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Bio-identical Hormone Therapy

Bio-identical Hormone Therapy services offered in Ojai, CA

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy services offered in the greater Ojai, CA area


From conception, HORMONES, which are produced by the endocrine glands, serve as messengers from your brain, telling your internal organs how to function. A decrease in the production of hormones begins in middle age and conrtinues to diminish in a linear fashion until old age. 

Insufficiency of hormones has been discovered to be a major element in the process of aging.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as bio-identical hormone therapy or natural hormone therapy, is the use of hormones that are identical on a molecular level with endogenous hormones produced by our own bodies and derived from the molecules of yams or soy. 

BHRT provides lasting relief from symptoms associated with perimenopause, menopause, PCOS, PMS, anovulation and low testosterone. At Preston Arndt, MD Medical Clinic, in Ojai, California, Nurse Practitioner Antonia Smudde, offers customized bio-identical hormone treatment for individuals suffering from the signs and symtoms of hormones imbalance.  Call Preston Arndt, MD Medical Clinic today to schedule your bio-identical hormone therapy consultation, or book your appointment online.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Q & A

What is bio-identical hormone therapy?

Hormones are natural chemicals, produced by the endocrine system, which consist of organs and tissues. These hormones are released into the bloodstream to be used by other organs and tissue in the body. The function of our organ is controlled by these hormones and play a crucial role in so many aspects of everyones individual health. 

Bio-identical hormones are unique in that they’re derived from all-natural sources, like plants. This makes them similar to the hormones produced by your body, reducing  the risks associated with traditional hormone replacement therapy.


Who can benefit from bio-identical hormone therapy?

Consider bio-identical hormone therapy at Preston Arndt, MD Medical Clinic if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low libido (loss of interest in sex)
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Insulin resistance
  • PMS
  • PCOS 
  • Anovultion

Restoring your hormones to natural levels prevents these issues from getting worse and helps you feel better. 

How is bio-identical hormone therapy administered?

Bio-identical hormones come in several forms. including:

  • Pills
  • Patches
  • Gels
  • Creams

Preston Arndt, MD Medical Clinic will take a medical history focusing on your current health status and health goals and provide an informed decision on what is recommended.


What are hormones and why do I need them?
Hormones are an essential part of the metabolic process of living. Hormones are important for cells, organs and metabolism. Our hormones decline through aging, menopause, disease and trauma. When this happens, we begin an accelerated aging process. Loss of hormones is one of the major reasons for our deterioration as we get older, both physically and mentallly. Hormones are beneficial at any age, but the best long term protective benefits are achieved if hormones are replace when you begin to lose them, usually in our mid 30 's to early 40's.

What are the typical hormones that are prescribed?
Synthetic Estrogen (ie: Premarin) and progestins (ie: Provera) are produced in a laboratory. They are chemically altered so that they can be patented by the pharmaceutical companies. They are not identical to human hormones. They are designed to try to elicit the same responeses in your body as you natural hormones. Because synthetic hormones are not identical to human hormones, they might adversely stimulate the cells and lead to side effects or cancer. Premarin is an estrogen obtained from pregnant horses and is not human identical. Provera is a progenstin. Both have been implicated in causing problems in some women, including breast cancer. 


How are bio-identical estrogen and progesterone produced?
Hormones that are identcal to humans are found in yams and soy. We call these "natural" because they are natural to the body. The hormones are extracted from these vegetables and then processed by a specialty compounding pharmacy into a prescription dose and form. The body accepts and metablolizes these hormones as if they were made by the body itself. 


What are the problems with synthetic hormones?
When first developed, synthetic hormones were well received because they provided some of the benefits of hormone replacement: controlling the symptoms of menopause and fighting osteoporosis and heart disease. However the long-term results have shown that synthetic hormones sometimes elicit a negative metabolic response. Some women can't tolerate synthetic hormones, often suffering with side effects such as bloating, bleeding or mood swings. In some patients, synthetic estrogens and progestins contribute to the development of breast and uterine cancer. Synthetic hormones are not a perfect match in the body. Synthetic hormones produce abnormal metabolites that can cause side effects and increase the risk of cancer. A natural hormone is a perfect fit in the body - it is a biologically identical hormone replacement. 


Why doesn't my gynecologist prescribe bio-identical hormones?
Natural supplements such as vitamins and hormones and protected by federal regulation and may not be patented. Major pharmaceutical manufacturers are interested only in patentable drugs that are exclusive and profitable. A lot of what physicains learn is from the drug companies who are promoting their products. Therefore, your doctors are primarily taught only about synthetic products. Bio-identical hormones do not come under specific brand names. Your physician must be self-educated and experienced in prescribing and monitoring natural hormones. They probably just don't know a lot about them or must prescribe within the constraits of your health insurance. 


What is the truth about the recent publicity regarding the risk of taking hormones?
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) was a study that focused on the sythetic estrogen (Premarin) and the synthetic progestin (Provera). NOTE: Progestin is not progesterone.  There were different "arms" of the study using different drug combinations. The arm of the study using Premarin and Provera (PremPro) was discontinued before completion because an increased risk of breast cancer was detected in the early stages of the study. This risk is attributed to the Provera portion of the regimen. This is not the first time progestins have been implicated in increasing risk for women. The arm of the study using Premarin did not show an increase risk of breast cancer, but was discontinued because of an increased incidence of stroked in older women. A recent study showed that natural estrogen did not have the same effects. 
Unfortunately, the media has misrepresented the facts of this study by targeting all hormone therapy. THIS IS WRONG! Again, the culprits are synthetic progestin (Provera) and horse estrogen (equilinin), not natural estrogen or natural progesterone. There are numerous studies showing the long term benefits of hormone therapy. You just need to be sure that you are receiving the right hormones (bio-idenetical hormones) in the right balance. It is important to begin hormone  replacement as soon as you being begin to lose these hormones to avoid any length of time without their protective benefits. 


What are the signs of low Progesterone and what are the health benefits of Progesterone?
Progesterone is responsible for balancing estrogen and the female repoductive cycle. Deficiency results in symptoms of PMS, bloating, headaches, cramping, mood swings, breast tenderness and irritability. A deficiency in progesterone can be a factor in frequent miscarriages. 
Research shows that natural progesterone stimulates bone building osteoblasts, thus providing protection against osteoporosis. Progesterone reduces the mitotic change in breast and uterine tissue, thereby protecting against cancer (Provera does the opposite). Progesterone protects against heart disease. Progesterone is necessary for adequate sexual response, lubrication and vaginal vasodilation. Progesterone is responsible for the physiologic equilibrium with estrogen. At menopause, women lose both estrogen and progesterone and both should be replaced. Progesterone replacement is important, even if you have had a hysterectomy because it does much more than just protect the uterus. 


What if I have been taking synthetic hormones?
You need hormones, but you need the right kind, natural bio-identical hormones, in the right balance. Don't tolerate the risks of synthetic hormones when a safe alternative is available. 


Should I take estrogen and progesterone of not?
The risk of not taking hormone replacement therapy includes elevated cholesterol, heart disese, strokes, osteoporosis, tooth decay, depression, Alzheimer's Disease and menopause synptoms. The side effects of synthetic hormones such as bleeding, swelling, weight gain and breast cancer can be eliminated by using natural estrogen and progesterone. Overall health and well-being are improved, long term survival is greatly improved and the quality of life is greatly enhanced. The risk of not taking hormones are tremendous. Just don't take synthetic hormones. 


What about over-the-counter creams and saliva test?
Products produced over-the-counter are not usually of a strength sufficient to produce a long term therapeutic difference. A sufficient dose requires a prescription. Over-the-counter products might give you some symptomatic relief, but it is necessary to maintain certain hormone levels to achieve the long term protective benefits. 
Because hormones are delivered to the organs by the blood and not saliva, we rely on blood test to determine accurate and optimal levels. Blood and saliva test do not correlate. Saliva testing has consistently been shown to be inaccurate in medical studies.


How does one know whether they are receiving adequate amounts of replacement hormones?
Blood test determine deficiencies. Blood test also determine whether adequate replacement has been prescribed. All people will absorb, assimilate and respond to hormones differently than others. If the proper level (and therefore tissue level) is not achieved, then the full benefit of hormone replacement therapy is not realized. We want hormone levels to be optimal and protective. 


What about Evista and Fosamax?
Evista (Raloxifine) is in a class of drugs known as designer estrogens. Studies show that these compounds are somewhat efective in increasing bone mass although not as effective as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Designer estrogens do not relieve any of the side effects of menopause and might even increase them. Fosamax is a non-hormone treatment to block bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. It has been associated with a multitude of side effects, especially gastrointestinal problems. Neither designer estrogens nor Fosamx are as effective as natural estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in preventing osteoporosis. 


Are there other hormones I shoudl replace? What about men?
Other bio-identical hormones that should be part of an optimal hormone replacement program are testosterone, thyroid, DHEA, melatonin and Vit D. Both men and women need these hormones. 


Call Preston Arndt, MD Medical Clinic today to explore the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy, or book your appointment online.