Depression, fatigue, hot flashes, headaches, mood swings, and many more conditions are symptoms of menopause and changes in hormone levels. While for some women these symptoms do not cause much pain, for other women they can be life changing and have a great impact in their daily lives.
Because of this, women often look for ways to relieve their symptoms and many have turned towards bioidentical hormones, which work to make up dwindling hormone levels in the body with external hormones. Continue reading for more information on bioidentical hormones.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are created in a laboratory from plant extracts, which are synthesized to have the same molecular structure as the hormones in your body. These drugs became popular in light of the symptoms and health risks linked to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but still these bioidentical hormones have not been approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because the compounds cannot be standardized.
Compounded bioidentical hormones are inherently different from synthetic hormones, they are designed to match the woman's molecular structure to make the introduction of hormones easier. However, there is no evidence of their effectiveness or of the drugs being safer than HRT.
Side Effects of Bioidentical Hormones
Like HRT, bioidentical hormones also have side effects, including:
- Weight gain around the buttocks, thighs, midriff, and abdomen
- Facial hair growth
- Hair loss
Many of these side effects are same as with HRT, but because bioidentical hormones are tailored individually for each person, the FDA has no way of guaranteeing the safety of each specific compound.
Also, bioidentical hormones may have similar health risks to HRT, such as:
- Increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers
- Cardiovascular events like heart attacks
- Breast tenderness and increased breast density
- Reduced insulin sensitivity
- Endometrial bleeding
- Gallbladder disease
- Blood clots and strokes
- Brain atrophy
Keep reading below for information on bioidentical hormones and treatments.
Alternatives to Bioidentical Hormones
As mentioned above, the FDA has not approved bioidentical hormones. Because HRT comes with many side effects and health risks, many women are looking for other options, such as bioidentical hormones. However, it has not yet been proven if they have fewer side effects or carry fewer long term health risks than traditional HRT.
When dealing with hormones, it is always important to remember that exercise and mental well-being are critically important. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising, and relieving stress are important to achieve balance between the body and mind, and will put you in better position to deal with menopause symptoms.
Also, there are some herbal supplements that have been known to help women deal with hormone changes. These are often free from side effects and can be taken alongside prescription medications. Click on the link for more information on the side effects of bioidentical hormones.