Hormone replacement medications have been prescribed for over 80 years. Since Edward A. Doisy discovered the estrogen hormone in 1929, scientists have developed an array of drugs that supply the body with sex hormones derived from animal and plant sources. These medications can be life-changing for men and women with hormone imbalances as well as those who experience uncomfortable symptoms due to the natural aging process.
Today, hormone therapy is more prevalent than ever before, and chances are that you’re already familiar with at least some conventional hormone medications, such as Premarin, Androgel, and Synthroid. What you may not know is that there’s an alternative to these standard drugs: custom hormone replacement therapy.
The History of Custom Hormone Replacement Therapy
Custom hormone replacement therapy has been used for more than three decades to support hormone balance and overall health. It began when Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, a physician specializing in natural medicine, received a unique patient request in 1982. A woman came in complaining of hot flashes, mood swings, and depression—standard symptoms associated with menopause. But she didn’t want to take conventional medications.
This patient objected to the idea of taking animal hormones, which were the standard source of estrogen at the time, and challenged Dr. Wright to prescribe hormones identical to her own. He took her request to heart, consulting research findings from labs across the United States and partnering with a premier compound pharmacist to create estrogen that was chemically and structurally identical to a woman’s natural hormones but sourced from plant material.
However, it wasn’t only the source of the hormone that was unique, but also the custom nature of the medication; rather than being limited to standardized dosages, compounded hormone replacement therapy can also be prescribed according to each person’s unique hormone balance. And estrogen wasn’t the only therapy that could be customized. Testosterone, thyroid hormones, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA—they could all be compounded to provide a more personalized approach to hormone treatment.
The Top 5 Benefits of Customizable Hormones
Since the 1980s, the popularity of tailored hormone treatment has grown exponentially as practitioners and patients have come to recognize their benefits. These include:
- Plant-based hormones. While many conventional hormone drugs are derived from animal sources, such as horse urine or dried thyroid glands from pigs, custom hormone replacement therapy uses bioidentical hormones derived from plant sources, such as soy and yams.
- Personalized dosages. For many patients, one of the greatest benefits of custom compounded hormones is the personalization of dosages. With standardized dosages, you may be forced to choose between a dose that is slightly too high and produces unwanted side effects or a dose that is too low and doesn’t provide adequate symptom relief. Customization allows each patient to receive treatment according to their individual hormone balance and symptoms, potentially improving efficacy and tolerability.
- Exclusion of allergens. Some individuals are allergic to the binders, oils, and solvents used in conventional hormone replacement therapy. Custom hormone medications are formulated according to the needs of each patient and can be created without these allergens.
- Multiple preparations. The way a medication is administered can be a significant factor in how well it works for you—or even if you can take it at all. Custom hormone medications can be produced in a variety of formats, including pills, patches, creams, gels, injections, and pellets, which means you can choose a preparation that works for your preferences and lifestyle.
The benefits of custom hormone therapy not only make it the preferred treatment for many patients, they may also allow even those who have not had success with conventional medications to find durable symptom relief.
Where to Get Custom Hormone Replacement Therapy
For many, custom hormone replacement therapy is a transformative treatment. There’s just one catch: you probably can’t get it from your primary care physician. Most physicians don’t have the certification or experience to prescribe custom hormones, so they stick to prescribing the standard medications and doses. In order to receive customized care, you’ll need to see a qualified hormone health specialist instead.
When you partner with a qualified hormone health practitioner, you’ll work closely with an expert medical professional who specializes in helping individuals with hormone-related issues. These practitioners have the training and experience necessary to assess and treat hormonal health conditions using the best techniques available. Your treatment will always be guided by your individual hormone levels, symptoms, and preferences, and your progress will be closely monitored to ensure optimal results.
With help from a qualified expert and the right medications, you can start your journey toward achieving balance and feeling like your best once again.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of custom hormone replacement therapy, BodyLogicMD can help. BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioners are top experts in hormonal health, helping men and women restore balance and achieve greater overall health through cutting-edge therapies and integrative care. Contact a local practitioner in your area to get started on your journey toward a healthier future. Or, take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to learn more about how hormones may be impacting your daily life.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.