What are hormones and why I might want to consult my physician about them?

From the Greek root "hormoa," which means to "set in motion," hormones literally are chemical messengers that control and regulate the activity of other cells or organs. Each hormone travels in the blood or extra-cellular fluid to one or more specific tissue or organ (containing target cells with special receptors) where it elicits a particular response. The hormones secreted by specialized glands such as the thyroid gland, the ovaries, the pancreas or the testes are essential for every activity of daily living, including digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, mood control, aging and sexual function. As we age our hormone production declines (menopause for women or andropause for men); it may also decline as a result of disease, exposure to toxins or trauma. This decline causes the aging process to accelerate and may cause a pronounced deterioration, both physically and mentally.

How are pharmacy compounded estrogen, testosterone and progesterone produced?

Precursors (sterols) to progesterone and estrogen are found in wild yams and soy but the human body does not have the ability to convert these sterols to hormones. Through a simple process (hydrolysis) these chemicals are converted into progesterone, estrogen and testosterone capable of being processed by the body. They are considered "natural" because they are derived from a natural plant (organic) source and are structurally identical to the hormones biologically made in the body.These hormones are then formulated by American Hormones, a specialty compounding pharmacy, into a strength and dosage form recommended by your physician.

When first developed, synthetic hormones were well received because they provided some of the benefits of hormonal replacement: controlling the symptoms of menopause and fighting osteoporosis. However some women cannot tolerate synthetic hormoes, often suffering side effects such as bloating, bleeding or mood swings. Pharmacy compounded hormones can help alleviate these side effects, based on the medical assessment and prescription of your physician.

How are pharmacy compounded hormones different from synthetic manufactured hormones?

At American Hormones, we understand that no two patients are alike. Because every patient is different and has different needs, cutsomized, compounded medications are an important part of quality medical care. Through compounding, American Hormones is able to cater to patients with unique medical needs.

Sometimes commercially available drugs are not suitable for a particular patient. For instance, a commercially available drug may not be available in required dosage amount or delivery form, or it may contain allergens that a particular patient cannot tolerate.

American Hormones works with your physician to create customized hormone replacement therapy regimes suitable for you, the patient. At your physician's direction, we can tailor the dosage amount and delivery format to meet your specific needs. Physicians can feel confident in our ability to prepare customized medications that meet specific patient needs and improve patient health.

Why my gynecologist might want to prescribe pharmacy compounded hormones?

As stated, sometimes commercially available drugs are not suitable to meet a specific patient's unique needs. Your physician has the ability to assess your particular needs and to prescribe pharmacy compounded hormones tailored to fit your medical concerns. Ask your physician about this option and whether pharmacy compounded hormones might be right for you. At American Hormones, we work with your physician to help you optimize your health by providing a compounded medication therapy regime tailored to your body.

Why I should talk with my physician about hormone replacement therapy?

The risks of not taking hormone replacement therapy, when needed, may include elevated cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, tooth loss, depression, Alzheimer Disease, and menopausal symptoms such as PMS, bloating, headaches, cramping, mood swings, breast tenderness and irritability. Overall health and well-being may be improved with hormone therapy and quality of life thereby greatly enhanced. You should consult with your physician to determine whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you and whether pharmacy compounded hormones more suitably meet your specific medical needs.

What about over-the-counter creams and saliva tests?

Products purchased over-the-counter are not usually of a strength sufficient to produce a long term therapeutic difference. A sufficient dose requires a prescription from your physician. Over-the-counter products might give you some symptomatic relief, but it is necessary to maintain certain hormone levels to achieve the long term optimal and protective benefits. Ask your physician to determine your hormone needs and prescribe the hormones that are suitable fo ryou.

Because hormones are delivered to the organs by the blood and not saliva, we find that blood tests generally are a more reliable assessment tool for determining accurate and optimal hormone levels.

How does one know whether they are receiving adequate amounts of replacement hormones?

Your physician can perform blood tests to determine whether you suffer from hormone deficiencies. Symptomatic relief over the course of several weeks, as the body adjusts to its newly restored hormonal levels, is often the first indication of proper replacement therapy. Subsequent blood testing and dosage adjustments may then be used to bring blood levels and tissue levels to proper norms for the patient to realize the full benefit of hormone replacement therapy. Individual patients absorb, assimilate, metabolize and respond to hormones differently. Here at American Hormones, we want hormone levels to be optimal and protective. We work with your physician to help create a customized hormone replacment therapy regime that is right for you.

Are there other hormones I should replace? What about hormones for men?

Other hormones that can be considered part of an optimal hormone replacement therapy program are testosterone, thyroid, pregnenolone, melatonin and DHEA. Both men and women may need these hormones, and both should consult their physicians about them.

American Hormones, Inc.    69 West Cedar St    Poughkeepsie, NY 12601    1-888-801-5777