Bioidentical Women’s Hormone Therapy
by Dr. Fred Harvey
We have heard much conflicting information with regard to hormone replacement in the past 25 years. From Suzanne Sommers, who popularized the term “bioidentical” in 1997, to the negative press of the Women’s Health Initiative in 2001, and all the way to the present, we have been inundated with so many opinions that it makes the head spin.
Many women have fallen prey to marketing campaigns for different interventions that promote health and longevity. However, there are some factual points which can help to clarify the steps women can take to ensure optimal hormone health.
First, I want to define bioidentical. BIO HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) uses estradiol, the principle human estrogen, rather than conjugated horse estrogen found in the carcinogenic pill Premarin. Instead of the synthetic toxin medroxyprogesterone found in Prempro and Depo-Provera, we use progesterone which can help protect against both breast and uterine cancers.
The term “natural” is not used with bioidentical hormones because all of them are anti-synthetic. They are made in a lab using enzymes to transform natural plant extracts such as genistein from soy or dioscorea from wild yam. This process results in bioidentical hormone replacements that function exactly like human hormones do.
In addition to hormone replacement therapy, it’s also important to follow the foundational principles of clean diet, abundant water, restful sleep, daily exercise and nurturing relationships. Fiber, micronutrients (like B vitamins), sulfur compounds (like sulforaphane), DIM from brassica vegetables, and phytochemicals (like genistein from soy) promote healthy hormone metabolism. Probiotics can also help to ensure the gut and liver function optimally which further supports hormone health.
There are many approaches to Hormone Replacement Therapy, but one in particular has no long-term clinical trial evidence of safety, has never been studied officially to determine efficacy, has no certified method of manufacture or delivery, and defies every principle of functional medicine because it overrides natural physiologic signals to force the body into hormone induced submission and glandular coma.
This method uses hormone pellets. Pellets are compounded by certain pharmacies, using a variety of waxy carriers that dissolve at slow unknown rates which are different in everyone. These are injected into abdominal fat with a large needle called a trocar. Once placed, they cannot be removed without surgery.
The pellets make hormone levels flatline for many months. This causes a “coma” in the master glands, hypothalamus and pituitary, shutting them down for the duration. Hormones fluctuate monthly in women and daily in men. Therefore, hormone pellets are not natural and can be potential harmful.
I prefer the use of topical or oral hormone replacement. There are brand names, generic pharmaceuticals and compounded hormones to achieve the desired outcomes. I have been using bioidentical hormones in my practice since 1992 before they were even called bioidentical because I knew 30 years ago that synthetic hormones were poison. If you are interested in more information, please come in for a bioidentical hormone consultation to start your customized wellness journey.
The Harvey Center for Integrative Medicine is located at 3982 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. For more information, visit HarveyCenter.com. To schedule your own personal consultation, call 941-929-9355 or email [email protected] Telehealth and second opinion consultations are also available upon request.