Many women may be hesitant to go forth with traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as its use can bring about many adverse reactions and heighten the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as breast cancer. Therefore, they may research alternative options, bioidentical hormones being one of them.
Continue reading to learn more about bioidentical hormones, including what are bioidentical hormones, what are they used for, what is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and further information.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones - also called "natural" hormones - are those that have similar chemical and molecular structures to hormones produced by the body.
They are not found as such in nature, yet synthesized from plant chemicals or animal derivatives, such as yams, soy, or pregnant mare urine. Then, additional processing in a laboratory is necessary in order for the extracted compounds to be of any use in the female body.
What are Bioidentical Hormones Used For?
Similar to HRT, bioidentical hormones help relieve symptoms of hormonal imbalance during menopause by compensating for what the ovaries are not creating as they slow down hormone production.
Symptoms relieved include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- And more
So, What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is what HRT that involves the use of bioidentical hormones is called.
BHRT can be prescribed in the following types: pills, gels, creams, patches, and injections, among others. Your doctor will decide which is best for you based on hormonal needs and personal preference.
Some prescription forms of bioidentical hormones can be pre-made by drug companies, and there are a number that can be custom-made by pharmacists based on a doctor's prescription. This is known as compounding.
Although they are tailored to your hormonal needs, keep in mind that these compounded forms of BHRT are not regulated by the FDA.
Is BHRT Safer than Traditional HRT?
Although commonly considered safer than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy, there is no research available proving that bioidentical hormones are safer. In fact, they have been found to cause the same side effects as HRT.
Moreover, even though they come from plant or animal sources, remember they still have to be commercially processed to be able to function as needed in the human body.
Click on the following link to learn more about the common bioidentical hormones matched to women's hormones so that you can effectively plan on how to go about alleviating your bothersome menopause symptoms.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Bioidentical Hormones. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15660-bioidentical-hormones
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2006). What are bioidentical hormones? | Bioidentical hormones: Help or hype? Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/what-are-bioidentical-hormones | https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype
- Mayo Clinic. (2018). Bioidentical hormones: Are they safer? Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/expert-answers/bioidentical-hormones/faq-20058460