A hormonal solution for symptoms of menopause

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Since 2002, many women have been reluctant to seek help or, worse yet, do nothing for the hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and sleeplessness associated with menopause — all because a national study was terminated due to side effects from the drug being used.

The World Health Initiative — created in 1991 by the National Institutes of Health to study the major health issues for postmenopausal women: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis — should have run for 15 years.

But it was stopped abruptly in 2002 when researchers found that women taking the prescribed drug had a greater incidence of coronary heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, and pulmonary embolism than women taking the placebo. Although the study was later criticized for possible flaws, it is undeniable that women in the study had increased risks for these diseases when taking the drug prescribed.

However, researchers have since learned that:

Progesterone works differently than progestin (used in the WHI study).

Progesterone use has shown a decreased risk of estrogen-dependent cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Topical estrogen has been shown to have significantly reduced estrogen risks (the WHI study used oral estrogens.)

Progesterone, used with estrogen, has not demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer.

And there now is a safe and effective solution — Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). BHRT uses hormones that have identical chemical structures to hormones the body produces naturally. These hormones are created from vegetables such as wild yams and soybeans, used by women for centuries to minimize menopausal symptoms.

A lab test is required to determine the correct hormones and dosage. I recommend a saliva test (over a blood test), because it is the most reliable measurement of the hormones needed by the body’s receptors, and the only test that measures both the free and protein-bound hormones.

The woman and her provider have only one more decision — whether to use a medication from a compounding pharmacy that is specifically formulated for her needs, or a medication from a conventional pharmacy that is available in set doses. (Fagen) pharmacy offers both. However, the women in our practice using compounded BHRT prescriptions have been the only ones enthusiastically reporting their results.

As with any health-care regimen we strongly recommend that you consult your health-care provider to determine the best approach for you. And please feel free to contact me for more information. Contact Jim Spanopoulos, Fagen Pharmacy Compounding Specialists, at

jim.spanopoulos@fagenpharmacy.com or at (219) 477-1857.

Provided by Fagen Pharmacy