Why take hormones at all?

As we age, the body’s decreased production of hormones can bring about the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause in women or andropause in men. Symptoms can include hot flashes, increased anxiety, depression, mood swings, vaginal dryness, painful urination, loss of concentration and memory, sleep disturbances, diminished sex drive, painful intercourse, loss of muscle strength and more. The goal of hormone therapy is to relieve these symptoms and protect the body from other harmful side effects of aging such as osteoporosis and memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Where do Bio-Identical hormones come from?

Our bodies use cholesterol to make all our sex hormones. Bio-identical hormones are derived from a cholesterol-like substance found in wild yams or soybeans, however this is not the reason they are called "natural". This plant “cholesterol” is tweaked in the lab in order to achieve the exact chemical structure of hormones produced in the body. Since bio-identical hormones are chemically identical to our own hormones, the body cannot distinguish between them.

What hormones are used in Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy?

Depending on the symptoms and results from blood and/or saliva testing several hormones are used. Primarily they are Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA.

What is the difference between synthetic and Bio-identical hormones?

The most commonly prescribed synthetic hormones are derived from the urine of pregnant mares. While these synthetic products contain Estradiol and Estrone, they also contain Equalin and other horse hormones that are not found in the human body. The human body lacks the enzymes necessary to fully metabolize these synthetic compounds, versus bio-identicals which the body can easily use and eliminate. Bio-identical replacement for estrogen is a combination of three different molecules all found naturally in the human body. These three hormones are Estriol (E3), the most prevalent estrogen found in the body and not found in most synthetic hormone drugs, along with Estradiol (E2), and Estrone (E1). Your clinician may prescribe a one or more of these hormones depending on your symptoms, health history and desired result.

The most commonly prescribed progesterone replacement is actually a synthetic progestin (a progesterone-like substance), called medroxyprogesterone. This compound is a man-made product which does not mimic all the properties of natural progesterone throughout the body. It masks some of the symptoms of menopause but does not provide the benefits of natural progesterone.

How do you determine what hormones I need?

Hormone testing and symptom evaluation is an integral part of most BHRT treatment plans. Using a blood or saliva test, hormone dominance or deficiencies can be measured and used as a guide for therapy. Understanding which symptoms we’re working to eliminate is also key as this determines the combination of hormones your clinician prescribes. Since everyone’s body chemistry is unique, your plan may need to undergo slight modifications along the way in order to bring your hormones into balance.
The trained pharmacists at Custom Medicine can meet with you to evaluate your symptoms and lab results and put a treatment plan recommendation together for your clinician’s review. To schedule a consult, simply contact us.

How do I take Bio-identical hormones?

One of the biggest assets to bio-identical hormone replacement is that they are available in a variety of dosage forms. Since bio-identical hormones are formulated by compounding pharmacists, each dose can be compounded to each person’s specific needs, whereas synthetic hormones are limited to a few doses. Transdermal creams and sublingual (under the tongue) lozenge/troches or drops are usually the most effective ways to administer these hormones to provide more consistent absorption into the body. Slow release capsules, vaginal creams and suppositories are also commonly used. We invite you to discuss these options with our pharmacists.

Is it possible to switch to Bio-identical hormones if I am taking a synthetic product already?

Working with your physician, our pharmacist can develop a transition schedule which would allow for a smooth transition to Bio-identical hormones for most patients.

What can I do if my physician is not familiar with prescribing Bio-identical hormones?

Simply ask your physician to contact our pharmacy staff. We will be happy to meet with him or her and can consult on your specific needs. If your physician is not comfortable prescribing bio-identical hormones, we will be glad to provide you with a list of physicians who support these therapies.

How do I get started on Bio-identical hormones?

1. Information – Custom Medicine Pharmacenter offers a number of resources including bestselling books by BHRT experts such as Drs. Jonathan V. Wright, Susan Rako, Eugene Shippen, Christiane Northrup and John R. Lee. Also, Suzanne Somers speaks to these issues in her book, “The Sexy Years”. We frequently offer seminars which provide an indepth review of the BHRT.

2. Hormone Evaluation – BHRT does not have a “standard dose” and must be customized to each woman. Your current hormone levels are evaluated through either a blood serum test ordered by a physician, or you may choose to conduct a saliva test yourself.
3. Consultation - BHRT needs to be carefully initiated after your personal history, family history, and current medical situation and symptoms are reviewed. We offer private consultations to help answer any questions and review the therapy program with you.
4. Prescription – Based on your symptoms and/or lab results, your clinician will prescribe your specific therapy. Custom Medicine will formulate your prescription in one of many dosage forms, including capsules, sublingual tablets, creams, gels and vaginal suppositories. 5. Ongoing evaluation – In order to achieve true hormonal balance, our pharmacists will work in conjunction with you and your clinician to evaluate your hormone levels and see how you are feeling. If necessary, we will modify your therapy at any time.