I hope you don't mind, I've split your post off of a thread in the No-Hormone Desert Oasis forum, since you're asking about HRT's, and moved it over here to the Hormone Jungle forum where more members with HRT experience can see it.
Compounded HRT's are customized HRT's made up by a compounding pharmacist to the exact specifications prescribed for you by your DR. It's kind of the 'old fashioned apothecary' concept... mixing things to order from basic ingredients rather than dispensing name brand pills or creams from larger jars into smaller ones.
Examples of compounded HRT's include: bi-est (a mixture of estradiol and estriol) capsules or creams, tri-est (estradiol, estriol and estrone) capsules or creams, progesterone capsules or creams, and testosterone creams and gels; and the same hormones in the form of troches (lozenges) or sublingual drops. Compounded HRT's are generally bio-identical, which means that they're the same hormones your ovaries used to make (though these are manufactured from plant sources in a laboratory).
Other examples of bio-identical HRT's include the patches (Vivelle dot, Climara, Alora, Estraderm), Estrace (estradiol) pills and cream, Prometrium (progesterone) capsules, Vagifem vaginal estradiol tablets, Estring vaginal estradiol ring and some over the counter natural progesterone creams.
Then there are the non-bio-identical HRT's, such as Premarin, Estratest, Cenestin, Menest, Combipatch and many others.
There are a great many choices! What does your DR suggest you start with? If osteopenia is an issue, then some form of estrogen would be advisable unless there is a reason you cannot use estrogen (such as endometriosis or certain types of cancer). A great first choice, imho, is the Vivelle dot patch. It's easy, covered by most insurance plans, and comes in several dosages. An average dose would be .05mg/day (it also comes in .025, .0375, .075 and 0.1mg/day sizes). I think it's a wonderful place to start and see where you need to go from there as far as increasing or decreasing estrogen and adding in any progesterone or testosterone.
Have you checked out our Hormone Jungle Resources directory yet? To get there, just click on Resources in the banner at the top of any page on this site and then scroll down and click on the Hormone Jungle section.
Welcome to the Jungle! I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.