I subscribe to many professional health related newsletters. In a recent one an article on compounded hormone replacement therapy reported that “There is no evidence that so-called “bioidentical” alternatives to prescription hormones are either safe or effective.” I disagree. They most certainly do work. I have a lengthy article on my site that covers this very subject. This controversy has been reported on many times over many years in various articles.
Most women know that hot flashes, night sweats and other menopausal symptoms can last many years after their menstrual period stop. It is also well established that estrogen alone or combined with a progestin (synthetic formulated) is the most reliable treatment for menopausal symptoms and that, for most postmenopausal women, it is safe to take these hormones for up to five years at dosages that relieve hot flashes. In my personal opinion, limiting to just five years then stopping them isn’t effective. The symptoms begin all over again. The aftermath of the symptoms still goes on after the hormones are stopped. There is no benefit just taking them for 5 years.
In 2002 the Women’s Health Initiative reported that Prempro (an FDA approved preparation) combining synthetic estrogens with a synthetic progestin increased the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. Since then women have shied away from pharmaceutical grade, synthetically formulated hormones. The problem with this study was that many people didn’t fully understand that only Prempro was used in the study! NO OTHER HORMONE COMBINATION was studied.
Once the results of the WHI test came out the bioidentical hormone alternative became popular. While these may not be totally safe as many reports suggest and the FDA hasn’t approved them, the benefit is that each and every one of us can have our hormone levels tested. There are blood tests, saliva testing, and urine testing to determine hormone levels in the human body. By using the results of these tests, we get a picture of how much our body needs or doesn’t need. Therefore, the dosages can be adjusted to what we need. While the synthetic formulas are based on one size fits all! This is where the problems exist. No in between quantity is available in synthetic hormones.
The long term side effects of not being hormonally balanced can be debilitating to our overall health. Bone loss is a huge side effect of not having hormones balanced.
Also if a synthetic estrogen is prescribed with nothing else to balance it migraine headaches can become serious. This is known as estrogen dominant. Estrogens have to be balanced with progesterone and sometimes a small amount of testosterone is needed to provide adequate balance. All are available in compounding pharmacies by skilled pharmacists. All of these should always be in the compounded formulas. A women’s body and testing will show how well the balance is!
Part of this article is based on the article in the March, 2016 Harvard Women’s Health Watch. The rest is my personal education having read over 35 books on all the hormones our bodies make!