Bio-identical hormones can be a life changing treatment modality for anyone suffering from hormonal imbalances. The Target Method is a new, customized strategy based on scientific research and clinical outcomes to ensure that the hormones are delivered in the safest, most effective way possible. Not only does this method correct hormonal imbalances that cause menopausal symptoms, but it treats hormone deficiencies with an anti-aging concept in mind for optimal preventative medicine.
The founder of The Target Method is Dr. Daved Rosensweet, MD. Dr. Rosensweet is an expert on menopause and natural hormones, teaching physicians and patients alike the correct usage of bio-identical hormones all over the world.
Symptoms related to hormone imbalances can vary widely, from mild to extremely intense. Imbalances can cause disturbances in energy, libido, sleep, mood, weight, brain, muscles, tissue, and bones. Bio-identical hormones can part of an effective treatment plan to bring the body back into balance.
Bio-identical hormones have the exact molecular structure as those made in the human body. In other words, the two are indistinguishable from each other and produce the same physiologic responses. They are synthesized from plant based extracts such as yams and soy. Traditional hormone replacement therapy like Prempro and Premarin are derived from hormones concentrated in horse urine, and are not identical to your body’s own hormones. The standard bio-identical hormone possibilities include Bi-est (a blend of two types of estrogens naturally produced in the body-estriol and estradiol), progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone.
With hormone replacement therapy, there are many options for routes of administration such as transdermal (applied directly to the skin), transmucosal (applied to mucosa either vaginally or rectally), patch application, sublingual, or oral capsules. With the Target Method, the bio-identical hormones are applied directly to the skin transdermally. In standard transdermal bio-identical hormone creams, solvents are needed to dissolve the hormones and blend them uniformly throughout the jar. These solvents are actually quite toxic and include compounds such as propylene glycol and/or carpobol that absorb into the skin when applied. The bio-identical hormones used in the Target Method are mixed into a blend of proprietary organic oils with no solvents. The hormones do come out of solution after sitting, but with a quick shake of the bottle prior to application, they uniformly mix into solution, ensuring accurate dosing.
The topical application was consciously chosen based on numerous medical literature reviews. These studies show that the transdermal route of administration of estrogens and the use of natural progesterone might offer significant benefits and added safety.
Many considerations will come into play when determining appropriate hormone dosing. Important factors such as medical history, physical exam, symptom picture, labs, imaging, skin absorption, sensitivity, and preferences will alter starting and final dosing regimens. The Target Method shines in this area due to how easily customizable it is for each individual. The initial dosage is set during the consultation with a physician, which is typically a low dose starting point. From here, each patient is instructed on how to titrate dosages up and down to find the optimal dose based on symptoms. The correct dosage will be sufficient to alleviate symptoms, but minimal enough to keep adverse risk as low as possible. Cards are given to each patient presenting symptoms of each specific hormone in excess and deficiency so this titration process can be accomplished with ease.
Once the optimal dosage is found, hormone testing is done. Standard hormone testing options include samples of blood, saliva, or urine. Current research shows that optimal hormone testing is done through 24-hour urine collections. This provides the information needed to assess the full range of hormone levels and interactions throughout the full 24-hour cycle.
A common concern with any type of hormone replacement therapy is safety. Our current understanding is that hormones alone don’t cause illness, however, if a problem arises, there are some diseases where hormones can potentially compound the issue. There are many challenges associated with hormone research models so standards have not been set. Medical literature is mixed regarding hormone replacement therapy and cannot be definitive as to whether there are negative or solely positive side effects. There is variation in the quality of science, types of hormones used, route of administration, dosage of hormones, and many other factors. A recent literature review from Dr. Holtorf presents substantial evidence for the safety and efficacy of bio-identical hormone therapy which shows that it presents a lower risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease than synthetic or animal-derived hormones. There are many other credible studies showing profound benefit to supplementing bio-identical hormones when they are low with little to no risk. Until evidence is found to the contrary, bio-identical hormones remain the preferred method of hormone replacement therapy. On an individual basis, we will use the program that will help bring the risk as close to zero as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about bio-identical hormones, The Target Method, or have any further questions feel free to contact our office and schedule a consult.
By Amanda Wilms, ND