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Is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Right for You?

Are you approaching menopause or experiencing menopause and are concerned about its symptoms? Our office manager and Dr. Polcino are here to help! They discuss bio-identical hormone replacement therapy questions and answers. You will hear an introduction about the therapy, and Dr. Polcino will help you understand it in more depth.

The office manager introduces: Good morning, my name is Chris Sini and I am the practice manager for Dr. Michael Polcino, a board certified OB/GYN. Today we are going to speak about bio-identical hormones, but first I would like to give you an introduction.

The average woman starts to experience menopausal symptoms at the early age of 41, and they can continue throughout her sixties. This means we could spend almost half of our life in menopause. To answer some questions in regard to this time in a woman’s life, let me introduce Dr. Polcino to you. Good morning, Dr. Polcino.

Dr. Polcino: Good morning, Chris! Thank you.

When a woman is told she is perimenopausal or menopausal, exactly what does that mean?

Dr. Polcino answers: By definition, menopause means you have not had a period for about a year. The average age of menopause is 51. It is also normal for a period to stop in your forties and fifties.

Perimenopause is when the changes of hormone loss have already begun. Perimenopause can start ten years before you have menopause. This means you can have hormonal changes starting at 35 and then many years of those symptoms.

What are the symptoms a woman can experience before and during menopause?

I knew you were going to ask me! We all know about hot flashes and trouble sleeping. Symptoms of menopause can include anxiety, insomnia, irritability, depression, painful intercourse, vaginal itching, bloating, aching ankles, sore breasts, snoring, weight gain, panic attacks, and more. Remember that estrogen affects over 400 organs in the body. So there are a lot of symptoms you can have.

Are there any treatments for menopause?

We have two treatments we like to do. First, we like to modify the lifestyle. We know that exercise, diet, and relaxation techniques can really help with menopausal symptoms. Second, we can replace the hormones that are the cause of these symptoms. Women experience these bad symptoms because the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are not being made anymore.

I have read a little about the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Can you explain that to us?

Sure! In 2002, there was a study conducted on women who had been taking hormone replacements at that time. The hormones that they used were Premarin® and Provera. The Premarin was the estrogens from horses, and the Provera was a synthetic progestin.

They studied the risks of heart disease and breast cancer and found there was a slight increase – it changed everything. Everyone became frightened of the hormones, and for many years, no one was using hormones. When they revaluated the numbers, they realized that they were not as bad as they thought, but they did have some good understanding of where the problems came from.

What is the difference between hormone replacement and the use of bio-identical hormones?

Remember how we said that Premarin was the estrogens from horses? So now we can make estrogen that is bio-identical – it contains the exact same chemical structure that a woman’s body makes. We have bio-identical hormones for progesterone and testosterone.

What we do is: we start with the hormones from yams and soybeans. They make us able to modify the hormone so that it is the exact chemical. Now, when a woman receives these hormone replacements, we are giving her the same chemical the body has always been used to, knows how to break down, and it results in fewer to no symptoms.

Have you had success with your patients using bio-identical hormones?

Yes. We have had many patients that we have been able to help, and it really changes their lives. I believe those forties, fifties, and sixties, and beyond, should be as good as and better than those thirties and forties.

The office manager concludes: Well, thank you very much, Dr. Polcino. For everyone watching, I hope this short discussion with the doctor increased your awareness and understanding of the use of bio-identical hormones.

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