As we age, our hormones decline. This is a known fact and is evidenced by many physicians offering Hormone Replacement Therapy ( HRT) for women suffering with symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes or night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, low libido and even osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Men, with symptoms of aging that manifest with decreased muscle mass, low libido and even fatigue or even not feeling as good as one used to.
With HRT, conjugated estrogen and medroxyprogesterone ingredients are related to an increased number of health risks and concerns with taking HRT. In 2002, The Women’s Health Initiative results showed an increased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and blood clots with women taking HRT compared to a placebo group.
As a result of these concerns, many women have resorted to Bio- Identical Hormone Therapy otherwise known as BHRT. This involves health care providers prescribing a low dose hormone cream which supports the effects of the lack of hormones without the concerns of the potential health issues from HRT.
These hormones, otherwise known as “Sex Hormones” are useful to know about, even briefly, before embarking on the path to hormone therapy.
The estrogens found in the human body are 17B-estradiol, estriol, estrone and their conjungates.
Women’s ovaries produce the 17B-estradiol and estrone. Estrone and estradiol produce Estriol.
Before a woman goes through menopause, the most predominant hormone circulating through the body is 17B-estradiol which mostly comes from the ovaries. After menopause, Estrone is highest. This form of estrogen is converted in adipose from estradiol and adrenal androstenedione, a hormone found in the body.
Estriol is the shortest acting of all of these hormones and is the least potent. This hormone is not converted to Estradiol.
There are estrogen receptors throughout the body and the activity of these estrogens depends upon these receptors as part of the conversion process. Certain body parts host certain receptors for that particular hormone.
Progesterone is known as the “Calming hormone” and most women find this is what it does. Great to induce a calming state and can even improve sleep.
Testosterone, considered a male hormone, is good for females in very small doses. This hormone is produced in the testes in men and ovaries and adrenals in women.
When it comes to BHRT, the provider will test hormone levels and prescribe most often, an appropriate dosing individualized for the person.
Usually two estrogens are prescribed accompanied by progesterone and a small dose of Testosterone for women or normal dosing for men.
This dosing is either managed through symptom response or through hormone blood tests.
A pharmacy known as a compounding pharmacy assimilates the hormones and is prescribed through a licensed provider.
These hormones are typically not covered under insurance.
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