Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Benefits, Risks, and Side Effects
Read this blog to know about Hormone Replacement Therapy. For more information, please feel free to call us or schedule an appointment online.
Hormones are the body’s regulators. They regulate through their unique ability to communicate with all the cells in your body. People have 50 chemical communication messengers produced by our bodies. These regulation messengers were built to last our lifetime.
However, as we age, we sometimes begin to experience hormone drops and imbalances. Many people seek medical help because they start experiencing symptoms like:
- Cardiovascular issues
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Cognitive decline, and more
Bioidentical hormone replacement is prescribed for those hormone drops and imbalances. Bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT) works for both men and women. Since BHRT applies to men and women, we want to make sure we provide our readers with BHRT information, statistics, and medical uses.
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
Hormones are the chemicals produced by endocrine glands. They deliver their messages throughout your bloodstream to almost every organ in your body. When you are suffering from a hormone imbalance it will impact your system in a significant manner.
You will start experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance. Hormones are important and vital to many body functions we don’t even think about. Some of these body functions are;
Growth and development
If you are suffering from any symptoms affecting any of these body function areas, you may have a hormone imbalance. It is now bioidentical hormone replacement therapy that may be recommended by your health care professional.
It is important to remember hormones not only deliver messages to your organs, but they stand and tell the organ what to do and when to do something. If you are suffering from hormone imbalances you will not feel like yourself until you do something to correct it.
Bioidentical hormones are chemically made identical hormones. They are twins to the ones your body produces. The FDA works diligently to test and approve bioidentical hormone products in a timely manner.
This is because BHRT use keeps growing through numbers of people who seek to use it. From the aging populations to those who suffer from a hormone disorder, BHRT numbers keep going up. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy usually involves using steroid hormones. These include, but are not limited to;
- 17 beta-estradiols
- Estradiol acetate, including Femring
- Estradiol hemihydrate, including Vagifem
- Micronized progesterone USP, including Prometrium and Prochieve
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant sources. Bioidentical hormones allow health care professionals to monitor and give individualized treatments to their patients. This benefit to patients cannot be overstated. BHRT can give people more energy, increase their sex drive, improve their sleep, and help cognitive functions.
There is no doubt BHRT helps hormone imbalance symptoms and body regulation in significant and impactful ways. BHRT is available through two different types of product categories. They are;
- Pharmaceutical/Chemical – These products must be approved by the FDA before they are allowed to be sold or used by patients and consumers. Their quality is regulated.
- Natural or compound bioidentical hormones – These products have varying degrees of hormones. They are compounded with what is needed and how much is needed.
The body cannot tell the externally produced bioidentical hormones from the hormones our body produces internally. Whether you use a natural or chemically made bioidentical hormone they come in various forms. These forms include, but are not limited to;
- Ointments and creams
Testing for BHRT
It is important you see your health care provider and have your blood tested before starting BHRT. You should also have a medical exam by your health care provider before beginning BHRT treatment. Most health care providers will do this through a couple different ways.
They will give you a blood test and have you fill out your medical history.
You will then usually meet with the doctor and have an in-person consultation. This allows you to go over your symptoms and healthcare goals.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy will begin.
You should notice as your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy continues a marked decrease in your symptoms. You should also start to feel more balanced and energized as well.
BHRT for Men
Bioidentical hormones are not just for women. Bioidentical hormones are used for men as well. There are even clinics for men dedicated to various forms of BHRT. Many times bioidentical hormones are given to men to help them with their testosterone levels. Testosterone is the male hormone which develops male sex organs, masculine features and helps their sex drive.
Bioidentical hormones, when given to men, can help raise their sex drive or help with impotency issues. Something men often deal with as they age is hypogonadism. Hypogonadism disorders increase substantially after a man turns 40 years old. This is often related to men having testosterone decreases at a rate of 2% per year after the age of 40.
Male bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is delivered in much the same way as the woman. It is delivered through patches, pellets, gels, pills, and creams. According to the Institute of Medicine, there are approximately 2.3 million+ men who receive testosterone bioidentical hormone therapy.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Most people have read something about bioidentical hormone therapy. They may have already researched it in detail for themselves. Yet many people still have questions about it and want to learn more. That is why we are presenting this information about BHRT. We want you to have BHRT facts, information, and statistics to consider for your own hormone considerations.
In addition to symptoms of aging and hormone imbalances, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy helps ease the symptoms of:
- Cancer treatments
- Insulin rejection
- Fibromyalgia and more
In women, menopause and its symptoms begin before, during, or after menopause. Many women have their biggest need for hormone treatment during these times. That’s because menopause is not for the weak. The symptoms of menopause are many. Almost all menopause symptoms are uncomfortable or painful. Women suffer from;
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Sexual intercourse pain, and more
Women who begin bioidentical hormone therapy treatments find reduced symptoms of the above and help for their pain and discomfort.
Men Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
We already discussed the advantages of bioidentical hormone therapy for men and its help for their sex drive. But BHRT also helps in other ways. When men age, their testosterone levels decrease, and they start losing hair, bone, and muscle.
There is nothing easy about a man getting older because like a woman he must deal with pain and discomfort as well. There are various bioidentical hormone therapy options for men. Many men find the bioidentical hormone replacement treatment they need and their discomfiting symptoms decrease.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
Bioidentical hormone replacements come in natural or synthetic products’ delivery systems.
There are about nine hormone imbalances which are treated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. They are as follows:
- Testosterone – usually a male imbalance which deals with secondary sex characteristics
- Melatonin – this hormone helps us sleep
- Thyroid – affects our metabolism
- Cortisol – impacts our energy levels
- Estrogen – usually a female imbalance which regulates secondary sex characteristics
- Progesterone – regulates menstruation and pregnancy
- Ghrelin – deals with our appetite
- Aldosterone – regulates our salt
- DHEA – another hormone which helps regulate sexual function but can convert to another hormone, if needed
There are so many bioidentical hormone replacement types and reasons we may need them, we would soon run out of pen and paper if were to list them all. But they are all vital for human bodies to perform at their greatest capacity regardless of age.
The best benefit they give the body is their ability to mimic our real and naturally produced hormones. They are as close to real hormones as they can be. Therefore, bioidentical hormones are of benefit when we are suffering from the painful symptoms of hormone imbalances.
There are many misconceptions about bioidentical hormones, and we want to put some of them to rest right now. One of the first misconceptions is there is no science backing up bioidentical hormone therapy. This is patently untrue. BHRT has been studied for many years. Especially targeted studies about the comparisons between synthetic hormone therapy and natural hormone therapy treatments.
These research studies have been an attempt to figure out if synthetic or natural hormone replacement therapy was better for us. Some of these scientific reports are found in esteemed medical and scientific journals. They include The Journal of the American Medical Association and NCBI.
Another misconception is that bioidentical hormones increase the risk of cancer. Actually, most studies prove the opposite. Most studies show BHRT doesn’t increase cancer of any type at all. Furthermore, many studies report BHRT reduces the risk of one form of cancer – breast cancer.
Then there are those who say there is no difference in synthetic bioidentical hormone replacement and natural bioidentical hormone replacement products. We feel that perception is also untrue. There is a difference in how both are made and in side effects for the user who takes them.
Synthetic hormones have engineered compounds in them which are used in any hormone therapy product. They can cause body disruptions and side effects which have a hard impact on the body.
Natural bioidentical hormones are better for the body and reported to have significantly less side effects. They also have a largely beneficial result on the body and treatment areas.
What are Some Other Common Misconceptions About BHRT?
Some other common misconceptions about bioidentical hormones are you should take them for as short of time as possible in the smallest amount feasible. We found some synthetic BHRT usage reported limited negative side effects. They include, but are not limited to:
- Stomach issues, and more
We also found some natural bioidentical hormone therapy medical studies which suggest they should not be taken over an extended timeframe. But the same studies report BHRT benefits outweigh any limited side effects. Some BHRT benefits were a decrease in getting heart disease and decrease rates in getting different types of cancer.
Recommendations When Taking Bioidentical Hormones
There are some hard and fast rules when it comes to taking bioidentical hormones. Sometimes articles will confuse you with their version of bioidentical hormone truths. The best evidence tells us bioidentical hormones can be used as long as you need. Not only are they safe but they are effective.
They provide targeted treatment for your hormone imbalances, and they treat the imbalance in a manner duplicative of your own body. One of the most important method delivery systems for effective bioidentical hormone treatment is through our use of hormone pellets. These hormone pellets mimic your body’s own natural process in hormone production and utilization.
What’s more, we prescribe BHRT with the best of hormone optimization science. We are holistic in our approach of looking at whom the person is and what their health goals are before any treatment begins. Our workups include getting your blood work, health history, and physical problems or issues.
How Do I Start Taking Bioidentical Hormones?
You start at the beginning of the BHRT process. We work with you to get a comprehensive and detailed medical workup on you as a patient. We try to have a cultivated and ongoing relationship with our patients, so we want you to be open. Let us know what bioidentical hormone you think you need and why.
After our testing and consultation are completed, we determine if you are a candidate for bioidentical hormone therapy. Once the decision is made to move forward with you receiving the treatment, we guide you through every step we take.
Bioidentical hormone replacement is a process. There is nothing in the field of bioidentical hormone replacement which should be rushed. We need you to continue to inform us of any issues or concerns you may have as we go along.
You may want to feel re-energized. Or perhaps you want the discomfort and pain you have to go away. You may just want to sleep at night or be intimate with your partner again. We can help you get to those places and more. Reach out to us today. We want you to begin to feel the renewed energy so you can become the person you used to be.