Bioidentical hormones: Is it better for menopausal symptoms?
May 04, 2018 03:11PM
Bioidentical hormones have been used by naturopathic physicians as an alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy for over 30 years. The popularity of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for women entering perimenopause or menopause has increased in popularity over the past 14 years. Local practitioner, Dr. Pamela Langenderfer, naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, infertility/hormone care specialist and co-founder of Lakeside Holistic Health, firmly believes in the benefits of bioidentical hormones and uses them regularly in her practice.
NA: The term “bioidentical hormone replacement therapy” is becoming more mainstream and more women are discovering this alternative way to help ease their hormone issues. What exactly are bioidentical hormones and are they safer or better than herbs and other hormone replacement therapy options?
PL: The answer is both yes and no. It really all depends on the patient. Bioidentical hormones are plant-based hormones that have a similar structure to human hormones. They can help with many of the symptoms related to aging such as low libido, thinning hair, hot ﬂashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, brain fog and osteoporosis. My approach to hormone therapy has always been to use the least amount of hormone possible to make the person comfortable. What I realized long ago is that if I only replaced the person’s hormones, they still often came back not feeling optimal. Their hot ﬂashes may have gone away and their sleeping improved, but they still felt tired or had weight gain. That’s when I realized that the bigger picture needed to be addressed. The way I look at the body is like a tree: branches, roots and soil. The branches are the symptoms we experience such as fatigue, weight gain, hot ﬂashes, and digestive issues. If I only treat the branches on the tree, even with natural medicine, it is just putting a Band-Aid on the problems. The root of the problem must be addressed. Just like a tree needs fertile soil to ﬂourish, so does the body.
NA: So, when a patient begins hormone replacement therapy, that’s only part of the equation?
PL: Exactly. The foundation must be addressed ﬁrst which includes optimizing the diet, digestion, nutrients, detoxiﬁcation and addressing any root causes of dysfunction such as heavy metal toxicity, chronic infections, and stress. The new world of genomics is changing how we do medicine. Each of us are unique and thus don’t respond to things in the same way. Genetically, some people don’t break down estrogen very well and thus have side effects when they take it.
NA: This whole-body approach is drastically different than conventional hormone replacement therapy that just focuses on one aspect, which is taking the hormone pill.
PL: This is when natural medicine ﬂourishes because optimizing the terrain is essential. By addressing the bigger question as to why someone can’t tolerate the hormone we can optimize the body so it can utilize it correctly. When a woman decides to take bioidentical hormones, I encourage her to do yearly hormone testing for monitoring. This is the best tool to make sure she is metabolizing the hormones correctly.
Lakeside Holistic Health has offices located at 518 N. 4th St. in Coeur d'Alene, ID, and 21651 E. Country Vista Dr. Ste. F, in Liberty Lake, WA. For more information, call 208-758-0568, 509-385-0218 or visit LakesideHolistic.com.
Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy is a locally-owned compounding pharmacy serving the Inland Northwest that has been compounding hormone replacement therapies for over 25 years. The pharmacy works closely with several naturopaths and alternative health providers in Washington and Idaho to formulate a customized solution that works for each customer, and offers dosage forms that include capsules, topical creams and gels, sublingual lozenges/troches and liquids and suppositories.
For more information about bioidentical hormone compounding, visit SixthAvenuePharmacy.com or call 509-455-9345.