By Cammie (from a post on Comfort Queens)
I am always happy to share any info I can regarding the compounded hormones. If there was a way I could get the word out to women everywhere, I would. It makes me very angry that the compounded hormones are not offered to ALL women as an option. But, as it is with most things that are natural OR are not part of the big business of pharmaceuticals (sorry if I offend anyone), our mainstream physicans either don't know about them, or refuse to accept them and support them. Once again, we are left to be our own best advocates.
I'm going to begin by sharing with you one part from a brochure that the pharmacy and their consultants provide for patients who choose to use this type of therapy.
"What is Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?"
"...Natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT) means that the chemical makeup of
the replacement hormone is EXACTLY THE SAME as what the human body
produces. The ideal natural substances for this type of HRT are readily available.
Bio-identical plant-derived estrogen and progesterone products have been safely
prescribed by European physicians for over 50 years. These natural hormones are
almost entirely without the side effects of the synthetic or semisynthetic HRT drugs
which do not allow a person to produce the full range of other hormones which are
needed for the body to function at full potential.
Unfortunately, many doctors are unaware of these natural hormones. Since natural
hormones cannot be patented, manufacturers lack financial incentive to fund
research and development costs to commercially market these substances, and
physicians receive little information on natural progesterone, estriol, estradiol,
estrone and androgens.
Women are no longer willing to accept the risks associated with synthetic
hormones, and are searching for safer alternatives. New research is continually
emerging. An estimated two million women are now benefiting from natural
"plant-derived bio-identical" estrogens and progesterone."
Here's how it all makes sense to me and these are other factors which contributed to my decision to take this form of HRT. First of all, the estrogen used in the typically prescribed forms of HRT comes from the urine of a pregnant mare. As I understand it, the mare's urine contains only two of the main types of estrogen our bodies require. Our bodies require mainly three different forms of estrogen-estrone, estradiol, and estriol. When we take the synthetic hormones we are taking hormones that are natural to horses, but few that are natural to humans. It does not replace all three main types of estrogen that we are losing. That is where the side effects come in of weight gain, bleeding, and the risks for breast cancer, etc. Also, the compounded hormones are taken usually in the form of what is called a "troche"-it is a small wax-like square which you put in the "buccal cavity" of your mouth (between your cheek and gum) and it simply dissolves. It is directly absorbed into your system this way, thus bypassing the liver-a more efficient means of absorption, independent of liver function.
Because these compounds are literally handmade, they can be formulated specifically for YOU. No two women's needs are the same, and you can work with your doctor to figure out what the best combination is for you! Because it is by prescription only, it should be covered by your health insurance if you have prescription coverage. The pharmacy will send a letter to support you if there is any problem with your insurance company. (They did it for me and it worked).
There are only a handful of pharmacies in the US that are "compounding pharmacies". Fortunately, one happens to be in my city. [I have no vested interest in this pharmacy either, by the way! :)I just care about women!] And fortunately they send prescriptions for the compounded hormones all over the US. The hard part about this is you will probably have to look hard to find a physician who will support you in this, or you can do as I did and simply educate yourself and take it to your physician and ask he/she to work with you on it. The pharmacists and consultants at the pharmacy here in Kansas City will talk with your doctor to answer any questions and help arrive at a dosage and plan that is best for you.