Like a cook making a stew, Dr. Laura Burlen added a pinch more of the hormone progesterone to Mary Larrow’s prescription this week, after Larrow told her she still had trouble sleeping.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” says Burlen, a pharmacist and physician who owns her own compounding pharmacy. She recently opened Balencia Wellness Spa (”balance,” in Italian) in Luna Pier, Mich. It offers customized hormone consultations, facials, massages and pedicures for women, couples and girls-night-out parties.

“Bioidentical hormones are a way of bringing back our bodies to a hormonal balance,” Burlen says. “The key is we have to monitor it.”

Compounded bioidentical hormones are the latest rage and controversy in the world of menopause. They come from plant-derived sources of estrogen, like yams and soy products, and are called bioidentical because they act the way a woman’s natural hormones do.

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