Estrogen in Women
The Med-Health 360 Prescription
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is the primary sex hormone for women. It is produced primarily in a woman’s ovaries and is responsible for puberty developments including breast, public hair and menstruation. It is the reason why women have a menstrual cycle, it helps control lactation for breastfeeding and is an important part of bone growth. Estrogen, along with other hormones, including testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormone also help regulate glucose modulation, are instrumental in boosting energy and have a significant affect over emotions and moods. Serotonin and all those ‘feel good’ chemicals like endorphins are affected by estrogen.
Many teenage girls and menopausal women feel that estrogen is the enemy within, the dictatorial hormone they would like to expel but would ultimately miss for the good times they can provide. It is a hormone that has a huge influence on a woman’s body and mind.
Facts About Estrogen:
- It’s the main female hormone
- Estrogen receptors are found in every cell of a woman’s body
- Estrogen declines as early as 30 years of age and is critically low by the age of 50
- Low estrogen levels are responsible for: weight gain, cloudy thinking, low sex drive, low energy, and osteoporosis.
- High estrogen levels are responsible for: weight gain, irregular periods, possibly breast and ovarian cancer, thyroid diseases, bloating, headaches and fatigue
Estrogen and Menopause
As women age, their levels of estrogen begin to decrease. It begins during their 30s and becomes extreme during their late 40s during the menopause years. Way back in time when the average life expectancy was only around 30 to 40 years old this wasn’t an issue but now women have a life expectancy into the 80s it is a terrible problem! This implies that a woman is estrogen deficient for more than half her life!
Think about the main symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, rapid heart rates, night sweats, memory fog, lower levels of energy and mood swings that can lead to joy and despair happening almost simultaneously. For many women, menopause is even worse than puberty. It is no front row seats at a Broadway musical or winning a Caribbean trip at a charity event. These menopausal symptoms are produced by lower levels of estrogen. Most women experience a 30-60% decrease in estrogen levels during menopause.
Basically, estrogen keeps everything moving and growing and functioning optimally. Take away estrogen, and things don’t work as well—they decline. Replace estrogen, and everything functions better. Estrogen is key to healthy aging for women.
Estrogen Can Be Replaced
Many if not most of the problems associated with menopause and low estrogen levels could be addressed simply with estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) using synthesized estrogen or bioidentical hormones.
Estrogen replacement therapy has been somewhat controversial because of the risks that are associated with taking ERT. Some studies show there is a slight increase in stroke risk, breast cancer, blood clots and side effects such as swollen breasts, headache and nausea. But there are plenty of positives to taking estrogen replacement therapies – it can lower your risk of osteoporosis and help with the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
Traditional estrogen replacement therapy uses synthetic estrogens that do not completely resemble human estrogen. That is where bioidentical hormones come in. As the name implies, bioidentical estrogen is identical to human estrogen and the vast majority of scientific findings report that it is safe and effective in treating women who suffer from low estrogen levels.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are synthetic hormones derived from plant estrogens that are chemically identical to the hormones produced by your body. Common hormone treatments include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone replacement. Generic forms are available, but compounded hormones can be synthesized to specifically target an individuals needs. These compounded bioidentical hormones are safer for patients when prescribed by a reputable physician who understands that not all patients are created equal.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Women
Bioidentical Pellet Therapy offers many benefits to women over traditional Hormone Replacement Therapies:
- Bioidentical Pellet Therapy uses hormones that are bioidentical, this means the hormones are the exact same molecular structure as the naturally occurring human hormones.
- Bioidentical hormones are found in nature and are derived from plants such as soy and yam. HRT uses hormones synthesized from the urine of pregnant mares. Bioidentical Pellet Therapy for women uses hormones that are more natural to the human body and can often result in fewer negative side effects than those often prescribed by conventional physicians.
- Bioidentical pellet therapy offers a convenient benefit for women as the pellets remain in the body and release a steady state of hormones that the body requires. In comparison other hormone replacement therapy options such as oral, cream and gels that can be inconsistent in their delivery resulting in a rollercoaster effect in many Women.
Risks of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
There are risks in taking any form of hormonal therapy replacements, both bioidentical and more traditional versions. It can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, gallbladder disease and certain evidence has suggested an increased risk of breast cancer. These are the risks for estrogen in general and the risks exist whether a woman undergoes hormone replacement or not. HRT has been connected to an increased risk for certain types of cancers, especially breast cancer. The studies that discovered a link between HRT and breast cancer refer to women being treated with synthetic HRT, not bioidentical HRT. However, there are no studies that show that bioidentical HRT is any safer than synthetic HRT. The risk of breast cancer increases the longer a woman engages in any type of HRT, and the risk decreases once HRT is stopped. That is why it is important to undertake any hormone replacement therapy only on the advice of a qualified doctor. The advice is generally use in small doses and for the shortest amount of time possible.
Combining Estrogen With Other Hormones
Estrogen is not the only hormone that controls a women’s emotional and physical state. In order to help alleviate menopause symptoms it is important to test all hormone levels and based on the results, create an individualized treatment program and BHRT pellet. Other hormones that should be taken into account are:
Progesterone’s main function is to prepare a woman’s uterus for pregnancy and take care of the endometrium, the inner uterine lining. During menopause progesterone levels decline, sometimes they are the first hormones to change and will cause breast tenderness, mood swings and weight gain.
Testosterone is not the first hormone you would expect a woman to have but it also plays an important part in the emotional and physical well-being of women. Low testosterone can cause sleep disturbances, depression, mood swings, decrease sex drive, can weaken bones, and cause weight gain. Left untreated it could lead to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.
Estrogen is known to regulate the following:
Weight Gain / Loss
Female symptoms connected to estrogen imbalance
Low Sex Drive
Benefits of Estrogen:
Keeps your teeth healthy
Protects your lungs from cancer
Prevents colon cancer
Helps you concentrate
Keeps your voice strong & healthy
Protects your brain & memory
Lowers the risk of heart attacks
Keeps vaginal tissue elastic
Promotes collagen production
Decreases “bad cholesterol” (LDL), and increases “good cholesterol” (HDL).
Helps your skin retain moisture, minimizing wrinkles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) has actually been used in the United States since 1938. Bio-identical Hormones are all natural plant based products made from yams and a small amount of soy. These hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced within our own bodies. There are numerous studies worldwide that document the benefits and safety of BHRT. These studies also report a lower incidence of side effects when compared with prescription drugs. BHRT should not be confused with “synthetic hormones which are typically found in many creams, gels and injectables used for hormone replacement.
BHRT is a short, simple in-office procedure using local anesthesia. Your doctor will insert the pellets into the fatty layer just beneath your skin. In men and women, a small incision is made in the buttocks or in the lower abdomen. The process is painless and takes just a few minutes.
One of greatest advantages of pellet therapy is the low incidence of side effects. Although extremely rare, side effects may include: slight bruising, minor bleeding, infection or extrusion of the pellets.
Your doctor will interpret your blood tests and determine an appropriate dosage specifically designed for your body. Women who receive estrogen can feel significantly better in 24-36 hours. Men and women who receive testosterone will start to feel relief of symptoms in 10-14 days. After your pellet insertion, you should avoid vigorous exercise for a few days as directed by your physician. Your doctor will evaluate your hormone levels on an ongoing basis and monitor any future changes needed.
You can obtain BHRT Pellets by scheduling an appointment with a trained, certified physician who specializes in hormonal therapy. In order to obtain the correct dosage and proper placement of the pellets, the doctor should be knowledgeable and specifically trained in pellet therapy!
To find out if BHRT is the right solution for you, speak with an HTCA physician today!
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones:
It is identical in structure to natural human estrogen
They are extracted from plants like soy and yams
There are fewer side effects
Increase Energy Levels
Improved mental ability
Lowers the risk of heart attacks
Enhanced sexual libido
A healthy sense of well-being
Fewer night sweats/hot flashes
Can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Can decrease risk of Alzheimer's
Reduced body fat
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