Dr. Michel Schreiber Dr. Helen Schreiber
Specialists in holistic medicine
Family doctors for parents & children

Bio-identical Hormone Therapy


Hormones are biochemical messengers, which are absolutely important for the metabolism in the whole body. They are produced in glands and transported by blood in the circulation to reach the destination organs where they exert their effects. The most commonly known hormones are, e.g. Insulin (produced in the pancreas, effects on the sugar metabolism) and Thyroxin (the thyroid hormone produced in the thyroid gland). During the monthly cycle of a woman two important sexual hormones are produced in the ovaries. In the first half of the cycle before ovulation, Estradiol (the hormone of growth) is produced by the ripening ovum (egg). After ovulation, the “yellow body” (corpus luteum) which is the remaining shell of the ruptured ovum produces the hormone Progesterone (the hormone of maturity).


The conventional “hormone replacement therapy” (HRT) is since some time known to be dangerous. This treatment for peri- and post-menopausal women applies, just as the birth control pills, chemical substances which have  similar effects on the sexual organs as the hormones but are actually different in biochemical structure from the body's own hormones estrogen and progesterone. They are as such not real hormones, although they are unfortunately almost always labelled as “hormones”, even in professional literature, thus giving rise to great confusion in concept and terminology. They do not have the many other important functions for life of the body's own hormones. The birth control pill serves contraception through turning off ovulation.  Because there is no ovulation there is no “yellow body” and no production of progesterone. This is a serious interference in the hormone system of the woman. Unfortunately many doctors and patients do not realise this grave consequence, namely the imbalance in the hormone system with deficiency of progesterone. Some women notice the problems soon after taking the pill, most often weight gain, water retention, mood swings and headaches. Some do not realize the much more subtle problems till much later. A significant reason for infertility is the failure of ovulation to return after it has been suppressed for a long time from the use of the pill.


Many women's ailments have their origin in hormonal imbalance. The main problem of an imbalance is the lack of progesterone which leads to a relative dominance of estrogen. In bio-identical hormone therapy only hormones, e.g. Progesterone, which are identical in biochemical structure to the body's own are used.  These could be applied topically as a cream or orally as capsules or troches.  Bio-identical steroid hormones are synthesised from Diosgenin, a plant extract from the roots of the Mexican wild yams (Dioscora).  They are prescribed individually and dispensed by compound pharmacies.


Not only are the sexual hormones estrogen and progesterone important for women's health and are indicated in the treatment of women's ailments such as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menstrual disturbances (irregular cycles, too little or too heavy bleeding), oavian cysts (PCOS), uterine myomas, peri- and post-menopausal symptoms ( hot flushes, excessive sweating, mood swings). These and the other hormones Testosterone, DHEA, thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), pregnanolone, melatonin, cortisol, just to name the most important ones, form together a network the balance of which is critical to the body's manifold functions, health and well being. The body's own production of hormones decline with age. Hormone deficiency and imbalance lead to the far too well known health problems of old age such as sleep disturbances, depressive mood changes, lack of energy and motivation, decline of cognitive function and cardiac symptoms without pathological findings. There are also many studies which show that hormonal balance could have protective effects against cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders of old age.


In this sense, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is an integral part of pro-aging and happy aging medicine. It is also preventive medicine of the future for the aging population of many countries. When so much is discussed and argued about the economic state of old age pensioners, their medical bills and the burden on families and society of caring for the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer's, isn't it more important to think what the causes  and prevention of their health problems could be and how, e.g. through hormonal balance,  senior citizens could enjoy not just a long life of misery but a long life of quality and dignity?