The Facts behind Hormone Replacement Therapy

| October 8, 2013

health checkHormones in our body work just like a car battery. If the battery runs out, the car stops moving. Either you need to repair the battery or replace it. Similar is the case with human hormones. The human body requires hormones to function properly. As we age, the ability to produce protective hormones reduces. Therefore, replacement is an on-going necessity to make our body run efficiently.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be the first line of medicine. However, the decision to take HRT is too important to be made on the basis of a few sound reasons. It requires careful discussion with the physician, who confirms about the pros and cons of estrogen replacement. However, the majority of the women are afraid of replacing hormones as they are told that it enhances the risks of breast cancer and can cause blood clot, stroke and heart attacks. The real fact is, it is true only in case of synthetic progestin and oral estrogen in the wrong patients.

Breast cancer is the outcome of DNA damage in the breast tissue. The role of estrogen in the breasts is to stimulate the production of the cells. If estrogen caused cancer, then women with the highest level of estrogen would have been seen with breast cancer, however, it is not true. Therefore, it is the DNA which is responsible for the cancer and definitely not estrogen.

So what is the primary reason for breast cancer? As women age, progesterone is the first hormone to drop. It is common for women in their 30s and 40s to have low progesterone levels. It becomes difficult to change the breast tissue when there is lack of progesterone to balance the estrogen level and therefore, the breast tissues become vulnerable to DNS damage. Progesterone prevents excess proliferation of breast tissues and decreases the risk of breast cancer.

If estrogen is given in the wrong form to the wrong patient, it can cause blood clot and stroke. But who are these wrong people? Women who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are overweight cannot be treated with estrogen, especially with oral estrogen. If such women are given oral progesterone, it will increase the activity of an enzyme and Matrix Metalloproteinase which encourage plaque and causes stroke and heart attack. However, this does not happen with topical estrogen.

Testosterone is another important hormone for both the men and women. Testosterone provides energy to the physical body, sexual body and mental body. It increases energy and decreases depression. Also the higher the testosterone, the lower the plaque. This is vital for preventing stroke and cardiovascular disease. Testosterone level is a strong forecaster of coronary artery disease. In addition, lack of testosterone is also associated with higher rates of diabetes. This hormone enhances the production of RBCs from the bone marrow which increases the haematocrit and haemoglobin level.

If estrogen and progesterone does not suit a particular patient, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is the alternative approach. BHRT can be found in pharmaceutical products and in custom formulas prepared by compounding pharmacists. Given their origin in plants and association with chemical structure BHRT are described as more natural than the standard hormone therapy. Here the estrogen is de-emphasized as the principle hormone to improve the symptoms. Studies have shown that the use of BHRT stimulate the body’s natural production patterns and improves serum markers of inflammation and symptoms and measures of anxiety, depression and pain. While physician recommend BHRT, they measure Estradiol blood level to verify the effectiveness of BHRT products and ensure adequacy of dosage.

Hormones are not only valuable for reproduction but also for the production of the cells. And hormone decline with age puts us at several risks. Therefore, to earn quality life of enrichment, hormone replacement therapy is necessary.

Jeremy Smith is a compounding pharmacist with years of experience in this Specialty. He offers tips and suggestions about how compounding drugs can help you live a healthy, happy life. He suggests that you find out the details of the compounding pharmacy before you opt for it. Houston has some of the renowned compounding pharmacies.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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