time was excruciating migraines. Many years later I was changed to the bioidentical compounded formulas with estrogen and progesterone and never had another migraine since!
The bioidentical hormone replacement therapies tend to be easier to administer and easier to balance then the synthetic versions. Blood testing can be done to indicate what and how much of each hormone can be given to the patient. Bioidentical hormones are structurally identical to the hormones created by the body.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapies are compounded in specialized pharmacies. Compounding pharmacists are skilled at preparing the “recipe” from scratch according to the doctor’s prescription. The over the counter forms known also as “natural” HRT aren’t very effective long term. They aren’t made as exact as the compounded formulas that compounding pharmacist know how to do! Any over the counter product for hormone replacement is made by a mass market company, designed to sell the product over the counter to the mass millions.
The compounded formulas prescribed by doctors who specialize in these formulas understand that the bioidentical prescribed formulas will fit the cell receptor site exactly. Occasionally many different adjustments will be needed to find the exact amount a woman needs. How these work for each individual is a process and may take awhile. But they work! I’ve been on them for many years and they work wonderfully well. Yes, adjustments are needed occasionally. Routine blood work for hormone levels should be done periodically and this helps with the regulations of the formulas.
Synthetic hormones are not an exact fit for the body’s receptors. When they enter the body, they have the potential to break down into particles the body doesn’t recognize. Thus increasing the potential for unwanted side effects.
It is unfortunate when the Women’s Health Initiative put out the results of a study that was only done on PREMPRO. That is a combination of Premarin and Progestin! That is the ONLY combination this organization studied. The results put a shock wave through the public’s perception how “all hormones” are poison! This study only reported on the one combination and nothing else, no other combination and definitely not the bioidentical hormones. The report was flawed because the report wasn’t clear in that concept. Yet most of the general public only seemed to hear that all hormones were tested in that study. And nothing else was studied. Only PREMPRO! Not all hormones are poisonous. The bioidentical hormones are much better and easier to regulate for each individual who wishes to use them!
Some woman and men also, need testosterone replacement. This can also be measured by blood testing and compounded in the same compounding pharmacies just like estrogens and progesterone formulas are done. Exactly what the body and cells need.