Bioidentical Hormones

For most of us, the culture we live in is full of stress, overwork, and toxic exposures, which cause a variety of common symptoms including chronic fatigue, anxiety, irritability, sleep disruption, menstrual irregularities, and lots more. Often these symptoms go unaddressed and then become even worse when a woman arrives into her menopausal years.

The physicians at Two Rivers have extensive experience diagnosing and treating hormone dysfunction, utilizing a variety of therapies including bioidentical and synthetic hormone prescriptions, adrenal and thyroid medications, and individualized lifestyle measures, which can resolve symptoms by restoring balance to hormone levels.

We always use the lowest effective dose of hormones for the shortest period of time necessary to support the patient’s recovery and minimize potential side effects or adverse outcomes.

The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy 

There is no magic hormone or dose/combination of hormones that can be used by every woman. Hormone therapy should not be prescribed as a  one size fits all approach. It requires careful monitoring, dose adjustments and evaluation of each woman’s genetic and environmental risk factors. Used correctly, hormone therapy can be used as part of a treatment plan to improve:

  • Abnormal Menstrual Cycles 
  • Hot Flashes
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Insomnia 
  • Unexplained Weight Gain 
  • Vaginal Dryness 
  • Low Libido 
  • Fatigue & Brain Fog 
  • Joint Pain
  • Migraine Headaches
Menopausal bioidentical hormone therapy can also reduce the risk of: memory loss, osteoporosis, colon cancer and cardiovascular disease (when prescribed early in menopause). Our providers focus on using the safest forms of hormones including: transdermal estrogen therapy,  bioidentical hormones (human identical form of hormones) and a mixture of estriol (less potent, more protective form) and estradiol (more potent, less protective form). We carefully monitor hormones levels with salivary and blood testing and offer a variety of delivery systems including transdermal hormone therapy and pellet therapy. 

Schedule with the Two Rivers’ Providers:

(Functional Medicine and Primary Care Specialist)

(Functional Medicine and Primary Care Specialist)

FAQs: Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Hot flashes, night sweats, depression, anxiety, insomnia, muscle loss, increased central adipose/fat tissue, brain fog, vaginal dryness and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Bioidentical hormones are identical in structure to the hormones found in our body. In other words, bio-identical= human-identical hormones. They are formulated to perform the same functions in our body as our actual hormones and often come from phytochemicals in plants.

Conventional hormones are synthetic compounds made by pharmaceutical companies. They mimic some of the functions of the hormones in our body while introducing some new potentially harmful functions.

It is the most effective treatment for hot flashes! Some studies suggest a 75% reduction in hot flashes.

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved bone mineral density, reduced risk of fracture, reduced risk of colon cancer, improved sleep, reduced risk of dementia, reduced fasting blood glucose levels, reduced joint pain and stiffness, improved cognition and reduced anxiety.

Measuring levels prior to treatments allows for a more tailored careful approach. However, it is not always necessary.

It is most useful when: monitoring levels after initiating treatment, assessing menopausal status in a patient out of the normal age range, and assessing hormone levels in women before menopause with a history of a hysterectomy.

Misinformation or drawing a conclusion that bioidentical hormones are the same as synthetic hormones. They are NOT.

Unfortunately, the media and some physicians use a study called the women’s health initiative (WHI) to recommend against bioidentical hormone therapy. The problem? The study took place in the 1990’s and studied the effects of synthetic estrogen alone versus synthetic estrogen and synthetic progestin used in combination. The study found that synthetic progestins can protect against the side effects of too much estrogen (cancer of the uterine lining) but can increase the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and heart disease.

Issues with this study:

  • Bioidentical hormones are formulated differently. It is human-identical remember? Your body sees the bio-identical hormone as its own hormone. It does not have some of the added functions of synthetic hormones.
  • Only about 1/3 of the women were 50-59 years old. Women farther than 10 years past menopause do not have the same risk factors.
  • One size fits all approach. Not all patients need the same dose of hormones and should be monitored to find the right dose.

If drawing conclusions based on the WHI trial the risk would be 0.1% risk of breast cancer.

When prescribed correctly, bioidentical hormone therapy can reduce the risk of breast cancer by balancing the ratio of progesterone to estrogen. How? As we age we become “estrogen dominant”. In other words, both estrogen and progesterone will go down but progesterone declines at a faster rate. Estrogen is hyperproliferative meaning it causes tissue to grow at a higher rate. Progesterone counters this action and slows the rate of growth. If estrogen is higher the risk of breast cancer is higher.

Vaginal atrophy (thinning of vaginal tissue around menopause), ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.

Dr. Ryan Sweeney, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Sweeney has maintained a full time primary care practice since 2008. He has helped thousands of Douglas County residents over that time to achieve better health and wellness, and he is proud to call the Umpqua Valley his home. He chooses to take the necessary time with his patients to understand all aspects of their health history and he designs a clear treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of the patients symptoms. In addition to improved health, his patients report feeling understood and truly care for by him and most maintain him as their primary physician.

He has been in private practice for over ten years, over that time he has treated thousands of patients with irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, heartburn, chronic gas and bloating, and other conditions related to the gastrointestinal tract, and he has become particularly interested in the functional medicine approach to improving digestive function.

Dr. Sweeney is happily accepting new patients and looks forward to continuing to treat the underlying causes of disease in Douglas County for many years to come.

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Dr. Brittany Blackford, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Brittany Blackford is a licensed primary care physician who uses an individualized integrative approach to patient care. Her integrative approach incorporates both standard of care and traditional naturopathic medicine such as diet, lifestyle and botanical medicine. She received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland Oregon and Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Oregon State University.

During her residency, she gained extensive clinical training in many clinics throughout Portland including: NUNM, Pacific Psychology Clinic, Sober Living Oregon Recovery Center, OHSU Richmond Clinic, and A Women’s Time. In addition to primary care, she received special training in bioidentical hormone therapy, gynecology, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, insomnia and substance use disorders.

Prior to her clinical training, Dr. Blackford grew up in Roseburg, Oregon. She attended RHS and grew up shadowing her mother in her women’s health practice, La Bella Vita Health and Wellness. Dr. Blackford has returned to Roseburg in the hopes of providing a similar individualized integrative approach for patients.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Blackford can be found by the river, walking her dogs, exercising, playing card games and spending time with family and friends.

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