The Estrogens include estradiol,
estrone and estriol. The plant source of these chemicals is the
soybean. These estrogens are prescribed for replacement therapy
due to menopause, ovarian failure or for women who have had a
hysterectomy with removal of their ovaries. The estrogens can
be used as a single agent or in combination.
There are benefits to prescribing
the natural hormone replacement of estrogen. When prescribed for
menopause, estrogen can alleviate, in most cases, hot flashes,
vaginal and urinary tract dryness, sleeplessness and mood swings.
There are also cardiovascular benefits to replacement therapy.
They would be: increasing HDLs and decreasing LDLs, protecting
against premature heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Lastly, hormone replacement therapy can help osteoporosis if treatment
is begun early enough.
The side effects that women
can experience can include: nausea, loss of appetite, breast tenderness,
headaches and alterations in body chemistry. The increased risk
of cancer is also present. Although, the concern of cancer can
be mediated by lowering the dose of estrogens or by adding progesterone.
A thorough analysis of the benefit risk ratio with your
physician or health practitioner is wise.
Estrogens can be taken by mouth, under the
tongue or dissolved in the cheek pocket, rubbed into the skin,
inserted vaginally or transmitted through the skin with a patch.
The advantage of the transdermal, vaginal or sublingual
routes is that the dose can be lower than the oral dose. The action
in the body is more natural when the drugs can go directly into
the bloodstream instead of passing through the stomach. Some disadvantages
to these systems include: inconvenience and messiness of vaginal
creams, the extra time it takes to rub in a topical gel, patches
that won't stick and the taste or time it takes to dissolve a
sublingual lozenge. The therapies' pros and cons should be discussed
with your physician, pharmacist or health care provider.
Progesterone is derived from
the Mexican Yam or the soybean. Progesterone can be prescribed
for infertility, luteal phase defect, PMS or in combination with
estrogens for menopause. Researchers have conducted studies involving
oral capsules filled with lactose (milk sugar) or oil (peanut
oil), vaginal or rectal suppositories, sublingual lozenges and
The major side effect of progesterone,
when taken in a capsule form, is drowsiness. If taken with food,
the drowsiness effect is reduced. Although the older literature
discusses serious side effects when progesterone is used during
pregnancy, this risk is involved with the use of progestins (i.e.
19-nortestesterone progestogens). The use of natural micronized
progesterone has been extensively reported on and endorsed by
clinicians and researchers. The benefits are clear. All hormones
have to be used appropriately and in a responsible way in accordance
with the recommendations of your physician, but no serious or
adverse side effects have been noted with progesterone use.
The use of Testosterone in
women include breast carcinoma and low~or decreased libido in
the aging process. The side effect profile of testosterone
should be discussed with your physician. However, low dose therapy
can be achieved by the sublingual
by Joseph Serio R.Ph. Registered Pharmacist