Bio Identical Hormone Therapy

Coastal Medical Clinic - Myrtle Beach, SC.

Until recently the only hormonal therapy available was synthetic hormones that are not identical to those normally found in the human body. These are derived from the urine of pregnant mares and while in some ways they resemble the hormones in your body their chemical structure is quite different and they have been shown to produce many undesirable and dangerous side effects in humans. About half of women taking synthetic hormones will quit after 1 year because of side effects. Synthetic hormones contain many forms of estrogen that do not fit into estrogen receptors in your body. What happens when these synthetic hormones bind to human cells? No one knows! Natural estrogen is eliminated from your body within a few hours – horse urine derived estrogen has been shown to stay in your body for up to 13 weeks!

Since bio-identical hormones cannot be patented, pharmaceutical companies have no motivation to offer these as part of their product line so you can only get them through a compounding pharmacy. How yourespond to HRT will depend on your genetic profile, stress levels, overall health, your environment, nutritional supplements and what you are eating.

Your body makes 3 main Estrogens:

E1 or Estrone
E2 or Estradiol
E3 or Estriol

Estrone is the main estrogen your body makes post-menopausally. It is believed to cause an increased risk of breast and uterine cancer and for this reason most anti-aging physicians will not include this form of estrogen in your treatment plan.
Before menopause Estrone (E1) is converted to Estradiol (E2) in the ovaries but after menopause E1 levels increase because your ovaries stop working. Fat cells make E1 – so the more fat you have the higher your E1 levels. Also, alcohol shifts your Estrogens to the E1 form.

Estradiol or E2 is the strongest natural estrogen your body makes and it is the main estrogen your body produces before menopause. It is made mostly in your ovaries so you lose most of it at menopause. Estradiol has over 400 Functions including:

  • Maintains potassium levels
  • Helps you absorb calcium, magnesium and zinc
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Decreases LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Decreases Triglycerides
  • Decreases platelet stickiness
  • Increases growth hormone
  • Increases Serotonin
  • Improves Sleep
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Is a natural antioxidant
  • Helps maintain memory

Estriol or E3 is less stimulating on breast and uterus than E1 and E2 and studies so far have shown that it does not cause breast cancer. In fact some evidence suggests it may prevent breast cancer and has been used for this purpose in Europe for many years. Asians and Vegetarians have high E3 levels and also lower rates of breast cancer. Effective at controlling hot flashes, insomnia and vaginal dryness, Estriol also helps your gut grow good bacteria like lactobacilli while reducing pathogenic bacteria. Estriol increases HDL and lowers LDL, and by occupying the estrogen receptors on breast cells it effectively blocks the much stronger hormonal effects of Estradiol.

Estriol (E3) does not give the bone, brain and heart protection of Estradiol (E2) so to start we usually prescribe a 20% E2 with 80% E3 cream which is called Bi-Est.
Pure Compounding can formulate any % of these two estrogens since you will have an individualized treament plan. It is important to have your estrogen levels measured before and regularly during treatment so we can maintain you at the right levels.

Progesterone is made by your ovaries before menopause and some is made by the adrenal glands after menopause. Some of the symptoms of low progesterone include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Pain and Inflammation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low HDL
  • Excessive Menstruation

Some of the common causes of low progesterone are:

  • Impaired production
  • Low LH
  • Stress
  • Antidepressants
  • Excess arginine
  • Sugar
  • Saturated Fat
  • Vitamin A, B6, C and Zinc Deficiencies
  • Low Thyroid horomones

Progestins are synthetic forms of progesterone and should not be confused with bio-identical progesterone. Progestins do not reproduce the actions of natural progesterone as they have different chemical structures. Provera is an example of a common progestin used in birth control medications:

Common side effects of progestins include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Low libido
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Blocks your body’s own production of progesterone
  • Does not balance estrogen
  • Remains in your body longer
  • Causes coronary artery spasm
  • Blocks the cardio-protective effects of estrogen
  • Increases LDL and lowers HDL

Bio-Identical progesterone is safer and has fewer side effects than progestins like provera. Some of the benefits are:

  • Helps balance estrogen
  • Leaves your body quickly
  • Helps you sleep
  • Natural calming effect taken orally
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps you use fat stores for energy
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • May protect against breast cancer
  • Increases scalp hair
  • Normalized libido
  • Helps balance fluids in your cells
  • Enhances estrogen’s cardiac benefits
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Natural diuretic
  • Natural antidepressant