Let’s talk about Hormone Replacement Therapy. Do you know your body’s hormones control most of your essential bodily functions? Also, they serve as an internal communication system between all of your cells!
Hormones coordinate everything from:
- Digestion and growth to your appetite
- Immune function
Recent studies found copious evidence that sex hormones affect how the body experiences pain. You’ve likely experienced some hormonal imbalance in your lifetime. Nearly everyone, men and women, goes through shifts in their hormones at some point in their lives.
All those emotions swirling, moods swinging, feelings of anxiety, and maybe even depression? Puberty is a prime example of what happens when your hormones get out of whack.
However, the best way to treat a hormone imbalance is by rebalancing the hormones. This is where hormone replacement therapies come in.
One such therapy you may have heard of is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). But you may be a little confused about what it is and how’s it different from other hormone replacement therapies.
We’re here to help you get clarity on what BHRT is, how it differs from traditional hormone therapy, and whether it may be just the right treatment for you.
What Is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
We use BHRT to treat men and women when their hormone levels drop or become unbalanced. It’s most frequently used to ease symptoms of:
For example, testosterone supports your body’s natural opioid activity. And if your body is deficient, your pain levels may increase.
Many use BHRT to treat conditions such as:
- Cancer treatment symptoms
- Insulin resistance
- Adrenal and thyroid disorders
What Are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones made by the human body. It’s important to understand that although these bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones that we produce, they are not found in this form in nature.
Hormones, most commonly replicated and used in the treatment, are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Bioidentical hormones come in various treatment forms, including:
How Are They Made?
Drug companies mass-produce bio-identical hormones, while a compounding pharmacy makes some according to a doctor’s orders.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve all bio-identical hormones. Some forms of manufactured bioidentical hormones, including bioidentical estriol (a weak form of estrogen) and progesterone, have been approved by the FDA. However, custom-compounded bio-identical hormones have not.
Although many claim compounded bio-identical hormones may be safer and more effective than synthetic hormones, these claims haven’t been proven in reputable studies.
Traditional Hormones vs. Bio-Identical
Bio-identical hormones differ from those used in traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The urine of pregnant horses and other synthetic hormones make up traditional HRT treatments.
In contrast, bio-identical hormones are chemically identical to those our bodies produce naturally and are made from plant estrogens.
The use of traditional HRT declined when the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial of combined estrogen and progestin for preventing menopause was stopped early. It was stopped because hormone users had a higher risk of:
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
Lastly, many consider hormone therapy the most effective treatment for symptoms, and many women are now choosing BHRT over HRT.
Why Is It Important for Hormones to Be Bioidentical?
A base of cholesterol makes up human hormones. However, they have specialized attachments that allow them to fit perfectly into receptor molecules in your body. When a hormone perfectly nestles into a receptor, it tells that receptor to turn on or off certain behaviors.
This is how hormones act as command stations making us act in specific ways and feel certain things. When you experience drops in hormones and need additional hormone helpers, wouldn’t it make sense for them to be structurally the same as the ones you already have?
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Is a Common Treatment
The compounded type of bioidentical hormones is most commonly used in the U.S. in women in menopause. Also, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reports ~1.4 million women are using BHRT to treat their symptoms.
And according to NAMS, this comprises 40% of all prescriptions for hormone therapy in women who are in menopause. However, the number of men using this treatment has not been studied yet.
Possible Symptoms Making Your Life Unmanageable
- Pain during sex
- Problems sleeping
- Chronic aches and pains
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and loss of interest in sex
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Loss of muscle mass and weight gain
- Foggy thinking
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
If the answer is yes, then it may be time to talk with us. And lastly, we will meet with you and come up with a treatment plan for you.