Hormone Replacement Therapy and the Effects of Aging.
As both men and women
grow older, hormone levels decline and cause imbalance in
your body along with uncomfortable symptoms such as diminished
libido, low energy, increased body fat, declining levels of
lean muscle, as well as problems associated with sexual
health and mental well-being.
administered programs of individually customized Bio-Identical Hormone
Therapy, specific hormone levels in the body are restored to
levels associated with youth, thereby reducing the effects
of aging. Patients notice restored levels of energy, sex
drive, libido, mental well-being and balance, as well as
significant improvements in memory and overall mental and
preparations are medications that contain hormones that are
an exact chemical match to those made naturally by the human
Dr. Joann Manson, chief of preventive medicine at
Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston and the Elizabeth F.
Brigham Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical
school. Some bioidentical hormones are made by drug
companies, are approved by the FDA, and are sold in standard
doses. Other bioidentical hormone preparations are made at
special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies, which make
the preparations on an individual case-by-case basis for
each patient. Those custom preparations are not approved by
What is the
difference between Synthetic and Natural Hormones?
With the publication of
Suzanne Somers’ book "Ageless," a great deal of
attention has been given to the topic of hormone replacement
therapy, resulting in an large amount of confusion and
misinformation. As Ms Sommers' book stresses, it is
important for people to recognize that there are two
categories of hormones: synthetic and natural. What is meant
by the term “natural” is actually more accurately described
as bioidentical. That is, the chemical structures of these
hormones are identical to those that occur naturally in our
bodies, while synthetic hormones are formulas, which are
patented by a manufacturer, and are therefore structurally
different from naturally occurring hormones. It is because
of the structural differences inherent in synthetic hormones
that undesirable side effects, including an increased risk
of cancer, have been linked to hormone replacement therapy.
By contrast, because bioidentical hormones mimic those
occurring naturally in the body, no such unwanted side
compounded bioidentical hormones FDA approved?
The FDA does not approve
any compounded products, for any condition, because by
definition compounded products are not standardized. That
does not mean that compounding is bad. Compounding may be
useful for patients who are allergic to an additive in an
FDA-approved product, says Kathleen Uhl, MD, the FDA's
assistant commissioner for women's health. But "the purpose
of compounding is to do it on a patient-by-patient basis, so
there is nothing that is submitted to FDA to evaluate, hence
they are not FDA approved," Uhl explains. And because
compounded products do not go through the FDA approval
process, they don't bear the same warnings as other hormone
Does that mean
Compounded Bioidentical Products are safer?
"There is no reason to
think that these bioidentical compounded [products] would
have a different safety profile than the FDA-approved ones,"
Uhl says. She points out that some compounding pharmacies
have received warning letters from the FDA for false and
misleading claims about safety and other benefits. Isaac
Schiff, MD, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at
Massachusetts General Hospital, agrees. Schiff led an
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG)
committee that reviewed the scientific evidence on
compounded bioidentical hormone therapy in 2005. That
committee concluded that there was no scientific evidence to
support claims of increased efficacy or safety for
compounded estrogen or progesterone regimens. The North
American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the Endocrine Society
have issued similar statements.
When should I
consider Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
In general, your body’s
natural hormones begin to decline in your mid-20s and
hormone imbalance symptoms may begin to occur by the time
you are in your mid-30s. Both men and women often
start replacing hormones in their late 30s or early 40s.
insurance cover Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
It depends upon your
insurance company and the specific coverage provided by your
insurance policy. It has been our experience that many
insurance companies do cover treatment and lab testing is
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