Bioidentical hormones are a hotly debated and controversial topic. They are often used to treat menopause related symptoms even though some experts suggest that they cause cancer. Many women wonder if there is any real correlation between use of bioidentical hormones and cancer. Continue reading to learn more about this divisive topic.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Originating from plant sources, bioidentical hormones mimic the structure and functions of hormones found naturally in the body. They help women stabilize hormone levels within their bodies.
What Are the Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) are many and include:
- Encouraging bone growth and protecting bones from osteoporosis
- Eliminating or reducing hot flashes
- Decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reducing night sweats and insomnia
- Increasing energy and reducing depression
- Improving memory and concentration
- Enhancing sex drive and libido
- Accelerating fat burn
Bioidentical Hormones and Cancer: Is There a Connection?
Like most medications, hormone therapy has both benefits and risks. For some women, hormone therapy increases their chances of developing certain conditions such as blood clots, heart attack, strokes, or breast cancer. There is no concrete data exposing the risk of using these hormones; however, for women that decide to seek therapy, it's important to use the lowest possible dose for the shortest length of time.
Medical experts do not recommend long-term use of bioidentical hormones to relieve menopausal symptoms and suggest monitoring use with a complete risk assessment. Compounded bioidentical hormones have not been shown to prevent breast cancer; they may actually increase the risk of the disease.
While some health risks are associated with these hormones after a short period of use, other health risks may not present themselves until years later. A major obstacle in understanding the actual safety of their use is that studies remain inconclusive about the risks associated with bioidentical hormones.
If your hormones are imbalanced and the body does not respond well to improvements in nutrition and exercise, you may want to discuss BHRT with your doctor. If you choose to incorporate bioidentical hormones into your menopausal treatment, additional factors such as nutrition, fitness levels, and lifestyle should also be adjusted to increase your overall well-being.