Bioidentical Hormones vs. HRT

Choosing the best method to fight your menopause symptoms can be tough.

Deciding on the best method to fight your menopause symptoms can be tough. There are so many options, and each has its own benefits and risks. It can seem difficult to know where to turn in the minefield of symptoms, strategies, and side effects. To help you decide which option is best for you, bioidentical hormones and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) go head to head in this ultimate hormone replacement therapy showdown.

The Contestants

Bioidentical hormones

Bioidentical hormones are laboratory-created, plant-based, and compounded hormones. They have an identical molecular structure to the hormones made in the body.

HRT

HRT is a hormonal therapy, consisting of synthetic hormones created from chemicals in a laboratory, and introduced into the body, to replace the body's hormones and boosting specific hormone levels.

Strengths

Bioidentical hormones

By supplementing the hormones produced in the body, bioidentical hormones help level out hormonal imbalances and minimize menopausal symptoms. During menopause, they quickly and effectively combat symptoms such as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of libido
  • Irregular periods

HRT

Through introducing hormones into the body, balancing hormone levels during menopause and postmenopause, HRT can reliably and completely relieve uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and headaches. HRT is also associated with the following advantages:

  • Can reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Can reduce the risk of bowel cancer
  • It has been suggested that it instigates a decrease in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and increases in HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

Weaknesses

Bioidentical hormones

A lot of research remains to be done on the full negative impact of bioidentical hormones. However, the following side effects have been identified in estrogen bioidentical hormones:

Abdominal pain and swelling are side effects caused by estrogen bioidentical hormones.
  • Breast tenderness
  • Chest, leg, arm, or groin pain 
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Weight gain 

It is also thought that bioidentical hormone therapy has a number of associated risks. These include:

  • Risk of increased triglycerides
  • Risk of blood clotting
  • Risk of heart attack
  • Risk of stroke

HRT

Substituting synthetic hormones for natural ones, as in HRT, has many risks and can have a range of side effects. These include:

Headaches are a side effect of HRT.
  • Nausea 
  • Headaches 
  • Heavier periods 
  • Tender breasts
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain 

HRT can also increase the risk of:

  • BDeep vein thrombosis (DVT) 
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Breast cancer
  • Blood clots 
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Strokes

Because of the severity of these possible risks, you must seek medical attention immediately if you experience any strange or untoward symptoms.

And the Winner Is...

When it comes to a winner, it's up to you to decide. It is important to be informed about all the possible options open to you when deciding how to treat your menopausal symptoms. All methods will have their risks and benefits, and there is no one right way of doing it. The most important thing is to decide what is right for your body, and try a couple of methods if necessary. If the potential side effects put you off HRT, there are other treatment options available, including herbal supplements. Clink on the following link to learn how to manage your hormonal imbalance.

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