The first, or short-term goal, is to address menopausal symptoms of estrogen deficiency such as hot flushes, night sweats, disturbed sleep patterns and vaginal dryness. These symptoms can be treated with a commercially available topical or skin application of estrogen as a cream, gel, patch or spray, in combination with oral natural progesterone to protect against breast and uterine cancer.
There are numerous products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, in fixed dosages, that are available. If your only concern is discomfort during intercourse a vaginal estrogen preparation such as a cream, tablet or ring may suffice. Monitoring tends to be limited and a patient can discontinue therapy anytime she feels her symptoms are no longer significant. Synthetic hormone products such as Premarin®, Provera® and Prempro® will achieve the same results, but at a much higher cost to your health due to their inflammatory side effects and lack of protection against breast cancer.
The second goal for using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is more far reaching. It addresses not only treatment of menopausal symptoms but focuses on many other integrated hormone systems that are necessary to maintain sexuality, bone strength, immune system support and cognition. These include thyroid and adrenal function, the effectiveness of androgens like testosterone and DHEA, and the protective effects of anti-oxidants, multivitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. All hormone levels or hormonal function decline with advancing age beginning in the second to third decade of life. The primary long term goal of replacement therapy is to reduce the risks of major disease events such as heart disease, cancer and degenerative illnesses like osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and aging skin. This is accomplished by optimizing the levels of replacement hormones, that is, to return to those youthful levels when you were 18-20 years old. The result: no estrogen deficiency symptoms, significantly improved libido, arousal and heightened orgasm, increased muscle mass, weight loss and loss of fat around the abdomen, sharper focusing, improved memory and reduced fatigue. There are abundant studies in major medical journals to support these statements. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease can be dramatically reduced with the use of natural hormone replacement therapy.
Attaining these results does not happen overnight. It requires commitment. It may take many months to achieve the balance of hormone replacement that will make you feel incredibly better when your hormone levels become ideal. There will be frequent consultations in the office and on the telephone, as well as regular laboratory testing to assure you are receiving the proper amount of medications and insure the safety of your therapy. Long term realistic expectations pay off handsomely, so it is important to be patient.