Balanced Bioidentical Hormones Supplements
By Grattan Woodson, M.D.
Hormone deficiency and its associated frailty caused by menopause can be effectively reversed using bioidentical hormones. Our practice is to administer them topically in low doses to minimize side effects. Optimal results are obtained when these hormones are used vaginally as an individually compounded cream containing bioidentical estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA in a balanced formula. Individualized therapy for each woman guided is by her subjective and objective response to therapy. This practice allows for use of 1/10th the dose used with oral medications, does not cause blood clotting issues since the hormones don’t go through the liver first as occur with oral us, and importantly provides women with satisfactory vaginal health. Since the hormones are bioidentical they are the same as her ovary and adrenal glands made. These products are not readily available as a conventional prescription because natural bioidentical hormones can’t be patented by the pharmaceutical industry. To get around this problem many compounding pharmacies have been established to make the product for each patient based upon her specific needs according to their physician’s prescription.
The vagina has many features that make it ideal for hormone absorption. The hormones are easily and completely absorbed through the mucosa of the vagina over about 6 hours. Absorption from this surface is more efficient than on the surface skin because there is no cornyfied epithelium within the vagina to slow entry of the hormones into the body. Secondly, the vagina, vulva, urinary tract, and surrounding pelvic muscles are key targets for these hormones and replenishment of them in postmenopausal women provides significant relief and restores their health and function reducing risk for infections. The pelvic region is often inadequately treated with other routes of administration be they topical, oral, or intradermal capsule because by the time the hormones reach the genitourinary tissues they have become very diluted.
We recommend use of bioidentical hormones exclusively. There are several reasons for this with the most obvious being these are the hormones nature designed for a woman’s bodies to use. In my view, much of the harm seen in the past with traditional hormone therapy was due to the use of artificial hormones.
The forgotten hormone in the traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) prescription is testosterone. To obtain hormonal balance and return women to a simulated pre-menopausal status requires the addition of testosterone. Testosterone is necessary for women to maintain their muscle and bone mass and healthy joint cartilage. The loss of ovarian testosterone production at menopause causes muscle to gradually degenerate into fat that is almost impossible to reverse in the absence of testosterone supplementation.
The hallmark of frailty is the loss of muscle, bone, and cartilage tissue and its replacement with fat. Testosterone deficiency makes it very hard if not impossible to build new muscle tissue. Its very common to see women who have always been fit but after menopause even though they continue to follow the same healthy diet and exercise routine they become progressively larger around the waist. What’s happening internally is that fat has replaced muscle even when their body weight has not changed. As a result of the loss of muscle mass one common complaint is a progressive loss of strength and energy. The frustrating thing is no matter how healthy they eat or how hard they exercise it makes no difference. Use of a balance bioidentical hormone supplement individualized to a woman’s specific needs combined with a healthy diet and moderate regular exercise provides the answer and reverses the process.
We customize the bioidentical hormone therapy prescribed for each patient using the patient’s subjective response to therapy, hormone blood testing, their body measurements together with Body Composition Analysis. This allows us to adjust the dose of hormones in the cream as needed for each women since we know that each person has unique characteristics that affect the dose needed to achieve optimum results and minimize side effects. Our goal is to significantly improve the health and wellness of our patients by using a combination of a sensible diet, moderate regular exercise, and replacing the hormones lost at menopause with their bioidentical equivalent.