Bio-Identical Hormone [BH] Replacement Therapy [BHRT]
World J Urol. 2002 May;20(1):4-10 ~ WITH PROLONGED LIFE EXPECTANCY, MEN AND WOMEN CAN EXPECT TO LIVE ONE-THIRD OF THEIR LIVES WITH SOME FORM OF HORMONE DEFICIENCY.
Optimal health in ageing comes from a balance of hormone messengers such as those from the ovaries, thyroid and adrenals. BHs are those similar to that produced by the body, modified from plant precursors found in soy and wild yam.
Using BHRT for ageing, its dose and nature is tailor-made according to each person’s profile. In contrast, conventional HRT for women utilizes synthetic or natural hormones [e.g. from horse urine] and in standard doses.
“Estrogens” are a class of 3 major hormones – estrone [E1], estradiol [E2] and estriol [E3]. The powerful E1 and E2 are produced in the ovaries and also converted from testosterone [T] in fatty tissue. At high doses, it is felt that these increase the risk of endometrial and breast cancer.
E3 comes mainly from liver conversion of E1, some of E2, with the ovaries producing very small amounts directly. Though a weak E, it protects the body from carcinogenic effects of E1 and E2. It has been shown that cancer risk is reduced when the amount of E3 is >1 compared with total E1 + E2 [estrogen quotient].
Progesterone [P], secreted by the corpus luteum, negates the effect of estrogens. It is used to treat premenstrual symptoms [PMS], menopausal symptoms and postnatal depression. It helps new bone formation, prevent fibrocystic breasts and uterine cancer and contributes to cardiovascular health. It also has a calming effect – promoting sleep. It is best to add P when T is given in men as it prevents T conversion to E2.
T, an androgen hormone, causes male pattern baldness, male voice and acne. It improves bone and muscle formation, maintains energy and increases libido.
Thus the benefits of BHRT include:
- Relief of menopausal symptoms – hot flush, night sweat, fatigue, dry skin / vagina
- Improves sleep, mood, memory / concentration, libido
- Prevent and reverse osteoporosis
- Maintain muscle mass and strength
- Long-term cardiovascular and health benefits
To determine the need for and the nature and dosage of BHs to be used if so, urine, blood and saliva tests are variously used. A symptom based Hormone Balance Test for ease of use follows.
Symptom Group 1
- Early miscarriage
- Painful and/or lumpy breasts
- Unexplained weight gain
- Cyclical headaches
Progesterone [P] deficiency. This is the most common hormone imbalance among women of all ages. You may need to change your diet, eliminate synthetic hormones (including birth control pills) and begin to use some P cream.
Symptom Group 2
- Vagina Dryness
- Night sweats
- Painful intercourse
- Memory problems
- Bladder infections
- Lethargic depression
- Hot flushes
Estrogen [E] deficiency. This hormone imbalance is most common in menopausal women, especially if you’re petite and/or slim. You may need to make some special changes to your diet and take some herbs or even a bit of natural E.
Symptom Group 3
- Puffiness and bloating
- Cervical dysplasia
- (abnormal pap smear)
- Rapid weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Heavy bleeding
- Anxious depression
- Migraine headaches
- Foggy thinking
- Red flush on face
- Gallbladder problems
Excess E. In women this problem is most often solved by getting off conventional synthetic hormones. Adding P often helps relieve symptoms and balance hormones
Symptom Group 4
A combination of groups 1 and 3 - if you’ve ticked two or more boxes in each of these groups, you may belong to symptom group 4
E dominance. This is caused when you don’t have enough P to balance the effects of E. Thus, you may have low E but if you have even lower P, you can have symptoms of E dominance. Many women between the ages of 40 and 50 suffer from E dominance. You may want to try using some natural P cream.
1. Read of the symptoms in all groups
2. Tick the ones you have [in all groups]
3. + if 2 or more ticks for the group
Symptom Group 5
- Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS)
- Excessive hair on the face and arms
- Hypoglycaemia and/or unstable blood sugar
- Thinning hair on the head
- Ovarian cysts
- Midcycle pain
Excess androgens (male hormones). This is most often caused by too much sugar and simple carbohydrates in the diet, and can often be dealt with through simple dietary changes.
Symptom Group 6
- Debilitating fatigue
- Unstable blood sugar
- Foggy thinking
- Low blood pressure
- Thin and /or dry skin
- Intolerance to excercise
- Brown spots on face
Cortisol deficiency. This is caused by tired adrenals, which are usually caused by chronic stress. If you’re trying to juggle a job and a family, chances are good you have tired adrenals.