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Wed 27

Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy

What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Our bodies make hormones to help us with many functions including metabolism, mood, ability to sleep, sex drive, appetite and several other functions. Bio-identical means it is the exact same substance that our bodies produce. Our bodies know how to use bio-identical hormones. They do not know how to use synthetic hormones.

Synthetic hormones are similar, but not the same compounds that our bodies produce. For example our bodies produce estrogen (that is right men, you have estrogen too). Estradiol can be extracted from plants or made in a lab. Estradiol is the exact same compound that the human body produces. The most common prescription estrogen is conjugated horse estrogen. Product is produced by taking the urine from pregnant horses, extracting the estrogens, and putting it in a pill. This hormone is made naturally by the horses, but is not the same estrogen as is used by humans. This synthetic, or non-bio-identical hormone confuses the human body and leads to several side effects including cancer and heart disease.

How are Bio-Identical Hormones Administered?
There are several ways to get hormones into our bodies. The best route for delivery varies depending on the hormone. Here are some examples:

  • Oral (Pills):
    Thyroid hormones and Progesterone can be given effectively and safely by mouth. However, estrogen and testosterone by mouth lead to liver disease, breast cancer, blood clots and heart disease.
  • Trochees or Suppositories:
    These are soft "pills" that are inserted under the tongue, between the cheek and gum, or into the vagina or rectum. They then dissolve and are absorbed through the mucosal membranes. This allows for efficient, reproducible absorption. Often, these need to be taken twice daily as the hormone is cleared from the blood stream quickly. These can be very effective in specific medical conditions.
  • Skin:
    One of the most popular ways to administer hormones is by using topical creams, gels, lotions or patches. The skin is a great way to get hormones into your body. This is a very easy painless way to administer hormones. The problem with this method is that it is easy to transfer the hormones to other people and pets. Also, the absorption through the skin can vary depending on the season, skin type and with many other variables. Delivery through the skin often gives inconstant results.
  • Injectables:
    Hormones can be injected effectively for good results. In order to be effective these injections need to be done 1-2 times per week. There are some synthetic hormones used for birth control that last for up to 3 months. However these cause spotting, depression, insomnia and bone loss. Even with injectables it is difficult to main a steady state of the hormones.
  • Sub-Cutaneous Pellets:
    In our opinion, the most effective way to deliver estrogen and testosterone is through sub-cutaneous pellet insertion. The pellets will last under the skin for 3-6 months depending on the person. This allows for a steady state of hormones, you don't need to remember to take a pill or a shot regularly, and allows the patient to obtain their optimum hormone level consistently for several months. There is a small, usually painless procedure where the pellets are inserted under the skin. We have found that it is crucial that the pellets are from a manufacturer that tests the pellets with every batch to make sure that the hormone levels are within 3% of the expected dose. The pellets that we use in our office are tested for 8 specifications with every lot produced.

Who Can Benefit from Bio-Identical Hormones?
Anybody that is over 18 that has diminished hormones can benefit. We are finding more and more people of all ages that have low hormones. We have an increased amount of environmental hormones through xenoestrogens in plastics and hormones added to livestock that show up in our meat and dairy. People with fatigue, muscle aches, depression, mood swings, increased fat, decreased muscle, headaches, increased appetite, dizziness, decreased sex drive, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sexual dysfunction could all be suffering from low hormones.

Set up an appointment for an initial hormone consult. We will test your hormone levels to see if you are low. If so, we will get you feeling better!



Other Links:
Dr. Gary Donovitz, MD
Hormone Pellet Therapy

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