Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Creams: Everything You Need To Know
Hormones are chemical messengers that control basic functions and processes in your body and they help coordinate development, growth, metabolism, mood, cognitive function, and libido. When these hormones are out of balance, even just slightly, it can cause mild to severe symptoms.
As we age, our hormone levels naturally decline. As a result, this can lead to many common symptoms typically associated with aging, including weight gain, fatigue, low sex drive, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, lack of focus, and irritability. Furthermore, long-term, an untreated hormone imbalance may lead to certain diseases, including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimers, dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you suffer from a hormone imbalance, it can be debilitating if not properly addressed. The good news? You dont have to suffer, since there are now options available to treat hormone imbalance, relieve symptoms, and get your life back on track.
The symptoms of hormone imbalance that you are feeling are not inevitable. There is relief available. One of the best options available is;bioidentical hormone replacement therapy;or BHRT.
Bio-identical hormones come in a range of hormonal products including, pellets, injections, and creams. This article will focus on BHRT creams, the benefits, and risks, to help you decide whether its the right option for you.
Help From Compounded Progesterone Cream
Women are given progesterone cream by practitioners to prevent cancer but the cream doesnt work. Often the progesterone thats used in these compounded preparations is micronized progestin, because its considered bioidentical. But micronized progestin is too large, the molecules are too big to be absorbed consistently through the skin. So these women are taking estrogen, rubbing this cream on themselves to prevent cancer, and getting cancer anyway, because the cream doesnt work. It wasnt designed to be absorbed.
There are two forms of progesterone that can be used topically and are typically found in combined patches : norethindrone and levonorgestrel. Even these dont absorb all that well through surface skin, Dr. Rebecca says, and so the dosage of progesterone has to be quite high.
Progesterone is absorbed best through the GI tract so, an oral pill; through the vagina if prepared for that purpose; with a combo patch, though thats not my favorite, or via an IUD like the Mirena in the uterus. I use these because I know what kind of dosing a womans going to get, I know its going to be consistent, and I know itll be protective against endometrial cancer.
Which Bioidentical Hormones Should You Take
The molecules naturally produced in the human female body for which we most often seek replacement include:
- Estrone , estradiol , and estriol
- DHEA, an adrenal precursor to testosterone.
These truly natural hormones are available by prescription.;; Estradiol is available as Estrace pills, Estrace vaginal cream, or transdermals as the Vivelle Dot, and Climera. (Pharmaceutical companies have been able to patent the delivery system on these hormones, though the hormone itself is still bioidentical.; Estriol is available only through formulary pharmacies.; Most women do fine with just estradiol plus or minus some progesterone. And sometimes a bit of testosterone, which is available by prescription as AndroGel.
Read Also: How To Fix Hormonal Imbalance
Q: How Do Doctors Select Their Clients Dose
A: Through meticulous and thorough observations, doctors adjust doses based on their patients symptoms and particular needs. They keep the dose to its minimum requirement in achieving the best desired outcome. Doctors may make dose adjustments based on relative hormone needs and may use routine blood, saliva, or urine tests in checking hormone levels. However, the FDA does not recommend using hormone level checking as a dosing guide for women because of the fluctuation in normal day-to-day levels and varies per patient.
How To Be Healthier
Women need to be their own best advocates while science and Western medicine catch up.
Get a doctor you can truly trust, Dr. Rebecca says. Weve gotten poorer at judging someones credentials and knowledge base and approach, so ask the important questions until youre confident this person knows what theyre talking about.
One good measure is to see if theyre certified by the North American Menopause Society for menopause care. All of Gennevs telemedicine ob/gyns are required to have this certification.
And do your own research. Read Estrogen Matters by Drs. Bluming and Tavris to have a more informed understanding of HRT and the WHI study. Browse NAMS resource library. And of course, check out the resources right here on Gennev.
If you have questions, a menopause specialist ob/gyn is probably your very best bet for answers. Youll find them in Gennevs telemedicine.
Are you considering HRT and not feeling confident about the options? We’d love to continue the discussion. Please join us in our public forums, leave us a note on the , or join our community;in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.;
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Symptoms Of Low Progesterone
What kind of symptoms may be associated with low progesterone?
Luckily low progesterone is easy to identify through symptoms and can be confirmed through basic serum lab testing .;
Symptoms of low progesterone include:
- Inability to fall asleep at night
- Water retention and bloating
- Roller coaster emotions
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- A personal history of conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or fibrocystic breast disease
- Breast tenderness
- A known diagnosis of PMS or PMDD
- History of multiple miscarriages or issues with infertility
If you are experiencing 3+ of the symptoms listed above then your next step should be to consider assessing your serum levels of both progesterone and estradiol .;
Some of these symptoms are also associated with other hormone imbalances and other medical conditions which is why it’s important to confirm the diagnosis through testing.;
What Is Adrenal Fatigue
Fatigue, foggy mind, poor sleep, and weight gain are common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal gland produces Cortisol, which controls our response to stress. During times of high stress, whether short or long-term, your ability to produce the proper levels of Cortisol can be affected. Sound nutrition, exercise, and short-term Cortisol supplementation can reverse this condition.
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Read Also: What Does Estrogen Do For You
Estriol Offers Estrogen Metabolism Benefits
An interesting feature of the estriol form of estrogen is that it actually increases estrogen metabolism when used in conjunction with a smaller amount of estradiol. According to a study, scientists investigated a mixture of both stimulating and non-stimulating effects posed by estriol upon estrogen receptors.
It was found that when estriol is given topically together with estradiol, the estradiol-specific stimulation to cells is decreased. This breakthrough discovery helped to explain how estriol actually reduces the cancerous effects of estradiol. It was also shown that estriol can have pro-estrogenic effects when given alone over a long period of time, which explains why menopausal women achieved symptom relief after taking bioidentical estriol by itself. The optimal ratio is 80% estriol to 20% estradiol.
Top Bioidentical Progesterone Things You Should Know:
I think you would agree with me when I tell you how difficult it is to find truthful and actionable information on bioidentical progesterone cream.
The problem is that for years education on female hormones was limited at best. This compounded the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have been pushing their own agendas, and confusing not only doctors but patients about bioidentical progesterone and how using natural progesterone has less if any, side effects than synthetic progesterone.; In our clinic we have helped hundreds of women work through hormonal balance issues, perimenopause, menopause, recovery from the removal of the thyroid, and hysterectomies, etc.; We have helped turn once desperate and frustrated women into happy, loving, productive, sexually active, stress-free women and more.
In this post, I am going to teach you all about bioidentical progesterone, how to use it, and what to avoid.
Get Started With Bhrt Treatments
Many individuals are discovering the benefits of BHRT as an effective way to reduce symptoms related to menopause, perimenopause, and even andropause.
Understanding the various effects and dosing forms of bioidentical hormones is essential for health care practitioners who want to offer BHRT therapy.
The individualized treatment that BHRT offers can help women and men feel more empowered about their own health.
To learn more about how to prescribe BHRT effectively and safely, schedule a free strategy call with us.
Enjoy this article? Here are three more to learn from:
What Is Bioidentical Progesterone
Bioidentical progesterone is the use of plant-based hormones which are identical on a molecular level to human hormones. ;Therefore, bioidentical progesterone is the use of natural progesterone that closely matches human progesterone.
The term bioidentical means the hormones in the product are chemically identical to those your body produces. In fact, the hormones in bioidentical medications may not be any different from those in traditional hormone therapy.
Several hormone therapy products approved by the FDA and prescribed by health care providers contain bioidentical hormones.
Natural means the hormones in the product come from plant or animal sources; theyre not synthesized in a lab. However, many of these products still need to be commercially processed to become bioidentical.
Traditional hormone therapies dont necessarily exclude natural hormones. Some FDA-approved products such as Estrace, Climara, and Vivelle-Dot, which contain estrogens, and Prometrium, a natural progesterone also are derived from plants.
John R. Lee, MD, the pioneer in womens health and tailored hormonal balance programs, suggests transdermal application of bioidentical progesterone cream is the best. This way is known to mimic the bodys natural release of progesterone and is more effective at influencing progesterone levels than oral progesterone.
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How And Where To Use Bioidentical Hormone Creams Are Questions That Come Up Frequently And Here Dr Bond Explains Why Correct Application And Usage Is So Important
I know I am supposed to rotate the cream, but I am not quite sure what this means? Simply, it means that you do not want to put the cream onto the same place every day. Most women who are using the cream experiment to find their own routine, but a simple way is to think of using it where it can be easily absorbed. ;This includes different areas of the body, fatty tissue where absorption is slower and stays in the body longer, and thinner areas where it is more quickly absorbed, but not so long lasting but can bring faster relief for hot flushes for example.
Every day you want to put the cream in a different place. You could start on day one with the face, then on other days use the neck, palms of the hands, lower arms, stomach, buttocks, lower back or inner thighs.; That will give you more than seven different places to put the cream, and as there are seven days in the week it should work out.; Also the cream can be used internally as one of the rotation sites and is particularly useful for women suffering from vaginal dryness.
Also splitting the dose so you are having half in the morning and half in the evening usually helps absorption, unless you are specifically directed otherwise.
However hard I rub the cream in, it doesnt seem to be fully absorbed. Am I doing something wrong?You do not need to rub, the cream is absorbed easily with a light touch, just like a moisturizing cream.
Q: Is It Bad To Use Compounded Bio
A: Compounded bio-identical hormones are the much riskier type to take. In some instances, they have been proven to be the right choice, although the right source, dose, or mix of hormones are needed for every patient. In addition, pre-made forms may create a bad reaction in some patients, so it is still best to consult your doctor for the best type for you.
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My Bioidentical Hormone Creams Are Killing Me
My Bioidentical Hormone Creams Are Killing Me !!!
With the publication of the NASEM report July, 2020, I was astonished to learn that for the past 20 years, compounded bioidentical hormones have been killing every one. ; If only we had used FDA approved hormone pills and patches manufactured by the Pharmaceutical Industry, everything could have been so much better.
This is All Nonsense
Of course, this is all nonsense, because over the past 20 years of prescribing compounded bio-identical hormones to thousands of patients, I can attest to good outcomes in patients on compounded bioidentical hormones, with relief of menopausal symptoms and good quality of life .; Of course, adverse side effects can occur, most commonly related to excess hormone dosage. ; These are easily managed by adjusting dosage under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician.; .
Evidence Does Not Support Clinical Utility of Compounded Bioidentical Hormones
Here is the conclusion of the NASEM Report:
Evidence does not support the clinical utility of compounded bioidentical hormone therapies and their use should be limited to patients who cannot use products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration ,
Endocrine Nonsense Society ?
Compounded Bioidentical Hormones Are on the Chopping Block
Pharmaceutical Industry as Organized Crime Syndicate
Insidious New Campaign to Eliminate Compounded Hormones
The Old Gimmick Used by the Pharmaceutical Industry
The Only Acceptable Evidence
Links and references
Will Progesterone Help With Weight Loss
One reason that many women want to use progesterone cream is that they believe it will help with weight loss.;
While some women do experience weight loss while taking progesterone I don’t think you should expect it or use it for this purpose.;
The short story is that progesterone can be used to augment weight loss if it’s also combined with existing weight loss strategies and therapies.;
But by itself, it’s not a very effective weight loss hormone or medication.;
In addition, some women actually experience weight gain while taking progesterone cream.;
History And Facts About Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
The North American Menopause Society reports that about 1.4 million women now use;BHRT treatments, which is around 40 percent of all prescriptions for hormone therapy in women who are menopausal or postmenopausal.
To date, no large, long-term study has been done to determine the adverse effects of bioidentical hormones, so safety concerns remain a serious issue. The Womens Health Initiative, one large, long-term study that tested the effects of FDA-approved hormone replacement drugs, determined that side effects are possible in some patients and that these drugs have not been proven to prevent any diseases. That being said, millions of women have reported improvements from using hormone replacement drugs.
As described above, one concern with the use of BHRT is using a custom-mixed solution that;has not been FDA-tested. According to the FDA, other concerns can include disguising/leaving untreated symptoms that are really caused by another illness or potential side effects like raising the risk for blood clots, stroke, gallbladder disease, vision changes, skin changes, mood swings, and possibly heart disease or breast cancer. As of now, the FDA has also never approved any drug containing estriol, so keep in mind that benefits associated with products containing this hormone remain especially unknown.
If You Dont Use The Right Amount Of Biological Hormones For Your Individual Symptoms You Could Experience:
- Breast tenderness
- Itching at the application site
It may be frustrating to continue to see the same kinds of symptoms for which youre seeking treatment, but as your testing continues and your hormone levels are adjusted, you will feel much better.
Once your hormones have reached an ideal balance, you are likely to see a drastic reduction or complete absence of these adverse effects. The adjustment period may take several visits, but it is well worth the results.
Do Not Put Cream Anywhere Near Your Breast Tissue:
Bioidentical hormone creams can migrate to other adjacent areas. ;If you apply your hormone cream to your upper arm, shoulders, or chest, you can inadvertently get it on your breast tissue. ;It can migrate to your axillary area which has breast tissue, which is very responsive to hormones. I never want hormones near the breast tissue.
Whats The Difference Between Natural And Bioidentical Hormones
All hormones are natural. But what most women mean when they say they want natural hormones is that they are interested in using bioidentical hormones. The distinction is that bioidentical hormones are identical in their molecular shape, makeup, and structure to hormones made in the human body. This is what makes bioidentical hormones the perfect keys to unlock the bodys receptor sites. In other words, its the shape of the molecule not the source.
Today, most women know that, while natural, the hormone Premarin, which is marketed as Prempro when combined with the synthetic progestin Provera, is not bioidentical. My colleague, the late Dr. Joel Hargrove, used to say, Premarin is a natural hormone if your native food is hay! Thats because its made from conjugated mare urine. Provera does not occur naturally in nature. It is used as a substitute for bioidentical progesterone. Pharmaceutical companies do this because they cannot patent a naturally occurring hormone!
If you are in doubt as to whether a particular product offered to you by prescription is bioidentical, check the label. If it lists esterified estrogens, progestins, or progestogens, the product is not bioidentical. You can also research the products you may be considering, as many have their own websites.
Are Saliva And Blood Tests Fda Approved
Yes, those tests are FDA approved for diagnostic purposes — but not to tailor hormone treatment.
“The tests are not approved for use to measure hormone levels to adjust hormone therapy,” says Uhl, who points out that hormone levels can fluctuate throughout the day.