Are Compounded Bioidentical Hormones Bad
There are risks to taking the compounded hormones. But in some cases, they might be the better choice. They might be needed to get the right source , dose or mix of hormones for a patient. Also, a patient might have a bad reaction to the pre-made form. Your doctor will know which type is better for you.
Conventional Vs Bioidentical Hormones
There is a difference between bioidentical hormones and those used in conventional hormone replacement therapy . Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to those our bodies secrete naturally. They come from plant estrogens.
But, the hormones for traditional HRT come from pregnant horses urine and other synthetic hormones. Those who support bioidentical hormones claim that the products are safe. This is because the composition of these hormones is identical to the natural hormones that the body produces.
But most experts believe that HRT and BHRT have similar risks. The risk may even be higher in compounded bioidentical hormones. There is still no proper evidence to prove that BHRT has more efficacy than HRT.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones are produced by the endocrine system and help to keep your mind regulated. Some hormones also play a role in regulating your body. There are several ways hormonal imbalances can occur. Occasionally, hormonal imbalance occurs because your endocrine system is producing too much of one hormone and not enough of other hormones.
Another way hormonal imbalance can occur is a deficiency in the production of one hormone. Regardless of why you are experiencing hormonal imbalance, changes in your mood, behavior, and overall outlook on life can occur. Often, people experiencing imbalanced hormone levels report changes in their hunger levels, sex drive, and ability to get restful, restorative sleep.
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Evidence Of Risks And Benefits
Many women reconsidered taking HRT due to recent studies on the long-term use of HRT. The;Heart and Estrogen-Progestin Replacement Study; found in the first year of HRT there was a 50% increase in heart attack and stroke. But, after two years of HRT, they had a decrease in these diseases.
The;Womens Health Initiative; performed a larger study. Its the largest study that examined the effects and risks of HRT in menopausal women.
In 2002, the WHI stopped giving women both estrogen and progestin therapy. Data from this group found an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and blood clots in the lungs and legs.
In 2004, they ended the group taking only estrogen because results indicated an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.
Due to these studies, they created new guidelines for prescribing HRT. These include:
- Stopping the use of HRT as a prevention of heart attack or stroke.
- Weigh the pros and cons of using HRT for prevention of osteoporosis
- Women with pre-existing heart disease should think about other options.
- Use in only the short-term for menopausal symptoms.
- Discourage long-term use
Can Bioidentical Hrt Be Obtained Through A General Physician
Usually, the answer to this question is no. General physicians do not have the time to invest in becoming experts at bioidentical HRT. They are trained to provide traditional HRT and only in instances where the benefits outweigh the risks. Our specialists have undergone extensive training to fully understand bioidentical hormones and how to use them to treat a variety of symptoms. We are the best source for this treatment due to our specialized knowledge of bioidentical medicine.
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Disease Prevention For Women
Estrogen is responsible for so many functions within the female body that its impossible to list them all here. What we can say, however, is that normalizing this hormone with therapy can lead to:
- Stronger blood flow throughout the body
- Potential drop in blood sugar levels
- Possible decrease in Alzheimers incidences
- 37% less risk of developing colorectal cancer
- 37% fewer hip fractures caused by osteoporosis
How Long You Can Take Hrt
Experts recommend that menopausal women only take HRT if their symptoms are seriously troublesome. Most women in this group can take HRT for up to five years.
Other women who may have to take HRT are those who undergo surgical removal of their ovaries or have treatment that causes their ovaries to stop producing estrogen. Both situations can throw a woman into sudden menopause, no matter how young she is. And because ovarian hormones stop circulating so suddenly, the menopausal effects can be severe. Younger women who take HRT because of sudden usually take it longer than women who take HRT after natural menopause. Most women in this group can take HRT until they would naturally expect to enter menopause, which is around 52 years of age.
While HRT can be very effective, it does come at a risk for some serious side effects and health outcomes. Doses should be as low as possible to help ease the symptoms, and then taken for the shortest amount of time. For some women, this may be for a few months, for others, years.
If you are taking HRT for serious menopause symptoms, you may be reluctant to stop taking HRT, for fear the symptoms will return. This concern is valid. For some women, the symptoms do return, but you may have some control over what happens by how you stop HRT.
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Low Or Lost Sex Drive
Both men and women can experience a sudden loss of interest in sex due to a shift in hormone levels. The problem usually lies with testosterone, which drives libido and the desire for sex. However, if a patient is suffering from abnormally low testosterone, they may lose their drive along with it.
Women can also experience this situation when they have a condition called estrogen dominance. In estrogen dominance, the overabundance of estrogen drowns out the effectiveness of the testosterone, and this is a frequent occurrence in the years surrounding menopause. If lost libido is the problem, then BHRT and testosterone therapy can often help.
Can You Stay On Hrt Forever
Starting HRT at 60
However, symptoms can last up to 12 years after you reach menopause. Its also worth keeping in mind that not everyone opts for hormone replacement therapy and it may not be suitable for some, including those with a history of breast and ovarian cancer in the family.
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Guideline Recommendations For Hrt After Menopause
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the North American Menopause Society , and the Endocrine Society publish HRT guidelines based on scientific evidence.
Women who may be good candidates for HRT, starting with the lowest dose appropriate for each individual, include those who:
Are younger than 60 years old
Have not been menopausal for more than 10 years
Have symptoms severe enough to have an impact on their life, such as painful sex from dry vagina, during hot flashes, or poor sleep due to nighttime
Have no history of heart disease
Have no history of blood clots
Have no history of breast
Women who have a risk of and/or blood clots may have another option though. Rather than the traditional oral HRT in pill form, they may be candidates for a patch. Studies have shown patches dont have as strong an effect on blood pressure or cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
For women experiencing or those related to urination, its possible neither pills nor patches are necessary. Many women do well with vaginal estrogen in the form of creams, suppositories and rings.
The First 3 Months: Potential Side Effects
Every person is unique, so your experience with hormone replacement therapy may be different from someone elses. For instance, some individuals wont experience any side effects from BHRT. Others, on the other hand, may have unexpected side effects the first few weeks.
When you first start hormone replacement therapy, you might experience a few side effects as your body adjusts to the hormone fluctuations. Side effects may vary by person, dose, method, and type of hormone taken. Your age also plays a role in the side effects you may experience.;
However, here are some common side effects of oestrogen and/or progestogen:
Higher risks may result, especially depending on the balance of your hormones. Do your research and talk to your doctor about the best preventative methods.;
Its always recommended that you talk with your doctor about your risk factors and personal circumstances involved and keep seeing them every 3-6 months during treatment.;
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Hormones Specific To Women
It might not surprise you that menopause is the number one reason women seek treatment. The special hormones necessary for regulating reproductive functions in women are progesterone and estrogen. These hormones begin to decline as a woman nears menopause and the ovaries activity slows down. This is what causes the infamously associated hot flashes, fatigue, and insomnia.
The Pros And Cons Of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormones control many of the basic functions of our bodies. They are an internal communication network between the bodys cells. Some of the roles that hormones coordinate include digestion, mood, appetite, immune function, and libido.
Thus, when there is an imbalance in your hormones, it can affect health and entire well-being. When people experience a hormone drop or imbalance, they use hormone replacement therapies. Examples of the therapies are bioidentical hormone replacement therapy .
The popularity of BHRT;has gone up in recent years, as it promises a natural remedy to hormonal issues. But what is BHRT, and what makes it different from other therapies for hormone replacement?
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Side Effects And Risks Of Bhrt
While the FDA has approved some preparations of bioidentical estradiol and progesterone, it hasnt approved any compounded bioidentical hormones. There are claims that bioidentical hormones are safer and more effective than traditional HRT because theyre identical in structure to those produced in the body. But these claims have not been confirmed by large-scale, reputable studies. The FDA urges caution when using compounded products.
Research has shown that hormone replacement therapy in general may increase the risk for certain conditions and diseases including:
Talk to your doctor about which form may be best for you and your lifestyle. Youll likely need to be monitored regularly once you begin BHRT to evaluate your bodys response. However, the FDA cautions against monitoring hormone levels via blood and saliva tests. These only tell you your hormone levels at a moment in time and can vary widely throughout the day.
The FDA recommends that if you do choose any form of hormone therapy that you use the lowest dose that produces results. The FDA also says you should use it for the shortest length of time possible.
Stronger Skin Hair And Bones
When the bodys hormones are brought into balance, it creates better conditions for your skin, hair, and bones as well. Balanced hormones restore hydration in the skin, normalize bone building and resorption, and stimulate follicles to grow new hair. The body begins to produce more collagen and elastin, which gives you an overall healthier, more youthful appearance.
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What Is Adrenal Fatigue
Fatigue, foggy mind, poor sleep, and weight gain are common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal gland produces Cortisol, which controls our response to stress. During times of high stress, whether short or long-term, your ability to produce the proper levels of Cortisol can be affected. Sound nutrition, exercise, and short-term Cortisol supplementation can reverse this condition.
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How Long Can You Take Bioidentical Hormones
If you are an adult who is approaching middle-age, you probably have noticed some changes in your mind and body. These changes are due to declining hormones and are normal. However, many of our patients at Body Bar MD are interested in learning how to reverse these changes. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy with BioTE® is a treatment that Dr. Christy Watson offers her adult patients over 40 who need to have their hormone levels balanced.
Men and women have different symptoms for declining hormone levels. Men often experience weight gain, fatigue, low libido or erectile dysfunction, and hair loss. Women likely experience fatigue, weight gain, a low libido, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. Dr. Christy helps her patients figure out if they need hormone replacement, including bioidentical hormone pellets. Dietary changes, supplements, and BHRT all help bring your hormone imbalance back into balance. At Body Bar MD, we use BHRT at our Terre Haute and Carmel, IN offices, as it is a natural, physiological way to rebalance hormones.
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Insomnia Or Lack Of Sleep
On the other hand, it can be a challenge when a patient has too little progesterone, too. This will cause the patient not to feel tired, even when they have a significant need for sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can cause other hormone production to become disrupted too, leading to a vicious cycle. In both this case and in the case of chronic fatigue, BHRT can make a real difference in peoples day-to-day lives.
Women Suffering From Perimenopause
Different women will suffer from perimenopause at different ages, but the condition always precedes menopause. Among the most common symptoms associated with this condition are insomnia, fertility problems, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, pain during sex and vaginal dryness. This therapy can ease the symptoms of perimenopause and help women transition more smoothly into menopause.
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What Age Is Best To Start Treatment
There is no set age that is a requirement to start bioidentical HRT, but you should have your hormones checked once you turn 40 if you have not already done so. If you start experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance before you turn 40, you should take an active approach toward your help and seek a hormone test to determine if an imbalance is behind your symptoms. This way, you can start treatment and get to feeling better immediately.
If you have not started to feel the effects of aging even after you turn 40, we recommend that you get a test anyway. This is so we have a record of what your levels are when youre feeling good to compare with your declining levels later on. Additionally, we will be able to determine if your bioidentical HRT is working because we can monitor your levels and compare them with your baseline levels.
Does That Mean Compounded Bioidentical Hormones Are Safer
“There is no reason to think that these bioidentical compounded would have a different safety profile than the FDA-approved ones,” Uhl says. She points out that some compounded pharmacies have gotten warning letters from the FDA for false and misleading claims about safety and other benefits.
Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, agrees.
Schiff led an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology committee that reviewed the scientific evidence on compounded bioidentical hormone therapy in 2005. That committee concluded that there wasn’t scientific evidence to support claims of increased efficacy or safety for compounded estrogen or progesterone regimens. The North American Menopause Society and the Endocrine Society have issued similar statements.
“It may be safer, but that study hasn’t been done yet,” Schiff tells WebMD. He says he would like to see a large, lengthy, rigorously designed study on the topic.
“I’m not inherently negative about it,” Schiff says. “I hope they’d be good … and if it turns out to be safer, fabulous. I would like, as a physician, to prescribe the safest hormones to my patients who want to be treated.”
Erika Schwartz, MD, a New York doctor who prescribes FDA-approved biodentical hormones and compounded bioidentical hormones, says there have been studies that support the safety of bioidentical hormones, compared to other hormone therapy.
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How Long Will I Need To Stay On The Treatment
This depends on why you are being treated. Some women who take BHRT for the menopause decide to stay on treatment for life this is totally safe. As the decades pass the amount of hormones needed goes down, so a woman needs the most during her 50s and much less by her 70s. Other women decide to stop after a few years.
Signs Of Hormone Imbalance During Menopause
Hormonal imbalance, one of the classic signs of menopause, is a natural side effect of the bodys change. However, with BHRT, women can help re-balance their hormone levels, taking back control and reducing the impact this time often has on their lives. Menopause is divided into 4 main stages, and each stage often includes a different version of hormonal imbalance.
This first stage, which makes up a good part of a womans life, is the time when she experiences regular reproductive functions. For the majority of women, this time includes a typical menstrual cycle and the ability to become pregnant. Premenopause lasts from a womans first menstrual cycle to her last menstrual cycleoften 30 years or more. During a womans teens and early 20s, hormone levels are at their highest, and she may experience the classic mood swings associated with this time. By the mid-20s to early 30s, the hormone levels plateau and may even begin to decrease.
This is the final stage of a womans reproductive years when the bodys levels of estrogen and progesterone drop sharply and the ovaries stop producing eggs. Monthly menstrual cycles end and the body can no longer become pregnant naturally. Women will often experience continued symptoms of menopause during this time. However, they typically decrease over the next year.
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