Hormone Replacement Therapy Specialist

Turner Medical Arts

Vaginal Rejuvenation, Sexual Health, Restorative Medicine, & Aesthetics for Women of All Ages in Santa Barbara, CA and Hayward, CA

Duncan Turner, MD is pleased to provide hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, at Turner Medical Arts in Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Turner works closely with patients to discuss the pros and cons of HRT and to determine the best approach for improving symptoms while addressing each individual’s health concerns. To learn more about hormone replacement therapy, call or schedule an appointment online.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Q & A

Hormone Replacement Therapy Q & A

Bioidentical hormones and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can provide safe, effective relief for many women who are suffering from symptoms related to menopause. In spite of the controversy surrounding HRT, current research suggests that if women begin taking bioidentical hormones before or shortly after menopause, HRT presents very few risks and is beneficial for most patients. Of the many alternatives available, it makes sense to use bioidentical hormones, which are exactly the same molecules as the hormones produced by a woman's own body.

At Turner Medical Arts in Santa Barbara, California, Dr. Turner offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for patients who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, which typically begin around age 50. By definition, true menopause occurs one year after the date of a woman's last period, but most women begin experiencing significant symptoms up to five years before that time.

These symptoms vary from mild to almost debilitating, and they can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood changes, fuzzy thinking, reduced energy, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, irregular bleeding, and more.

HRT benefits are not limited only to quality-of-life issues. Therapy with bioidentical hormones can also strengthen bones and protect the cardiovascular system. After all, women are much more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, and heart disease is the leading cause of death among women worldwide.

If you are experiencing menopause symptoms and would like to discuss bioidentical hormones and BHRT, request an appointment with Dr. Turner today. Schedule your appointment by email, or phone our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-1957.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Options

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as natural hormone therapy, refers to estrogen and progesterone that are molecularly identical to those produced by a woman’s body. As women age, their ovaries produce less of these hormones, so they gradually begin to notice symptoms related to this decrease in estrogen : hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, etc. Bones may also weaken and the cardiovascular system may deteriorate. During this time, progesterone also decreases, but most symptoms are caused from the lack of estrogen.

The good news is that HRT can relieve these symptoms, and a woman's natural hormones can be replaced with bioidentical hormones as alternatives. Patients can choose from a wide variety of either FDA–approved or pharmacy–compounded bioidentical hormones, which are typically created from plant–derived sources such as soy or yams. Hormones must fit together like a lock and a key, and for this reason, bioidentical hormones are more readily accepted and metabolized into the body because they match the body's hormones exactly.

Bioidentical hormones are offered in many forms :

  • Oral or sublingual pill
  • Nose spray
  • Transdermal patch
  • Vaginal cream
  • Topical cream
  • Transdermal gel
  • Vaginal ring
  • Vaginal tablet
  • Subcutaneous pellets

For some women, the topical route of delivery (patch, cream, or gel) for bioidentical hormones is preferable to the oral route, but only a woman and her physician can determine which specific therapy is right for her. In many cases involving bioidentical hormones, estrogen alone can bring relief from the most bothersome symptoms; however, if a woman has not had a hysterectomy and still has a uterus, she should also take progesterone, which clinical studies have shown can reduce the incidence of uterine cancer.

If she has had a hysterectomy, progesterone is typically not necessary. In either case, women taking bioidentical hormones should always take the lowest possible dose of estrogen, or estrogen plus progesterone, to relieve their symptoms.

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Also known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, natural hormone therapy or hormone therapy, HRT replenishes hormones your body produces in smaller amounts as you approach menopause. Formerly a standard treatment for menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, HRT is now one of numerous options, each of which brings unique risks and benefits.


What are the benefits of HRT?

A large body of research shows that hormone therapy involving estrogen with or without progesterone effectively minimizes menopause symptoms and complications including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and bone loss. When you reap these benefits, you’ll be more able to enjoy better sleep, sexual function, and overall quality of life. Less bone loss means a lower risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

Advantages of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Many patients experience additional health concerns related to hormonal decline. Because estrogen and progesterone are some of the most important chemical messengers in the body, they regulate many physiological processes such as digestion, metabolism, reproduction, muscle growth, and libido.

Factors such as high stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, environmental conditions, and aging can cause hormonal levels to deteriorate, and while most begin declining in middle age, imbalances can occur at any age, leading to the following related health concerns :

  • Menopause
  • Perimenopause
  • Weight–Loss Resistance
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypothyroid
  • Hyperthyroid

BHRT can address many of these health concerns, helping women and men recover from the effects of hormonal imbalances.

Duncan Turner, MD, specializes in gynecology, hormone levels, and bioidentical hormone therapy. He will work closely with you to discuss the pros and cons of HRT and bioidentical hormones as well as the best approach to improving your health concerns and minimizing any unpleasant symptoms. At Turner Medical Arts, we have helped hundreds of people overcome their challenges and rediscover their vitality with bioidentical hormones.

What are the risks associated with HRT?

Risks of hormone replacement therapy vary depending on factors such as your age, your dosage, at what age you reached menopause, your current health risks, and family history. HRT may increase your risk for blood clots, stroke, heart disease, and breast cancer. It may also make breast cancer harder to detect by making your breasts appear more dense in mammograms. These risks increase after age 60.

To lower risks associated with bioidentical hormones, Dr. Turner prescribes the lowest possible dose of estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone to relieve symptoms.

How are the hormones administered?

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are identical structurally to the hormones women’s bodies make. They come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Nose spray
  • Oral or sublingual pill
  • Pellet therapy
  • Topical cream
  • Transdermal gel
  • Transdermal patch
  • Vaginal cream
  • Vaginal ring
  • Vaginal tablet

With Dr. Turner’s guidance, you may choose from a broad range of FDA-approved or pharmacy-compounded bioidentical hormones, which typically come from plant-derived sources such as soy or yams.

What is pellet therapy?

Pellet therapy is a specialized method of HRT in which tiny pellets about the size of a grain of rice are placed under your skin. The painless procedure is repeated every 4-6 months or so and brings fewer potential side effects than pills.