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For more information about these community pharmacy/education/wellness centers, contact:



Bill Burch, RPh
Jennifer Burch, PharmD
Sejjal Patel, PharmD
Darius Russell, PharmD
Donna Ferrell, RPh
2609 North Duke Street, #103
Durham, NC 27704
Telephone: (919) 220-5121
Fax: (919) 220-6307



6224 Fayetteville Rd, #104
Durham, NC 27713
Telephone: (919) 484-7600

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HRT to Relieve Symptoms:
Benefit of Hormone Replacement Therapy

It’s a fact that humans experience a wide range of health symptoms that are often difficult to diagnose. Many people spend countless hours and dollars, going from doctor to doctor and yet all their aches and pains remain. Often, notes Dr. Jennifer Burch, of Central Compounding Center in Durham, the mystery aches and pains are, in fact, the result of hormone issues as we move through life. Dr. Burch and her staff are experienced and expert in evaluating and providing HRT—hormone replacement therapy.

Dr. Burch develops precise and complex formulations as she develops HRT programs for clients.

Health&Healing: What are some of the symptoms of hormone deficiency that would alert a person to further check it out?

DR. BURCH: There are a plethora of symptoms that come with hormone changes, and each symptom can be linked to a specific hormone. Often when we think of hormonal changes we think of women who have hot flashes and night sweats, mood and sleep changes, and problems with sexual desire. Those are at the top of everyone’s list, but they less often think about things like joint pain, ankle swelling, and depression, which can also be linked directly to hormonal issues.

If the hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol aren’t balanced, for example, the thyroid doesn’t function properly. Even though your labs may say it’s working fine, functionally the thyroid doesn’t work if progesterone is not present. And so we observe this intricate puzzle. Practitioners at times look at one piece of the hormonal puzzle, and ignore the rest.

H&H: What tools do you use to assess this balance—or imbalance—of hormones?

DR. BURCH: We carefully monitor our clients, and over time, we have acquired a good deal of skill and experience in diagnosing hormone function. The more we do this work, the more precise and knowledgeable we become. We monitor our patients and have them do salivary hormone testing so we know exactly what the free, usable amounts of hormones are in their body. And we also want to make sure to do proper thyroid testing and understand what their cortisol—the stress hormone—is doing because this is vital information. Everyone likes to think that hot flashes come purely from estrogen deficiency. But in fact they can also come from estrogen excess or from cortisol being out of sync. So the answer isn’t always giving the patient more estrogen for hot flashes; we need to test and test again to engage in this HRT work with great precision.

Knowing what your starting point is with hormones, with a specific client, helps us get a better outcome in testing. Not everyone routinely tests hormones before dispensing them to patients. At Central Pharmacy we simply avoid dispensing prescriptions if the patient hasn’t had appropriate testing. Our goal is to avoid any bad side effects, which could in fact be blamed on the prescription we make, when in fact the patient just didn’t need the hormone.

H&H: What is the relationship of hormones to menopause?

DR. BURCH: Women experience greater hormone fluctuation as they start their journey toward menopause. Perimenopause is defined as the 10 years before menopause, while menopause is 12 months without a period. What we find is that a lot of women start having hormone imbalances in their thirties, or even younger. We need to continually manage hormones so that when they get to menopause, it doesn’t become a nightmare for them. A number of other cultures, such as the Japanese, don’t even have a word for menopause. Does that mean that in the US we all work way too hard and are stressed out? Cortisol balance plays a big role in that.

Many women in the US exclaim that menopause is the most horrible time of their life. Balancing their hormones tends to fix that. When your hormones aren’t balanced, your brain doesn’t function as well, and your memory slips. Estrogen supports brain health, memory, and cardiovascular health, which are all leading causes of senility and death in this country. The number of Alzheimer’s cases is growing dramatically. Cancer is increasing among women. Having too much estrogen, and not enough progesterone, increases the risk of cancer. Progesterone protects breast tissue from estrogen, thereby lowering cancer risk. Also, women who have been on birth control pills for the last 20 years are starting to show a high incidence of breast cancer.

H&H: How do you balance hormone deficiencies?

DR. BURCH: The best treatment course for patients in need of hormones is Bio-Identical Hormone therapy. This unique therapy makes sure that each patient has the right balance of hormones for long-term emotional, mental, and physical health. There is no one “right balance” for all. Our hormone profiles are as unique as our fingerprints.
Our job at Central Compounding Center is to ask questions. We always start with over-the-counter remedies before doing any further evaluations. We begin with the most obvious symptoms and as we proceed and gain the patient’s trust, they start telling us more of their symptoms which helps us uncover other underlying issues.

Balancing all of those different hormones is important in supporting your quality of life; Central Compounding Center wants to help support the quality of your life, as well as the length of your life. Who wants to live to be a hundred, if the last 15 years of life are miserable?