Faced with harsh menopause symptoms, women will look anywhere for relief. Recently, many women have been turning to bioidentical hormones, lab-produced compounds that are an exact chemical match to hormones produced in the body. But before you jump on the bioidentical bandwagon to medicate your menopause symptoms, consider all of your options. Often, a solution to your symptoms can be found where you least expect it. Keep reading to learn more about alternatives to bioidentical hormones to correct the symptoms of menopause.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones have been around since the 1930's, when physicians began prescribing medications derived from the urine of pregnant women. As off-putting as that may sound, the fundamental idea was that the hormones used were identical to those produced in the body, making the treatment more effective than others available at the time.
Today, bioidentical hormones are typically derived from those found naturally in plants like soybeans. They are engineered in a laboratory to be identical to human hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This can offset the primary cause of menopausal symptoms: hormonal imbalance.
What Are the Side Effects?
Bioidentical hormones as most prescribed treatments come with their own side effects, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
What's more, some studies have linked bioidentical hormone treatment with the increased risk of breast cancer. Further studies are needed to establish this connection, however.
What Are the Alternatives?
If you decide that these risks outweigh the benefits, you are not alone. Fortunately, you have many other options. Often, menopausal symptoms can be curbed through simple lifestyle changes. Regular exercise coupled with a healthy diet will help boost your body's natural hormone production, relieving many of your symptoms. Also, addressing stress at home or at work will help you find the balance needed for good health. Try making time for yourself: take a walk, read a book, or take a much needed vacation.
If you've tried changing your lifestyle, but your symptoms still keep you up at night, some herbal supplements may provide relief. Estrogenic herbs (herbs containing estrogen-mimicking phytoestrogens) can help, though they come with some of the same side effects of bioidentical hormones. Hormone-regulating herbal supplements, however, can stimulate your natural hormonal production without side effects.
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist or get worse despite your efforts. Click on the link below to learn more about bioidentical hormones.