What are bio-identical hormones? Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy refers to the use of certain hormones that are identical to the bodily-produced ones, to supply a lack in the body caused by menopause. It is also known as bio identical hormone therapy. When women approach menopause, estrogen levels slowly drop. Until they reach a certain low point that causes the menstrual cycles to stop. After approximatively a year with no menstrual cycles, the woman has reached her menopause.
Bio identical hormones come into play when the lack of bodily-produced hormones cause health problems, and they need to be replaced by lab manufactured alternatives. The bio-identical hormone is synthesized from chemicals extracted from yams and soy and has the same molecular structure as the one produced by women’s bodies. That’s why, bio identical hormone replacement is known and marketed as a natural hormone therapy.
Bio Identical Hormones vs. Traditional Hormone Therapy
Reaching menopause doesn’t necessarily mean getting a prescription for hormones. Physicians recommend hormone therapy only for women who struggle with symptoms like hot flashes, sleeplessness, or night sweats. Doctors are careful when prescribing hormone therapy, whether bio identical or traditional, because there might be damaging side effects. Scientists are conducting research at the moment searching for conclusive evidence on how hormones affect our bodies short and long term.
Women who need to resort to hormone replacement can choose between two types of hormones available on the market. The bio identical hormone treatment which is considered “natural” and the traditional hormone therapy which is based on chemical compounds. The difference between the two treatments lies in the way they are produced and the ingredients they contain. Bio identical hormones are made from plant chemicals. They are considered natural because they have the identical molecular structure of those naturally produced by the female body. The hormones that drug manufacturers used in traditional hormone therapy are a chemical compound that contains both estrogens and progestin. They are drugs that are administrated orally in various quantities according to each woman’s needs.
Bio identical hormone replacement (BHTR) and the conventional hormone replacement therapy (HBT) have been the subject of debates and controversy in the medical community. The controversy that arose was caused by the fact that the word “natural” defines everything that is extracted from a plant, animal or mineral, regardless of what chemical processes it might be subjected to before being turned into pills or capsules. The skeptics claim that using the word natural in this context leads buyers to believe something else than the actual truth. This influences them to choose this product.
Why Should You Take Bio Identical Hormones?
There is not yet a consensus regarding which of the two hormone-based therapies has the lowest risks. But a lot of women seem to opt for the bioidentical hormones, in search for a more organic, natural approach to their health. There is no doubt, on the other hand, that hormone replacement therapy is the most effective solution available for women.
Hormones are an important regulator of the body’s natural processes. The lack of estrogen and progesterone due to menopause can lead to symptoms. These include vaginal dryness, hot flashes and can even lead to osteoporosis. Bio identical hormone therapy regulates these processes and supplies the much-needed substances that the body no longer secretes. At the same time, there are side effects to this therapy. For this reason, you should have a thorough check-up before starting to take any kind of hormone. That’s because only a professional can determine the correct dosage, type, and way of administration.
There are a lot of ways of administering bioidentical hormones. From gels, bio identical hormone cream to pills and patches or even implanted pellets. The bio identical hormone replacement therapy pellets are a convenient choice for many patients. That’s because one can administer them by insertion every three to six months.
The hormones can be pre-made or customized especially for every patient. Only your doctor can determine which one is best for you. So take the time to do the necessary saliva and blood tests. Then start considering treatment, according to your specific needs.
Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Although its makers claim them to be safer than traditional hormones, bio identical hormone side effects do exist. They usually occur the first time a dose is taken as the body reacts to the new intake of hormones. This sometimes requires a change in dosage or the specific mix of hormones contained in the treatment. Usually, the side effects ameliorate after a period of adapting to the treatment. Commonly reported side effects are:
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness or swelling
- Increase in facial hair
- Blurred vision
- Skin problems
Bio identical hormone replacement therapy weight gain is a common concern among women who are considering this treatment. Keep weight gain under control by adapting your lifestyle to the different, new needs of your mature body. It is crucial to understand that your body is changing, and it is going through a stressful adaptation. So you should be patient, and try to keep your diet in check.
You cannot avoid risks associated with hormone therapy replacement. But doctors who prescribe bio identical hormones state that they are less likely to produce health issues than the traditional HRT. Take note of the risks anyway. They include an increase in the development of blood clots, strokes, heart diseases and even breast cancer.
There is still an on-going debate in the medical community regarding the benefits and risks of any kind of hormone replacing therapy. Researchers are trying to determine with certainty that the benefits of using hormones outweigh the risks. Bio identical hormone replacement therapy doctors are the ones who claim that this naturally produced hormone is safer and more efficient than its traditional counterparts. More and more women seem to believe them.
Bio Identical Hormones for Men
Men who are suffering from low hormone levels should also ask what is bio-identical hormone replacement? Even if not many people are aware, men also face a drop in hormones levels (especially testosterone) after a certain age. That’s why bio identical hormone replacement therapy for men is also available and recommended in some cases. This treatment is used to help with problems caused by low testosterone levels ranging from reduced sex drive to sexual dysfunction and even infertility
Sadly, until now, there hasn’t been a thorough report done on the number of patients who use bio identical hormones for men. As a result of this, researchers can’t tell with precision how beneficial the hormone therapy is for men who are suffering from what is called “andropause” (male menopause). Specialists have not yet agreed on whether or not men experience menopause. However, there are sufferers who find comfort in bio identical hormone replacement.
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Reviews and Costs
Now that you know what is bio identical hormone replacement therapy and what it does to your body, you should know that the reviews are generally mixed. As this treatment should be adapted to every woman, it’s difficult to quantify the results and produce an average. The improvements appear. But they vary from person to person and are greatly influenced by the general health state of every patient.
Endorsed by media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, BHRT quickly stole the spotlight, and more and more women are looking into it.
As a result of the claims regarding safety issues, bio identical hormone replacement therapy cost ranges from $250-$500 per month. This is a lot more expensive than the price of the conventional hormone therapy (around $85 per month at most).
Ask Doctor for Advice
After doing your own research into what is bio identical hormone replacement therapy, you should consult your doctor and ask for advice. He is the only person capable of determining if this treatment is necessary. Keep in mind that doctors do not recommend BHRT for all women. So discuss it with your doctor and see if hormone administration can improve your health and life. If you suffer from heart disease or cancer, for example, you are not eligible for hormone replacement therapy.
Be prepared to try more dosages and types of treatment before you find the one that helps you feel better, reducing your symptoms. Whichever kind of treatment you decide on, remember that menopause is a normal stage in a woman’s life. You should manage to maintain an active, fulfilling lifestyle.
However, you should also treat your body respectfully and understand that it has different needs during menopause. Also, prepare yourself for the mood swings and other psychological changes that might occur and give yourself time to control them.
Menopause should not be a scary, depressing and dark perspective, but a new stage in your life. Menopaus should not affect the quality of your life. Don’t forget that the good news is you can benefit from customized bio identical hormone replacement therapy that will ensure that you stay healthy, active and happy.
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