Hormone Therapy for Women
Our pharmacists work with providers and patients to make customized hormone medications to fulfill each woman’s needs. The dosage form, flavor, strength, duration and other factors can be adjusted based on preference. Women in early menopause are great candidates as hormone therapy can reduce the risk of bone loss, cognitive decline, and heart disease. Additionally, hormones can help in treating hot flashes and night sweats.
Estrogens are a group of hormones that help promote women’s sexual characteristics. They fluctuate monthly depending on a woman’s menstrual cycle. The 3 main types are:
- Estrone (E1) This estrogen is primarily produced by fat tissue and the adrenal glands. As menopause begins and other estrogen production slows down, Estrone becomes dominant. Estrone is not usually prescribed as it has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
- Estradiol (E2) Is the strongest estrogen and has positive benefits on cognition, bone, and heart health. Because it is produced by the ovaries, levels decrease with menopause and are commonly replaced with hormone therapy.
- Estriol (E3) Is the most common estrogen and peaks in pregnancy. It has a strong effect on collagen production as well as neurologic function. It is also commonly supplemented. This estrogen is often used vaginally to treat the dryness associated with menopause.
The word progesterone is a name that is commonly, although incorrectly, used to describe the actual hormone progesterone along with related hormones called progestins. Bioidentical progesterone is used to increase bone density, reduce endometrial cancer risk associated with estrogen therapy, to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, and to counterbalance estrogen dominance.
Although normally associated with males, androgens play an important role in maintaining skin, muscle, and bone health along with libido in both sexes. Hysterectomy, menopause, and aging cause a decrease in DHEA which is a testosterone precursor. Some patients may take androgens like testosterone or DHEA in addition to estrogen therapy to further eliminate symptoms of menopause.