Women's International Pharmacy E-Newsletter

Reading Your Face: What Can It Tell You About Hormone Balance?
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP- Women's International Pharmacy

If you know what to look for, the reflection of your face in a mirror can reveal signs of a hormone imbalance. Let's start at the top to see what you might find.

If you are losing hair at the crown of your head, consider that you might have a thyroid deficiency. Thyroid hormone also affects the thickness of the hair shaft and the abundance of hair. Adequate amounts of the sex hormones, such as the estrogens and testosterone, also contribute to hair luster. Another factor to consider is your diet-your hair might need more minerals and proteins. Insufficient intake of these nutrients in your diet, or the inability to assimilate those nutrients, can also contribute to hair problems. Low stomach acid makes it difficult to absorb minerals and protein. Because digestive enzymes are needed to break down protein so it can be absorbed, supplements may be needed.

If you have thinning eyebrows, or you have lost the outer third of your eyebrows, this is called the "Sign of Hertoghe," named after the endocrinologist who first made this observation. This is also typically a sign of low thyroid function.

If your eyelids are drooping over your eyes, many people resort to plastic surgery to snip away at the extra tissue. Growth hormone deficiencies contribute to the loss of elasticity of this tissue. Dark circles under the eyes are related to cortisol deficiency.

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Ingrid Edstrom's Proactive Breast Wellness Program
at ProactiveBreastWellness.com
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP- Women's International Pharmacy

Flower LogoOur current medical system has been designed to take our hands and give us direction when disease has become evident, but it has left us sadly wanting when it comes to prevention. Finding and accessing the information necessary to prevent disease is difficult and time consuming. And, even if we do find it, interpreting it and understanding it may take some help.

Thankfully, a comprehensive compilation of what we currently know about keeping our breasts free from disease, including breast cancer, is available as an engaging multimedia presentation offered by Ingrid Edstrom, FNP, M.Ed., CTT. The Proactive Breast Wellness Program is her magnus opus and a labor of love.

A nationally certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Ingrid combined her nursing degree with a minor in clinical nutrition. She also earned a Master's Degree in Health Education, and has completed clinical training programs at the Mind Body Medical Institute. Ingrid Edstrom has skillfully combined all of her educational and clinical skills, and gift wrapped them in a delightful presentation so that we would have the resources we need to keep our breasts healthy.

Edstrom includes information about the various effects that hormones have on the breasts, the type of diet and foods that can be used to improve breast health, and the environmental issues affecting the breast. She even includes a meditation so that listeners can help reduce high cortisol, making us aware of the emotional and spiritual aspects of dealing with our breasts and our bodies.

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Bioidentical Progesterone and Synthetic Progestins Are Not the Same
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy

There is nothing that bothers bioidentical hormone proponents more than to have the scientific community categorize bioidentical progesterone with synthetic progestins. In 2002, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study found a slight increase in breast cancer risk for women using conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). In spite of the fact that the study authors cautioned that their results did not necessarily apply to bioidentical progesterone, the popular press has put progesterone in the same category with MPA ever since.

More recent studies support the fact that, contrary to popular belief, MPA and progesterone do not have the same breast cancer risk. Two of these studies occurred in France, where bioidentical hormones are widely used. A study published in 2008 found that, of the 2,354 cases of invasive breast cancer found among 80,377 postmenopausal women, estrogen plus progesterone hormone therapy did not increase the risk of invasive breast cancer while estrogen plus synthetic progestins did. A later study published in 2013 supported these findings.

Progesterone may indeed be beneficial in protecting women against breast cancer. A breast cancer cell- line study supports the theory that progesterone actually causes the destruction of specific breast cancer cells. Another study found that progesterone reduced estradiol-induced growth of female breast tissue when applied 10-13 days before breast surgery. Still another study found that women with progesterone blood levels = or > 4ng/ml before breast cancer surgery had the best survival rate.

It is time that we stop espousing quasi-science by equating bioidentical progesterone with synthetic progestins. They are not the same and never will be.


"Risks and Benefits of Estrogen Plus Progestin in Healthy Postmenopausal Women" by Writing Group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators; JAMA; 2002 Jul 17; 288(3):321-33.

"Unequal risks for breast cancer associated with different hormone replacement therapies: results from the E3N cohort study" by Agnes Fournier, Franco Berrino, and Francoise Clavel-Chapelon; Breast Cancer Res Treat; 2008 Jan; 107(1): 103-111.

"Risk of Breast Cancer by Type of Menopausal Hormone Therapy: a Case-Control Study among Post-Menopausal Women in France" by Emilie Cordina-Duverger, Therese Truong, Antoinette Anger, et al; PLOS ONE; 2013 Nov; 8(11):e78016.

"Progesterone Inhibits Growth and Induces Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells: Inverse Effects on Bcl-2 and p53" by B. Formby and T.S. Wiley; Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science; 1998; 28(6):360-369.

"Influences of percutaneous administration of estradiol and progesterone on human breast epithelial cell cycle in vivo" by King-Jen Change, Tigris T.Y. Lee, Gustavo Linares-Cruz, et al; Fertility and Sterility; 1995 Apr; 63(4):785-793.

"Serum progesterone and prognosis in operable breast cancer" by PE Mohr, DY Wang, WM Gregory, et al; British Journal of Cancer; 1996 Jan 16; 73:1552-1555.



Staff at Women's International Pharmacy



In This Issue
Reading Your Face: What Can It Tell You About Hormone Balance?
Ingrid Edstrom's Proactive Breast Wellness Program
Bioidentical Progesterone and Synthetic Progestins Are Not the Same

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