Bioidentical Women’s Hormone Therapy
Written by: Dr. Fred Harvey, MD
We have heard much conflicting information regarding hormone replacement in the past 25 years. From Suzanne Sommers popularized term “bio-identical” in 1997 through the negative press of the Women’s health Initiative in 2001 to the present, we have been inundated with so much positive and negative information, that heads spin. Many women have become prey to marketing campaigns for different interventions promoting health and longevity. There are some factual points that can help to clarify what steps any woman can take to ensure good hormone health.
First, I want to define bioidentical. BIO HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) would use estradiol, the principle human estrogen, rather than conjugated horse estrogens found in the carcinogenic pill Premarin. Instead of the synthetic toxin medroxyprogesterone found in Prempro and Depo-Provera, we use progesterone, which is protective for breast and uterine cancer. Also, the term natural is not used with bioidentical hormones because they are ALL semi-SYNTHETIC. They are made in the lab using enzymes to transform natural plant extracts like genistein from soy or dioscorea from wild yam. They are exactly like human hormones at that point thus bioidentical.
Second, 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 help provide materials for good hormone metabolism. Making certain that the gut and liver are functioning optimally supports hormone health. A probiotic can assist in this goal.
There are many approaches to Hormone Replacement Therapy but there is one that has no longterm clinical trial evidence of safety, has never been studied officially to determine efficacy, has no certified method of manufacture or delivery, and goes against every principle of functional medicine because it overrides natural physiologic signals to bully the body into hormone induced submission and glandular coma. This method is hormone pellets. Pellets are compounded by certain pharmacies using a variety of waxy carriers that dissolve at slow unknown rates, different in everyone. These are stuck into abdominal fat using a very large needle called a trocar. Once placed, they cannot be removed without surgery. They make hormone levels flat line for many months. This causes a “coma” in the master glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary, effectively shutting them down for the duration. Hormones fluctuate monthly in women and daily in men. Thus, hormone pellets are not natural and 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 bio-identical hormones in my practice since 1992 before they were even called that because I knew 30 years ago that synthetic hormones were poison. If interested in more information, please come in for a bioidentical hormone consultation to start on your customized wellness journey.
For more information or to schedule your consultation, please call The Harvey Center for Integrative Medicine, 3982 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL. Ph 941-929-9355. Telehealth and second opinion consultations are available upon request. Fred Harvey, MD firstname.lastname@example.org