Some of the most commonly used bio-identical hormones are:
Estrone (E1) is the estrogen most commonly found in increased amounts in post-menopausal women. The body derives it from the hormones that are stored in body fat. Estrone does the same work that estradiol does, but it is considered weaker in its effects.
Estradiol (E2), the principal estrogen found in a woman’s body during the reproductive years, is produced by the ovaries. Estradiol is very effective for the symptomatic relief of hot flashes, genitourinary symptoms, osteoporosis prophylaxis, psychological well being and reduction of coronary artery disease.
Because it is much more potent than stroll, it can be more effective for symptomatic relief than estriol. When Estradiol is replaced using a parenteral (sublingual, percutaneous, or transdermal) route, it is not subject to first pass metabolism by the liver, and therefore does no produce high levels of Estrone. Using these routes of administration a woman can mimic the physiologic release of estradiol from the ovaries, thus receiving natural hormone replacement.
Estriol (E3) is the weakest of the three major estrogens. In fact, it is 1000 times weaker in its effect on breast tissue. Estriol is the estrogen that is made in large quantities during pregnancy and has potential protective properties against the production of cancerous cells.
Estriol is the estrogen most beneficial to the vagina, cervix and vulva. In cases of vaginal dryness and atrophy, which predisposes a woman to vaginitis and cystitis, topical estriol is the most effective and safest estrogen to use. Because of this estriol is better than estradiol for the treatment of urinary tract infections.
Estriol is not available in most drug stores, although it has been used widely in Europe for over fifty years. Because estriol cannot be patented it does not hold much interest for the pharmaceutical industry. Its availability through compounding has caused its use to grow rapidly throughout the country.
Biest is a combination of two estrogens: estriol and estradiol. It is most commonly found in a ratio of 80:20, estriol to estradiol. This combination allows for all of the protection of estriol while providing the cardiovascular and osteoporosis benefits along with the vasomotor symptom relief of estradiol.
Triest is a combination of three estrogens: estriol, estradiol and Estrone. It is most commonly found in a ratio of 80:10:10, estriol, estradiol, and Estrone. This combination is very popular and contains all of the three major circulating estrogens. It is slightly weaker in its effect when compared to Biest. However, this can be compensated for by increasing the strength or by slightly changing the ratios.
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands in women and, in smaller amounts, in the testes and the adrenal glands in men. One of its most important functions is in the female reproductive cycle. Progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg, and then helps to maintain it during pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur it signals the uterus to shed this lining.
Progesterone also plays an important role in brain function and is often called the “feels good hormone” because of its mood enhancing and antidepressant effects. Optimum levels of progesterone can mean feelings of calm and well being, while low levels of progesterone can mean feelings of anxiety, irritability and even anger. Current research shows that progesterone may pay a role in the maintenance of the nervous system, the sense of touch, and motor function.
Testosterone – Usually considered a male hormone or androgen, women also produce testosterone although in much smaller amounts than men do. Testosterone works differently in the bodies of men and women, but it plays a very important role in the overall health and well-being of both sexes. Often called the “hormone of desire” because of its powerful effect on libido, testosterone is also important in building strong muscles, bones, and ligaments as well as increasing energy and easing depression. Low levels of testosterone have been known to cause fatigue, irritability, depression, aches and pain in the joints, thin and dry skin, osteoporosis, weight loss, and the loss of muscle development.
As with all of the hormones, testosterone must be dosed properly to be effective without causing unwanted side effects. The dose in women is generally one-tenth that used in men. Because testosterone is not effective when it is taken orally it is usually prescribed as a topical gel, cream or as a sublingual tablet. Although testosterone was discovered more than sixty years ago, only very recently have we begun to fully understand and appreciate the power of testosterone.