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Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Natural Hormone Replacement in Orange County, CA

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Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy

Today millions of men and women worried about aging and preserving a quality of life are receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone-related problems- such as mood swings, PMS, infertility, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, weight gain, low libido, vaginal dryness, frequent bladder infection, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis-- can be alleviated by achieving a proper hormone balance. In considering the benefit risk ratio, it is important to consider alternatives to conventional therapy.

Why natural hormone replacement therapy?

Alternatives to conventional HRT include using natural plant-derived bio-identical hormones which have the same chemical makeup as those produced by the body. Synthetic hormones and hormones from animal sources do not allow the body to make the full range of other hormones which are required to operate at full capacity, and therefore are more likely to cause side effects.

If you haven't heard much about natural hormone replacement, you're not the only one. Because natural hormones can not be patented for the same reason you can not patent natural air, water, or vitamins, there's little or no incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to spend millions of dollars to produce, test, submit to the FDA for approval, and market these hormones.

What hormones are we talking about?

Natural hormone replacement isn't just estrogens and progesterone. Natural estrogens and progesterone are just part of a complex and closely interlinked hormonal system that includes a lot of other hormones such as testosterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, and melatonin, to name just a few. Many of these hormones have been found to decline with age. Restoring them to normal levels with natural replacement versions can have an incredibly revitalizing effect on our hearts and immune systems to our moods, energy, and sex drive.

Natural Estrogens

Estrogen is not one hormone, but a set of similar hormones with varying degrees of activity. The three most essential estrogens are estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Estradiol is the primary estrogen produced by the ovary, and estrone is formed by conversion of estradiol. The most favored form of estrogen replacement remains conjugated estrogens (containing many estrogens that are natural to horses, but few that are natural to humans). In the intestinal tract, these are converted mainly to estrone. Synthetic ethinyl estradiol is also commonly used in estrogen supplements. Estrone and estradiol are the estrogens predominantly linked to breast and endometrial cancer.

New regimens have been developed that use natural estriol in the greatest concentration along with other naturally occurring estrogens in a properly balanced ratio. Estriol generates very little endometrial proliferation and hardly ever causes postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. Estriol might also be effective at lowering the risk of blood clots in the veins or lungs. Estriol is produced in very large amounts during pregnancy and is believed to be protective against breast cancer. High levels of estriol are found in vegetarians and Asian women, who have a much lower risk of breast cancer.

Natural Progesterone

The hormone progesterone participates in practically every physiological process, in both men and women. The stabilizing action of progesterone is especially noticeable in muscle tissue, such as the uterus, blood vessel walls, the heart, the intestine, the bladder, and bone cells. Less noticeably, progesterone supports and normalizes nervous, secretory, immune and growth processes.

Natural progesterone comes from yams and soybean. It matches precisely the chemical make-up of the body's progesterone. Synthetic progesterone, or progestins, are chemically developed from progesterone and react differently in the body resulting in the unwanted side effects such as salt build up, fluid retention, low blood sugar, breast tenderness, weight gain, and depression. The role of natural progesterone in preventing and treating osteoporosis, helping to clear endometriosis and fibrocystic breast, and treating vaginal dryness, infertility, and menstrual abnormalities is getting significant attention in the medical and lay communities. In men over 55 natural progesterone is being used to enhance sex drive, as well to treat osteoporosis.

Natural Androgens

In some cases, it is important to consider the addition of the androgens, testosterone or the synthetic methyltestosterone, to a woman's hormone replacement regimen. Generally thought of as a male hormone, testosterone is also made by the female ovaries and also is necessary to normal sexual development. Testosterone plays a vital part in maintaining libido, as well as the strength and integrity of skin, muscle and bone, reducing cholesterol levels, and improving cardiovascular circulation in both men and women.

As a woman enters the transitions of menopause, circulating androgens begin to decrease as a result of age-related decreases in adrenal and ovarian secretion. After menopause, a woman's overall androgen production decreases by as much as 50%. It is possible to supplement a woman's testosterone deficiency with the same natural testosterone she has produced most of her life. Synthetic hormones with even the slightest changes can produce side effects not found with the natural hormone.

DHEA, Pregnenolone, and Melatonin

Not just estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, but lots of other hormones, including growth hormone, melatonin, DHEA, and pregnenolone, reach peak levels before or during the third decade of life and then begin a gradual decline of about 2% each year. Research clearly indicates that replacing insufficient levels of these important hormones can, among other positive effects, help protect the heart, improve mental awareness, make bones stronger, and restore a lagging sex life. We are just beginning to know the health benefits that can be accomplished by restoring levels of these essential hormones to their youthful peak.

Hormone testing

Because steroid hormones play such an important role in maintenance of health, knowledge of an imbalance in any one or more hormones can help illuminate the reason for health problems and give a logical basis for repairing the imbalance through diet, exercise, or hormone supplementation.

Steroid hormone levels can be determined through blood and saliva testing. When the various glands make the steroids they are released into the bloodstream bound to carrier proteins. Only a small portion (1-5%) of a given amount of steroid hormone breaks loose from the carrier protein in the bloodstream and is free to enter target tissues. Blood testing measures both the bound and unbound steroid hormones. Studies show that there is a strong correlation between the levels of steroid hormones in the saliva and the bioavailable (unbound) levels of steroids in the bloodstream.

Levels of all steroid hormones can be determined individually by both blood and saliva testing. Blood testing requires a prescription from your physician. Saliva testing kits can be obtained through compounding pharmacies involved with natural hormone replacement.

Customize, don't compromise

As many as two-thirds of women that begin HRT quit within two years. One main reason they stop is because of side effects, particularly the irregular bleeding that can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.

So how do you reap the benefits of HRT and bypass the side effects? Customize. HRT has to be carefully initiated by your doctor after a personal history, family history, and current medical situation are reviewed. Every person is different and will respond to therapy in their own way: that is why the selection of hormone(s), dose and dosage form should be specific to each individual. Close monitoring is necessary to ensure proper dosage changes and avoid unnecessary side effects. Compounding pharmacists can make natural hormones in a variety of doses, regimens, and preparations designed to make you more comfortable with your therapy while receiving long-term benefits.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Orange County, California, please visit our website at or give us a call at (760) 274-2377

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