Dear Dr. Jen, I’ve been taking compounded hormones for about 12 years, but I have started gaining weight and can’t seem to lose it. I decided to ween myself off them because I found out that my body has kind of stopped absorbing them like it should. Or should I find a different way to absorb them and stay on them?
This question came from a woman named Debbie, and it highlights the difficulty of my job because I want to see you all in my office so I can spend some time sitting down with you and giving you tests and asking all my questions about your questions!
But I can’t see everyone. Sigh… So I just do my best to give you the best information I have on all the latest and greatest in the health world.
Here’s what I want to tell you, Debbie, and anyone else taking hormones or thinking about taking hormones: if you’re on hormones (and I recommend taking bioidentical hormones), you should be monitored by testing.
Testing for hormones usually comes in the form of saliva or urine testing, possibly blood testing depending on how the hormones are administered. Ongoing testing would be the best method to tell whether you are actually absorbing hormones or not.
It doesn’t seem likely to me that you wouldn’t be absorbing the hormones, BUT if you were tested and it were the case that you were not absorbing them, you could try another method of hormone delivery.
Hormone Delivery Options
Some doctors, including Dr. Jonathan Wright, who is one of my colleagues and is considered the Father of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, says that hormones are absorbed better through the mucosa. He recommends all compounded creams in women be used in the vagina rather than on the skin.
Another method that I prefer for many of my patients is hormone pellet therapy for estrogen and testosterone therapy. With pellets, there is nothing to absorb. They are used by your body slowly over time until the effects wear off.
Pellets have been used in hormone therapy since 1939! They are an effective way to deliver hormones that have been used extensively in women and men for many years. I have used them in my practice for about 8 years now. My patients on pellets are probably some of my most satisfied patients. Pellets come closest to mimicking natural physiological levels of hormones.
Thanks for the great question!