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Bio-Identical Estrogen Replacement

The Facts About Bio-Identical or Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy


Updated May 16, 2014

  • Natural estrogen compounds are available by prescription from compounding pharmacists. These types of estrogen are bio-identical -- they are chemically equal to the estrogen produced naturally in your body. There are 3 types of estrogens commonly used in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. These are: Estrone (E1); Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). Estrone and estradiol cause most of the risks associated with estrogen use. Natural or bio-identical estrogen compounds are prepared in any combination or number of these 3 types of estrogen; the most common formulation is 10 percent Estrone, 10 percent Estradiol, and 80 percent Estriol--called Tri-estrogen or Tri-est. A two estrogen bio-identical compound is called bi-estrogen.

  • Natural progesterone is an important component in menopausal symptom management for many women. It's available over-the-counter in products such as Pro-Gest, in compounded prescriptions, and a pharmaceutical called Prometrium. The benefit of using a cream product over an oral form is that you need a much lower dose because it does not have to be metabolized by the liver. Progestins such as Provera are not natural progesterone but a synthetic version which is not chemically equivalent to the progesterone produced by the body. Natural progesterone causes virtually no side effects--progestins cause side effects that include irregular bleeding and fluid retention.

  • Of course, don't forget to get plenty of regular exercise. Exercise is probably the single most important thing a woman can do to improve her overall health and well-being throughout her life. Regular exercise (at least 3 or 4 days a week) helps prevent and reduce bone loss, and plays a key role in reducing your risk of many types of cancer, as well as heart disease.

Although these suggestions work for many women, remember every woman is different and it may take some time for you to find which treatments, or combination of treatments, work best for you. Always inform your healthcare provider of any natural alternative treatments you are using--this includes all vitamins, herbs, creams, etc.

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