The word “bio-identical” means biologically identical to the hormone – a perfect fit. Bio-identical hormones are chemically exact in molecular structure to those produced by the human body. Because they are an exact replica of what we make in our own bodies, they fit perfectly into the receptor sites in our bodies and trigger exactly the same response as the hormone produced in the ovaries, adrenal gland and hypothalamus. Like a key fitting into a lock, bio-identical hormones will turn the key whereas some other synthetically manufactured hormones (used in traditional hormone therapy) may fit the lock but won’t turn the key. This less-than-perfect fit is the biochemical reason synthetic hormones can have side effects and/or different health outcomes. Hormone replacement therapy can alleviate many debilitating symptoms but we all worry about cancers (breast , uterine and prostate) and cardiovascular risks (strokes, blood clots, heart attacks). We believe transdermal (applied to the skin) bio-identical hormones are the best and safest way for replacement.
When your hormones exist in harmony and balance in your body, your body systems are stable. During the years leading up to menopause, or perimenopause, your natural hormone production begins to drop, leading to hormone imbalances and raising risks for disease. The following symptoms are signs that your hormones are imbalanced: fatigue, weight gain, irritability, mood swings, loss of libido (sex drive), heavier menstrual flow, and depression.
- Estrone (E1) is nicknamed, the “bad” estrogen, concentrating in breast tissue and implicated in developing cancers.
- Estrodial (E2) is the most active form of estrogen, the most abundant. Many products contain E2 to treat hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss and emotional lability. Topical application is the best route to avoid side effects.
- Estriol (E3) is the weakest of the estrogens, thus perhaps the safest, and plays a major role in the preservation of collagen. It can convert to E2 as needed in the body therefore is abundant in many compounded prescriptions (e.g Biest=E2 &E3). E3 is the choice for use in vaginal dryness. In fact, many oncologists approve low dose E3 therapy for some of their patients. Try our 4 Comfort – Estriol Moisturizing Cream.
Progesterone: This hormone is produced by the ovaries after your monthly ovulation (which stops occurring during the peri-menopause years). This the dominant “feel good” hormone with pregnancy – that “glow” is due to progesterone. Progesterone works to balance Estradiol (E2) and is protective of endometrial tissue (uterine lining). Progesterone works to stabilize mood, reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other post-menopausal symptoms, increase bone mineralization, and decrease cancer risks. Bio-identical progesterone is not the same as synthetic progestins found in many pharmaceutical hormone therapies! Try our 4 Balance Progesterone Cream.
Testosterone: This hormone is produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands and testicles. It is essential for cardio-protection, stamina, muscle strength, bone density, sugar metabolism, and sexual function.
Surprise! The adrenal glands are also hormone producers:
DHEA: This hormone is produced by your adrenal glands and converted in the body to testosterone and estrogen. The use of DHEA supplementation can optimize testosterone levels in women.
Cortisol: This is the primary hormone of the adrenal gland and is secreted in a 24 hour diurnal pattern. Cortisol plays a role in sugar metabolism and your body’s immune response. It is the foundation for energy production and optimal thyroid function. To learn more see our section on Adrenal Fatigue.
If you have symptoms of hormone deficiency, a bio-identical hormone replacement program (BHRT) might be right for you. BHRT should always be under the supervision and support of a healthcare provider. Testing your hormones with saliva hormone testing is usually the first step in the process.
Seek advice from your doctor or call us for an appointment with Dr. Santoriello’s team to develop a plan for balance! Purchase of any of the following hormone creams is restricted to those patients with prescriptions in our office notes.
See further information about our Hormone Balancing Program.