10 Things to Know About Bioidentical Hormones
Hormones are the chemical messengers of your body. When they decline, due to imbalances or because of conditions like menopause, you experience bothersome symptoms.
Bioidentical hormones reduce these symptoms by balancing hormone levels. Keep reading to find out 10 things to know about bioidentical hormones.
#1 – Conditions Treated by Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
First, BHRT most commonly treats the symptoms of menopause. However, other conditions result in a decrease in hormone production. Some of these conditions are: insulin resistance, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and adrenal disorders.
#2 – Bioidentical Hormones are Man-made
So how are bioidentical hormones created? Estrogens extracted from plants are transformed into bioidentical hormones. This means our body cannot tell the difference between these created hormones and ones made by the body.
#3 – These Hormones Come in Many Forms
From injections to creams, these hormones can be delivered to the body in several forms according to their purpose. In some cases, pellet therapy can be used to deliver the hormone over a period of time. A “pellet” is inserted through an incision in the skin, where it is placed to slowly metabolize over time.
Additionally, bioidentical hormones enter the system through patches, creams, gels, pills, or injections.
The method of delivery will depend on the hormone and the cause for which it is needed.
#4 – Some Bioidentical Hormones are FDA Approved
Hormones produced by drug companies, like estradiol, a bioidentical estrogen, are FDA approved. Other bioidentical hormones, such as those prepared in compounding pharmacies are not FDA approved. While these hormones may not be FDA-approved, that doesn’t mean that they’re unsafe.
The advantage of a compounded hormone is that it’s formulated according to the individual’s needs. Beyond that, hormones can be combined to produce a therapy that treats multiple causes for symptoms.
#5 – Conventional Hormone Therapy is Animal Based
Many women use conventional hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause. Interestingly enough, these hormones are derived from the urine of pregnant horses or other animals.
Unlike bioidentical hormones, these synthetic hormones may cause unwanted side effects.
#6 – BHRT Can Reduce the Symptoms of Menopause
Hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, and night sweats cause significant discomfort to women who are in menopause. Not to mention, memory issues like “brain fog” plague many other women. Luckily, bioidentical hormones may provide much needed relief.
#7 – Bioidentical Hormones Can Improve Your Sex Life
On top of the symptoms impacting your life, menopause or other hormonal imbalances may cause vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, this symptom often contributes to an overall loss of or decrease in libido.
Naturally, these symptoms place strain upon your relationship. Thankfully, using bioidentical hormones can make sex more comfortable and increase your libido.
#8 – BHRT Can Reduce Your Risk of Some Conditions
Promisingly, there has been some evidence that bioidentical hormones may reduce some women’s risk of diabetes, tooth loss, and cataracts. While hormone therapy shouldn’t be used as a preventative measure alone, this aspect cannot be overlooked.
#9 – Bioidentical Hormones Can Improve Quality of Life After Cancer
Some women found relief from symptoms caused by lower estrogen after treatment for breast cancer. These women were treated with BHRT via patch. Notably, most of the women in the study reported better sleep. Thankfully, fewer migraines, less incontinence, and decreased symptoms of menopause were also noted.
In addition, these women experienced more focus and increased libido. The study also noted that there was no increase in recurrence of breast cancer following bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
#10 – Bioidentical Hormones Do Have Risks
When considering hormone replacement therapy, you should know there are risks. That’s why we’ve included here in our 10 things to know about bioidentical hormones. First, both conventional and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy come with risks.
Taking your medical history into account, hormone replacement therapy may increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and breast cancer. These are the serious risks. In fact, some women shouldn’t use hormone replacement therapy at all.
As your body adjusts to BHRT, you may experience less serious, but aggravating, side effects like: acne, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, and increased facial hair. Often, these side effects subside as your body adjusts to the treatment or as your provider calibrates your dosage.
10 Things to Know about Bioidentical Hormones
We hope this post has given you insight into one of the most effective treatments for the symptoms of menopause. Hopefully, the information we’ve given you will enable you to have an informed discussion with your doctor regarding your options.
While there can be risks with any treatment, there are also risks in enduring symptoms that decrease your quality of life. To learn more about your options, call (703) 991-6806 or click here to schedule an appointment.