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Bioidentical Hormones vs. Synthetics
Bioidentical hormones exactly mimic the structure and function of the hormones inside your body. Bioidentical hormones come from plant sources, and help women rebalance hormone levels in their bodies in a natural way.
Synthetic hormone drugs, on the other hand, do not mimic your body's natural hormones. They mainly turn off menopause's symptoms rather than rebalancing hormone levels.
Recent studies have shown synthetic hormones - specifically estrogen in combination with progesterone - significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, synthetics, a one-size-fits-all pill, are often prescribed in combination with sleeping pills and antidepressants, which can slow your metabolism and can cause weight gain.
Three Steps in the Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy Process
Step One: Get a Hormone Analysis. Your LifeWorks health practitioner will conduct a full review of your medical history and order a hormone analysis (from a blood, saliva, or urine sample) to check your hormone levels.
We will carefully listen to what you are experiencing, talking with you about your specific situation and answering all of your questions. (We may also be able to prescribe something natural to help relieve your symptoms while you are waiting for your tests to come back from the lab.) The hormone analysis lab results will give you precise measurements of the following types of hormones:
• Estrogens: There are three types of estrogen hormones — estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estradiol is about 80 times more potent than estriol in its effect on the body.
• Progesterone: This female sex hormone helps balance estrogen levels and works as a natural diuretic to counter water retention.
• Testosterone: This hormone has an influence on energy, well-being, and sex drive.
• Adrenal hormones (cortisol and DHEA/dehydroepiandroesterone): These hormones, called "androgen hormones," help your body deal with stress, but continued high levels of stress can deplete these hormones. When depleted, your adrenal glands will "steal" from your reproductive hormones, making menopause symptoms worse.
• Thyroid hormones: These hormones affect your energy level and metabolism.
Step 2: Receive Your Prescription. + Program, When your tests are returned from the lab, Lisa will go over the results with you and write out your hormone prescription. Together you will work out a program. Ideal hormone levels depend on your height, weight, genetic inheritance, diet, metabolic rate, daily stress, body composition, exposure to environmental toxins, protein synthesis, and other factors - all of which vary from individual to individual. The unique nature of your body means your prescription and program will be tailored specifically to fit you.
Although bioidentical hormones are not drugs, you will need to fill your prescription at a compounding pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy can measure out the precise dosage levels your health practitioner prescribes.
Step 3. Track the Effect and Continue To Communicate with Your Health Practitioner. By tracking the effect of the hormones and regularly communicating with Susan, your health practitioner, she may have you adjust the dosage according to the effects you describe.
After three months, you will return to the clinic for a follow-up hormone analysis to once again measure your hormone levels, moving closer toward your ideal levels.
Note that any situations of unusual stress can throw off your hormone balance. In this instance you would contact Susan right away to see if you need to have your hormone levels tested again and a new prescription made.
Natural Solutions Other Than Bioidentical Hormones
Not all natural solutions for menopause symptoms involve bioidentical hormones. If you desire, you can use natural herbs as well. These might include black cohosh, wild yams, lignans, chasteberry, Don Quai, red clover tops, fenugreek seeds, saw palmetto seeds, and others. These herbs contain phyto-chemicals that can help support your hormone levels and hormone-producing glands. In fact, because these herbs contain do not contain true estrogens, they are actually thought to be protective against breast cancer.Not all natural solutions for menopause symptoms involve bioidentical hormones. If you desire, you can use natural herbs as well. These might include black cohosh, wild yams, lignans, chasteberry, Don Quai, red clover tops, fenugreek seeds, saw palmetto seeds, and others. These herbs contain phyto-chemicals that can help support your hormone levels and hormone-producing glands. In fact, because these herbs contain do not contain true estrogens, they are actually thought to be protective against breast cancer.