What Are the Risks Associated with Bioidentical Hormones?

By Katie S. | Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Bioidentical hormones are, usually from yams

One of the increasingly popular ways of combating menopausal symptoms is through bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are plant-based hormones, usually from soybean plants or yams, extracted in a laboratory. They mimic the body's own hormones when introduced into the body, and regulate the hormone imbalance experienced during menopause. Bioidentical hormones can be a particularly effective way of reducing the symptoms of menopause, as they tackle the hormonal cause.

However, there are numerous risks that have been associated with bioidentical hormones. Read on to learn more about the potential side effects of bioidentical hormone replacement therapies.

Risks Associated with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Studies are currently being undertaken to discern the risks of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. While research to date has remained inconclusive, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been associated with risks of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blood clotting
  • Increased triglycerides

Risks Associated with Bioidentical Estrogen

Women taking bioidentical estrogen run the risk of experiencing the symptoms of estrogen dominance, which occurs when there is a disproportionately large quantity of estrogen in the body. These effects are:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Breast heaviness
  • Chest, leg, arm, or groin pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Weight gain

Risks Associated with Bioidentical Progesterone

The risks associated with bioidentical progesterone are the same as those that a woman with severe progesterone dominance would typically encounter. These can be severe, and include:

  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Blurred vision/loss of vision 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Vaginal bleeding 
  • Blood clots 
  • Chest pain 
  • Stroke 

Risks Associated with Bioidentical Testosterone

It is very likely that a woman taking bioidentical testosterone will experience side effects. These will resemble the result of a testosterone imbalance, and can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. They include:

Chest tightness is one of the side effects associated with bioidentical testosterone
  • Hives/rashes
  • Itching
  • Chest tightness
  • Swelling
  • Breast pain
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Poor urinary health

While bioidentical hormones can be effective in treating menopausal symptoms, they can have uncomfortable, serious and in some cases severe risks and side effects. If in doubt about biomedical hormones, their effects and their risks, consult your doctor.

Bioidentical hormones can also be compounded, or combined, to create a therapy targeted to your specific hormone replacement needs. However, this type of therapy is also risky, as this is an unregulated practice, and can even lead to further hormonal imbalances.

It is important to be aware of the benefits and risks of any treatments you might be considering for your menopausal symptoms. Click on the following link for more information on other alternatives to bioidentical hormones.