Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist/Owner

(412) 586-4678

The Importance of Hormones and Keeping Them Balanced

Hormones are the basis of our behavior and personality. In most ways, they make us who we are. They impact everything from attraction to appetite - affecting our mood, our weight, our food-cravings, and our sexual desires. Knowing this, your hormones should exist in harmony with each other. When levels of each hormone are in the right proportions, body systems are stable. When balance is lost, hormone deficiencies and excess can cause chronic symptoms, and raise risks for disease. Therefore, keeping them balanced is essential.

Different Hormones Affect Different Things
To better understand hormones, let’s take a closer look at what they are and what they do:

1. Estrogen

  • Protects against osteoporosis, heart disease, memory loss, colon cancer, incontinence and tooth loss
  • Enhances sleep, emotional well-being, mental acuity and focus, memory, attention span, communication ability, vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, digestion, libido and skin tone.
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms and depression
  • Increases tolerance to pain

2. Progesterone

  • Has a calming effect and enhances mood
  • Regulates fluid balance
  • Increases blood sugar, thyroid function and mineral balance
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms
  • Decreases risk of endometrial cancer and may help protect against breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease
  • Protects against osteoporosis and heart disease

3. Testosterone

  • Builds muscle and promotes muscle tone
  • Increases energy and libido
  • Enhances sense of well-being
  • Helps strengthen bone


  • Helps protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, memory loss, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Can increase and enhance energy levels, libido, memory and immunity
  • Protects against the effects of stress
  • Aids in weight loss and healing of burns
  • Helps to prevent wrinkles and dry eyes

5. Cortisol

  • Helps in responding and coping with stress, trauma, and infection
  • Increases energy and metabolism
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Enhances the integrity of blood vessels
  • Reduces allergic and inflammatory response

Do You Feel Unbalanced?

As we age, we may start to notice signs of sleeplessness, fatigue, inability to lose weight, low libido (sex drive), hair loss, anxiety, headache and depression. These and many other symptoms could be signs of declining health and hormones. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms including mood swings, irritability, and infertility, you may want to get your hormone levels checked.

Assessing Your Hormone Levels

Saliva testing is the optimal way to do this because hormones in saliva are free, rather than coated with protein which allow them to float through the blood. It is like a piece of candy. We cannot eat the candy and enjoy its flavor with a wrapper on it. Likewise, the tissue cannot utilize, and the hormone cannot attach to its individual receptor, with a protein coat attached to it. Thus, the free hormone-receptor bond is crucial for action in the body. The deficiency or excess of a particular hormone causes the effect in the body.

At Murray Avenue Apothecary, we carry many kinds of testing kits including Saliva, Blood Spot Combo, and Neurotransmitter testing. Saliva testing is easy to perform in the privacy and convenience of your own home, and is non-invasive and scientifically based. A study by Newman, et al, showed a dose-dependent relationship between salivary Estradiol levels with topical and oral Estradiol supplementation proving that hormone levels in saliva reflect dosages of hormone replacement therapy. It is crucial to address the endocrine triad of adrenals, thyroid and sex steroids together to ensure quality of life and health. In one neat test kit we can test Estradiol, Estrone, Estriol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA-S, and four circadian cortisol levels throughout the day to determine adrenal reserve. The best part is that it also includes the complete thyroid profile FREE T3, FREE T4, TSH, and TPO. This shows a complete picture of a client’s foundation of health and will give us a good starting point for their individualized suggested protocol to share with their doctor/practitioner.

Feel Balanced, Feel Better

Once you have assessed your hormone levels, the road to getting yourself balanced begins…here at Murray Avenue Apothecary! Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist and owner, has been practicing pharmacy for over 40 years, and her specialties are Gentle Hormone Restoration, One-on-One Patient Consultation and Physician/Patient Education. Through a scheduled consultation, Susan will determine a protocol based on your hormone assessment. From there, human identical hormones are made in the state-of-the-art compounding lab at the Apothecary. There, compounding pharmacists obtain their hormone powders from specialty chemical manufacturers who must comply with rules and regulations set by the FDA and United States Pharmacopoeia. Compounding is producing or creating prescriptions by combining two or more ingredients or parts. Pharmacists custom compound prescriptions to meet individual patient needs, which is what Murray Avenue Apothecary is all about!

To schedule a consultation with Susan and learn more about MAA’s Gentle Hormone Restoration Therapy, click here.

As always, “Be aware of your symptoms, become educated, and take a proactive role in your health”. Start your journey to good health today!