Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is a great way to help our hormones control many of the basic functions of our bodies. They are an internal communication network between the body’s cells. Some of the roles that hormones coordinate include digestion, mood, appetite, immune function, and libido.
Furthermore, when there is an imbalance in your hormones, it can affect health and entire well-being. When people experience a hormone drop or imbalance, they use hormone replacement therapies.
Examples of the therapies are bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
The popularity of BHRT has gone up in recent years, as it promises a natural remedy to hormonal issues. But what is BHRT, and what makes it different from other therapies for hormone replacement?
The therapy helps to treat people whose hormone levels decline or become unbalanced. Its main purpose is to ease menopause and perimenopause symptoms. It can also help to improve cancer treatment symptoms or treat various conditions, including:
Bio-identical hormones are usually manmade. They come from plant estrogens which have a chemical identity similar to those found in the human body. Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are some of the hormones that undergo replication to help in treatment.
Bio-identical hormones are available in the following forms:
in addition, discuss with the doctor on what form can suit you and your lifestyle. Once you start bio-identical hormone replacement, the doctor may need to track you often to see how your body responds.
But the FDA cautions against using blood and saliva tests to track hormone levels. Such tests only state the levels of hormones at a specific time and may vary during the rest of the day.
As people age, their bodies experience a decline in the levels of various hormones. These hormones are estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. The drop in the level of these hormones can cause certain symptoms.
Some of the common effects of reduced hormones that are common among woman who are in their post menopause phase are the following:
Hormone therapy is the treatment for these conditions as it replaces the hormones. After using hormone therapy, hormone levels rise, and symptoms improve as well.
Recommendations from national societies and medical experts state that people should consider the benefits and risks of both bioidentical and conventional hormones. Your physician can share with you the available options and guide you on what to use depending on what you prefer.
Drug companies make some of the bio-identical hormones. But, pharmacies under the physician’s orders, can make compounded bio-identical hormones. Compounding is the name of this process, and it involves combining ingredients to meet an individual’s needs.
For instance, the United States Foods and Drug Administration (FDA) has endorsed some bio-identical hormones such as progesterone and bio-identical estriol. But, the FDA is yet to approve compounded bio-identical hormones.
Companies manufacture and sell most bio-identical hormones without any controls for quality, safety, and purity. After that, most medical organizations don’t support the marketing and use of unauthorized bio-identical hormones.
Those marketing compounded bio-identical hormones usually claim that they are more effective and safer compared to synthetic hormones. But most doctors, along with the FDA, caution that these claims don’t have a strong research backup. They also caution on the possible danger of these hormones in certain cases.
There is a difference between bio-identical hormones and those used in conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Bio-identical hormones are chemically identical to those our bodies secrete naturally. They come from plant estrogens.
But, the hormones for traditional HRT come from pregnant horses’ urine and other synthetic hormones. Those who support bio-identical hormones claim that the products are safe. This is because the composition of these hormones is identical to the natural hormones that the body produces.
But most experts believe that HRT and BHRT have similar risks. The risk may even be higher in compounded bio-identical hormones. For instance, there is still no proper evidence to prove that BHRT has more efficacy than HRT.
BHRT is useful among women who age and experience a drop in hormone levels. Similarly, it helps to increase the lower levels of hormones. Bio-identical hormone replacement improves both severe and moderate menopause symptoms such as:
Besides, hormone replacement can reduce the risk of tooth loss, diabetes, and cataracts. Studies also show that it can improve the skin’s hydration, thickness, and elasticity. It can reduce wrinkles, as well.
However, for cancer patients who have undergone treatment that impacts the level of estrogen, BHRT can improve their quality of life and general well-being.In other words, One study showed that BHRT provided relief to people with cancer treatment symptoms like low libido, migraines, insomnia, and incontinence. Furthermore, the study established that the breast cancer recurrence rate was not higher than average.
The FDA approved the preparations of progesterone and bio-identical estradiol. Therefore, it’s yet to approve compounded bio-identical hormones. Research shows that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk for the following conditions:
BHRT may have certain side effects, especially in the beginning, as the body adjusts to the new hormones. BHRT’s common side effects are:
Similarly, most people can’t go for BHRT or other forms of hormone replacement. The hormones’ risks and possible side effects may vary in women based on their health history. Therefore, be sure to discuss the benefits and downsides with the doctor before opting for any hormone replacement therapy.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may help people with unbalanced or low hormone levels. However, bio-identical hormone therapy, has some risks and side effects that you should talk through with the doctor. If you opt for BHRT, use the lowest amount that can prove effective within the shortest time.