Using Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
by Lori Ann Gormley, Compounding Pharmacist, Certified Menopause Educator at Hazle Compounding
Are you approaching 35, 40, 50 or even 60 years of age? Is your overall quality of life changing? Are daily routines becoming overwhelming and/or difficult to manage?
All women will experience menopause at some point in their life. Menopause is officially defined as the absence of menses for one year. Women on , average begin natural menopause at age 51. Hysterectomies force some woman directly into the menopause stage. Surgical menopause skips the natural transition of a woman’s body and can often be very difficult to manage. However, it is the portion of a woman’s life called perimenopause that can be the most challenging. Perimenopause can begin anytime between age 35 and SO. Some woman may experience more symptoms in perimenopause than through actual menopause. Perimenopause can be a very brief stage of time directly prior to a woman’s period stopping at menopause. Unfortunately, some woman can suffer through the Perimenopausal period for 5 to 15 years! That period of time in a woman’s life can affect a woman and her surroundings in many different ways. Women need to understand their body’s changes and be knowledgeable of the options available for treatment. Symptomatic treatments as well as supportive measures are instrumental in a therapy plan. The compounding experts at Hazle Compounding can help design a treatment plan for each individual woman’s unique needs.
Symptoms can occur at any time, either slowly or suddenly. The reason for these symptoms are fluctuating and declining hormone levels. The body’s response to varying hormone levels may be simple for one woman but complex for another. Many symptoms are mild at first and go unnoticed in our busy everyday lives. Women may experience typical symptoms such as irregular cycles, mood swings, insomnia, and fatigue. Hot flashes and night sweats are the most prevalent symptoms affecting approximately 50% of women. Additional symptoms of hormone deficiencies/imbalances include headaches, achy joints, depression, anxiety, foggy thinking, memory loss, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and loss of sexual desire. All of these symptoms are a result of inconsistent levels of estrogen and progesterone, as well as testosterone. Hormones such as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and cortisol can be considered as well. Vitamins and nutritional entities may also be evaluated during therapy.
A Menopause Consultation can be an essential tool in determining a woman’s hormonal status. A menopause consultation would include a complete medical history, hormone test levels, and a detailed symptom checklist. Blood testing is a conventional way to examine hormone levels as well as determining the stage of menopause. Hormone levels can also be measured in saliva. Saliva testing may provide a more conclusive picture of hormone imbalances. Women can obtain saliva kits and complete their test sample at home A confidential hormone consultation can then be scheduled to choose the correct starting dose for an individual patient. Each bio-identical hormone replacement prescription is unique to every woman. The goals of therapy are to correct the low hormone levels and to maintain the correct balance of estrogen and progesterone. Follow up is also an important part of maintaining that balance of hormones as a woman’s needs continually change with age.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy mimics a woman’s natural hormones. These hormones are plant derived and have the exact chemical structure of those naturally produced in a woman’s body. The individual dose can vary greatly from one woman to another. Hazle Compounding has the advantage of being able to custom tailor the hormone dose to the individual patients needs. This enables a woman to take the lowest possible dose to relieve her symptoms and maintain her quality of life. Options include a once a day oral capsule using one or multiple ingredients, topical gels and creams, which may be a better option for some women, or flavored troches that dissolve in the mouth.
Perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause are all natural stages of woman’s life. Women can adapt to change very well. Understanding the changes our bodies are making enables a woman to better cope with these challenges and the lifestyle changes they may cause. Women need to become more in tune with their bodies. These stages are the crossroads in our lives and women need to take charge of their health. Exercise routines, healthier eating habits, supplements, and bio–identical hormone replacement therapy can hopefully make this road a little less bumpy.
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