What Are the Differences between HRT and Bioidentical Hormones?

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Biomedical hormones are plant-based hormones, manufactured in a laboratory

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy are both ways to treat hormone imbalances. Each works by supplementing the level of natural hormones within the body, consequently stabilizing any hormonal imbalance. The fundamental difference lies in their origins. HRT involves introducing external hormones into the body, whereas biomedical hormones are hormones that are manufactured in a laboratory.

There are a number of differences between HRT and bioidentical hormone therapy, as well as advantages and disadvantages of each. Continue reading to find out more about the differences between HRT and biomedical hormones.


The principal difference between HRT and bioidentical hormones is the type of hormone that is introduced. In the case of HRT, external hormones are introduced into the body. In bioidentical hormone therapy, bioidentical hormones are used. These are laboratory created, plant-based or compounded hormones, which are manufactured to the same structure as bodily hormones.


Bioidentical hormones can be effective in combating vaginal dryness

The effects of HRT and bioidentical hormones can differ slightly.

Bioidentical hormones can be effective in combating the symptoms that occur as a result of hormonal imbalance during menopause. They can alleviate symptoms of:

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

As well as fighting the same aforementioned symptoms, HRT can have the following, additional advantages:

  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreased risk of bowel cancer
  • Decrease in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Decreased risk of colorectal cancer

More Information

HRT and bioidentical hormones are the same in terms of the type of hormone replacement therapy that is available. With both external hormones and bioidentical hormones, it is possible to replace estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In most cases, the type of hormone introduced into the body will be determined by the individual's specific needs. Hormone levels can be assessed by a blood or saliva sample, and then the correct balance of estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone can be administered accordingly.

Despite these effects, and the positive impact HRT and bioidentical hormones can have on hormonal imbalance, there have been many risks and side effects associated with both hormonal therapies. There are many different treatments for hormonal imbalance available, including changes that can be made to lifestyle and alternative therapies in menopausal women. For more information on hormone imbalance and how it can be treated, click on the link below.

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