There are three main groups of sex hormones that are essential to the normal function of the female body, and achieving the proper balance of these hormones is the key to relieving symptoms. Most commercially available products do not address achieving balance; they simply deliver one or two of these chemicals at a predetermined dosage.
Estrogens are actually a group of related hormones each with a unique profile of activity and these levels fluctuate based on a woman’s menstrual cycle. The three main estrogens produced in female humans are:
- Estrone – E-1 (10-20% of circulating estrogen) is the primary estrogen produced after menopause.
- Estradiol – E-2 (10-30% of circulating estrogen) is the most potent estrogen and the primary estrogen produced before menopause.
- Estriol – E-3 (60-80% of circulating estrogen) causes little or no buildup of the endometrium and is very effective in relieving vaginal and urinary symptoms in post-menopausal women.
Only about 20% of women who start synthetic hormone replacement therapy remain only two years later. Synthetic progestins (like medroxy progesterone) are analogues of bio-identical progesterone and can have significant side effects when administered at physiologic doses. These can include migraine headache, weight gain, mood swings, depression, irritability, acne, menstrual irregularities, and fluid retention. These side effects are a frequent cause for discontinuation of HRT.
Bio-identical progesterone has not been reported to produce any serious side effects when administered in physiologic doses.
The benefits of bio-identical progesterone:
- Counteracts “estrogen dominance” which occurs when a woman produces smaller amounts of progesterone than normal relative to estrogen levels.
- Alone or combined with estrogen may improve bone mineral density.
- Minimizes the risk of encloentrial cancer in women who are receiving estrogen.
- Has less side effects than synthetic progestins.
- May enhance the beneficial effects of estrogen on cholesterol and lipid profiles in post-menopausal women.
These hormones are important in both men and women and they have an essential role in the integrity of skin, muscle, and bone, as well as in maintaining libido. Declines in androgens are associated with hysterectomy, menopause and age related decreases of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) which is an androgen precursor from which the body can derive testosterone.
Androgens, such as testosterone and DHEA:
- Enhance libido
- Enhance bone building
- Provide cardiovascular protection
- Improve energy level and mental alertness