June 10, 2018

Hormone Replacement Therapy Part 1: Estrogen

With over 400 functions in the body, estrogen is one of our most important hormones, protecting us against osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and colon cancer. As we transition into menopause and estrogen levels begin to decline, some women may experience hot flashes, mood swings, mind fog, vaginal dryness, and hair and skin changes. Hormone replacement therapy reverses these symptoms by restoring and regulating estrogen levels.

What are your options for estrogen replacement?

Synthetic Estrogen

Oral estrogen replacement medications like premarin and estradiol are made from horse urine and can create large spikes in estrogen bloodstream levels. If you have a history of blood clots or breast cancer, you should avoid taking synthetic estrogen replacement due to the increased risk of developing a blood clot.

Bio-Identical Estrogen

Bio-identical estrogen–which comes in the form of skin patches, creams, and pellets– is made from yam plant, and is a safe and effective alternative to synthetic estrogen.

Bio-identical patches and creams may be effective in decreasing hot flashes. However, they may not be absorbed adequately enough to achieve optimum bloodstream levels. Due to the short-acting nature of creams, they also must be applied once to twice a day, which may lead to poor compliance.

Bio-identical pellets are rice-sized hormone pellets inserted right under the skin of your hip. They are designed to maintain consistent hormone levels by time releasing similarly to our own bodies’ system. Hormone pellets are my preferred method of hormone replacement therapy, and here’s why:

  • Dosing is individualized
  • They are identical to the hormones naturally produced in our bodies
  • They are long-acting, lasting anywhere from 3-6 months
  • They have fewer side effects compared to synthetics
  • There is minimal variability- you can count on your pellet’s effectiveness each time!

Alternative Methods

Whether for preference or you are unable to take estrogen therapy due to your medical history, there are a number of alternative options available, such as:

  • Non-hormonal medications
  • Herbal supplements, such as Swedish Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, and Black Cohost, which can be used to treat mild symptoms
  • Low-dose vaginal estrogen for women suffering from vaginal dryness

If you are taking estrogen therapy and still have your uterus, you should also be taking progesterone, which protects the lining of the uterus and decreases your risk of endometrial cancer. Progesterone is also helpful in promoting sleep and regulating mood and heavy bleeding associated with menopausal transition.

Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mia to discuss which hormone replacement therapy is right for you!