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Oral vs Topical Estrogen Replacement Therapy Risks & Benefits

Oral vs topical estrogens replacement therapy

There is some confusion of the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy and this is due to studies ignoring oral vs. topical estrogen (and other hormones) replacement.

In addition, many studies that show increased risks ignore bio-identical vs. synthetic or horse hormones. For decades doctors prescribed conjugated equine estrogens (horse hormones) to treat the symptoms of menopause. This convenient solutions was later found to increase the risk of strokes and breast cancer by several large studies. The outcome soon was that doctors had no long term solution to hormone replacement therapy and perhaps that’s why we’ve seen much higher rates of anti-depressant medications. The reality is that women don’t have Prozac® deficiencies but rather hormone imbalances and hormone deficiencies.

“While all types of hormone replacement therapies are safe and effective and confer significant benefits in the long-term when initiated in young postmenopausal women, in specific clinical settings the choice of the transdermal route of administration of estrogens and the use of natural progesterone might offer significant benefits and added safety.”13

Doctors committed to treating the cause of problems, it our one of our Naturopathic Principles. In addition, we are taught to Copy Nature and honor the healing power of nature. It is all about restoring balance. We understand how hormones are metabolized by the body. There are about 10 different estrogen levels we check. Conventional medicine usually only check one. There are three main estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol) and many other estrogen metabolites (2-methoxy estradiol, 2-methoxy estradiol, 2-hydroxy estrone, 16-hydroxy estrone, etc) and all of these hormones have effects on your body.

Many of the risks of hormone replacement are only found with horse hormones. Yes! Horse hormones appear to be unhealthy for you if used for extended periods of time. Horse hormones increase your risks of having a stroke and also increase your risk for breast cancer more than bio-identical estrogens combined with progesterone.1-8,12

A large study in published in the Journal of the The American Menopause Society, entitled “Does the route of administration for estrogen hormone therapy impact the risk of venous thromboembolism? Estradiol transdermal system versus oral estrogen-only hormone therapy,” found that “this large population-based study suggests that participants receiving an estradiol transdermal system have a significantly lower incidence of venous thromboembolism than do participants receiving oral estrogen-only
hormone therapy.”5 A venous thromboemolism is a blood clot in a vein somewhere in your body that could go to the brain causing a stroke. Blood clots can also occur in the heart leading to a heart attack.

“The choice of the progestagen component in combined HRT is of importance regarding breast cancer risk; it could be preferable to use progesterone or dydrogesterone.”14

In Europe, they did similar studies as we did here in the United States. The difference is that in Europe they use much more bio-identical estrogen and progesterone. In the United States there are relatively few pharmacies and doctors who understand how to use bio-identical hormones to improve someone’s quality of life but also how to do it safely.

“Transdermal delivery of native estradiol for [hot flashes] and testosterone for [low libido] has significant advantages in safety and efficacy over traditional oral preparations which are now available for clinical use.”1

If you take hormones by mouth they go directly to your liver. Your liver’s job is to help remove substances from the body. When your body makes hormones naturally, in the ovaries for example, they circulate through your entire body before they go to the liver. This is why topical estrogens appear to be much safer. In addition, oral testosterone is linked to increased risks of liver cancer but when testosterone is applied topically it avoids that problem because your body uses most of it up before it reaches the liver, as nature intended.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy appears to have many benefits including improved blood sugar regulation.13 Considering that diabetes and obesity have become epidemics it would make sense that hormones imbalance is a very important factor. In fact, hormone replacement therapy can help improve cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels as well as improve blood vessel health.14

References on next page

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Olga February 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Ladies I am 33 years old and I was diagnosed with PCOS 8 years ago. Here I was meraird to the man of my dreams for almost five years who happened to be a single father of two wonderful boys and I felt alone and empty. I loved my stepchildren but every time I looked at them I was reminded of my inability to conceive. Within the first two years of being diagnosed I had two miscarriages back to back. I went into a deep depression and thought that I had given up all hope to have the baby of my dreams. this put an awful strain on my marriage and we almost didn’t make it through. But ladies I am here to tell you that I have now conceived four times naturally. In 2008 I gave birth to a gorgeous son that the lord blessed our family with after 10 years. At 33 I am now 12 weeks pregnant and thanking god everyday Ladies please do not give up!Here’s to all the blessings that god has in store for us!


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