Is it right for you?

What are bio-identical hormones?

Bio-identical hormones are natural hormones that are molecularly identical to the structure of the hormones made by your body. Bio-identical hormones are given as pills, patches, sprays, creams, gels, shots, troche and implanted pellets.

What is FDA-approved Bio-identical Hormone Therapy?

Traditional prescription forms of bio-identical hormones (plant-derived 17β-estradiol and micronized progesterone) are made by a drug company with natural ingredients and approved by the FDA. They have been through testing for safety and purity to be sure each dose has the same amount of hormones. The medications are available from traditional pharmacies and are usually a covered benefit under most insurance plans. Testosterone and/or DHEA may also be added to your treatment plan.

What is Compounded Bio-identical Hormone Therapy?

Compounded bio-identical hormones (plant-derived 17β-estradiol and micronized progesterone, testosterone) are custom-made with natural ingredients by a pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy based on a doctor’s order. The compounded forms have not been tested or approved by the FDA. The media often leads some women to believe that customized bio-identical hormones are a safer, more effective, alternative to FDA approved bio–identical hormone therapy. Compounded bio-identical hormones have not been proven to be safer in the medical literature. The lack of FDA oversight for compounded hormones does generate additional risks regarding their purity and safety. Despite the potential increased risk, in some cases, compounded bio-identical hormones might be the better choice for you.

What can I expect as I begin bio-identical hormone therapy under Dr. Hanna’s care?

You will be asked to complete a menopause symptom questionnaire. You will have your blood and/or saliva tested to determine your hormone and blood chemistry levels including your lipids (cholesterol) and thyroid. Your medical and family history will be reviewed. Your most recent mammogram and dexa scan will be reviewed.

Dr. Hanna will then discuss your goals of therapy. She will review your lab testing with you and explain your imbalance in the hormone cascade. She will guide you as to which treatment method and dose is safest for you. You may need to try more than one method before you find the one that works best for you. You will be offered FDA-approved bio-identical hormones as a beginning point in your treatment plan. If your symptoms are not improved/resolved to your satisfaction, compounded bio-identical hormones are always an option.

Dr Hanna monitors her patients on bio-identical hormone therapy very closely for side effects. Most often, doses are adjusted according to patients’ symptoms and needs, with keeping the dose to the minimum required to achieve your goals. Dr. Hanna’s treatment philosophy is to improve your quality of life in the safest, most cost effective manner.

Does Hormone Therapy increase my risk for Breast cancer?

Cancers are more common as people age. Recent studies indicate a woman can take estrogen therapy for 7 years before her breast cancer risk increases. A woman who has a uterus and needs to take a progestin increases her risk for breast cancer after 3 to 5 years of use. Overall, the risk of breast cancer is low but not zero.

Does Hormone Therapy increase my risk for Uterine (Endometrial ) Cancer?

If you are taking estrogen and have a uterus, you must protect your endometrial lining from overgrowth with a progestin. If you don’t take a progestin or don’t take enough, your risk of endometrial cancer increases.

The content is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Please seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Barbra S. Hanna, DO, FACOG, NCMP
1604 North Main Street  •  Wheaton, Illinois 60187  •  630-260-1818