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?
Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe
The bioidentical hormones that have been approved by the FDA have been tested for safety. They have passed the FDAs very strict standards and have been shown to be safe for people to use. The compounded hormones have not gone through the FDAs testing. As yet, little research has been done on them. They have not been proven to be safe or unsafe. Many major medical groups do not support using them because not enough is known about their safety and long-term side effects.
Lack Of Evidence For Claims
In 2006, actress Suzanne Somers released the book Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones endorsing the use of bioidentical hormones. The book was criticized by a group of doctors who state that more research is required, and object to protocols mentioned in the bookâbecause of their potential danger and the promoters’ lack of qualifications. Somers’ book may have increased awareness of the existence of BHT for a growing number of menopausal women, but also may have caused confusion by making unsubstantiated claims for BHT and referring to bioidentical hormones as non-drug products with fewer risks. Bioidentical hormones have also been discussed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, with Somers as a guest.
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Why Bioidentical Hormones Could Be Banned In The Near Future
If you are reading this blog, you are most likely interested in natural hormones and other therapies as a way of maintaining your health. Perhaps you have used some or all of the bioidentical hormones I mention above. And maybe you even prefer these proven therapies over prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to treat illnesses.
If so, here is something you need to know: On July 9, 2020, the FDA made an announcementseemingly out of the bluestating that bioidentical hormones are a public health concern and that a ban is likely. This statement could not be more false. All estrogensbioidentical includedthat bind to the alpha estrogen receptor can act as growth promoters in estrogen-sensitive tissue, including breast and uterine tissue. This is why some women prefer herbal approaches instead. However, bioidentical hormones have long been found to be safer and more effective than their pharmaceutical counterparts. In fact, a review of the studies found that compounded bioidentical hormone therapy is associated with lower risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease and is more effective than synthetic or animal-derived hormones. And there are many women who have comfortably stayed on low doses of bioidentical hormones for years with great results.
Finally, the committee recommends increased oversight of traditional pharmacies by the federal government and the State Boards of Pharmacy to ensure quality standards for every cBHT preparation dispensed.
What Are The Risks Of Bioidentical Hormones
It has been shown in research studies that there are risks for women who take hormones, called hormone therapy . It can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and gallbladder disease. In women who are older, and who use hormone therapy for an extended period, the risk of heart disease and breast cancer may also increase. Many doctors who use bioidentical hormones claim they are safer than regular HRT. But there have been no large research studies of bioidentical hormones. It has not been shown that they really reduce the risk of these problems.
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Why Might You Use Them
As women get older, there are many changes that can occur in the body. This could cause a decline of natural hormones as they go through things like menopause around 40-50 years old. When this starts to happen, their mind and body can go through things they havent had to go through before. Such as hot flashes, night sweats, weaker muscles or bones, depression, anxiety, weight gain, and loss of energy. By adding hormones or bioidentical hormone replacements to your routine and lifestyle after you start seeing these symptoms, they can help bring them back to their normal levels. They can also help raise them even higher and in the end help the symptoms fade with time with the help of hormone replacements.
Bioidentical Hormones Vs Congugated Equine Estrogen Progestins And Synthetic Hormones
The major difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic or equine hormones is their chemical structure. Due to this fact, there is a difference in how bioidentical hormones and their synthetic counterparts work in the body.; There are also many different metabolic pathways for each specific type of hormone.; Bioidentical hormones, due to their biological action and metabolic pathways being identical to human hormones offer the best path to hormone replacement therapy.; On the other hand, synthetic hormones are basically drugs that cover up menopausal symptoms without restoring hormonal balance.; However, while reducing menopausal symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, etc., synthetic hormones and horse hormones generate many unpleasant side effects.; Because of those side effects, many women stop these types of hormone replacement therapies on their own.
The side effects of synthetic hormones are:
- Water retention
- Gallbladder stones
- Blood clots
According to the Womens Health Initiative, equine estrogen, especially when combined with synthetic progestins, can significantly increase many health risks including breast cancer, heart attack, strokes, blood clots and death from pulmonary cancer.; Synthetic progestin stiffens arteries and reduces arterial blood flow, while natural, bioidentical progesterone relaxes blood vessels, improves blood flow and circulation.; Bioidentical progesterone increases REM sleep, however synthetic progestins do not.
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Bioidentical Hormones And Bioidentical Hormone Replacement For Infertility
Proper hormonal balance is essential for healthy conception and normal fetus development.; Both male and female hormonal imbalances can result in infertility or a miscarriage.; Bioidentical hormones, by restoring natural hormonal balance to the body, can improve fertility, resulting in a normal healthy pregnancy.
What Are The Side Effects Of Bioidentical Hormones
When the FDA approves a drug, the drug company must report on any side effects they are told about, including prominently noting it in the paperwork when picked up at the pharmacy. Pharmacies that compound hormones do not have to report drug side effects to the FDA, or provide such paperwork. This contributes to the myth that compounded hormones are safer, when in fact doctors dont know all of the possible side effects of these hormones.
Side effects can occur when a dose is first given. The body is not used to the new level of hormones. The dose may need to be changed. Some side effects can be linked to a certain hormone in the mixture. Many side effects get better as the body adjusts to the new level of hormones. Some common side effects include:
- Weight gain
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Who Needs Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is beneficial for all who have hormonal imbalances or insufficiencies.; Hormonal imbalances can occur at any age and can affect both men and women.; Hormonal imbalances can manifest themselves as menopause, perimenopause, PMS, infertility, ovarian cysts, breast cystic lesions, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome , adrenal dysfunction, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, brain fog, and more.
About The Glow Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Program
When it comes to treating symptoms of hormonal imbalance, at GLOW Natural Wellness we only practice the most natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy .; We provide the cleanest bioidentical hormones creams manufactured in the US at a kosher-certified, FDA-approved facility.; Our hormone creams are allergen-free, Paraben Free, Soy Free, BPA Free, and EDTA Free.;; We use only organic wild yam-derived USP hormones meeting the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia for strength, purity, and quality.
Dr. Michelle Sands and her team of skilled clinicians have helped thousands of women around the world find relief from the effects of hormone imbalance brought on by menopause and perimenopause.; And the best part we bring the doctors office to you.
Whether you suffer from fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, bone loss, rapid aging, or any other menopausal symptoms, you can achieve hormone balance through a customized treatment plan that has been designed specifically for YOU.; We start with an intake questionnaire, then test your baseline hormone levels.; Dr. Michelle will analyze your symptoms alongside your lab results and then consult with you about the best plan to restore balance.; Your hormones will ship to your door and every 4 months we will retest and reevaluate your hormone replacement protocol to get you the very best results.
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How To Talk To Your Doctor
I receive letters almost daily from women who have taken the initiative to offer their health care providers information on bioidentical hormones. If you want to use bioidentical hormones as replacement therapy, here are the salient points to know and share with your doctor about bioidentical hormones:
- They have been prescribed by doctors for many years.
- They are readily available through formulary pharmacies.
- They are easily titrated to suit a womans individual needs.
- They are readily absorbed and utilized.
- They are safe and effective.
Many formulary pharmacists work in partnership with physicians to provide individualized hormone-replacement solutions. You may want to call a local formulary pharmacy to consult with a knowledgeable pharmacist to develop your customized plan.
Why Use Bioidentical Hormones
As stated before, as men and women age, the levels of hormones in the body may go down. These include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone which can lead to certain symptoms including but not limited to the following:
- Hot flashes
- Loss of interest in sex
- Loss of energy
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
Bioidentical hormone treatment is used to replace the hormones that have been lost. This increase in hormone levels can improve symptoms.
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What We Learned From The Whi
The findings of the E+P arm of the WHI that were published in 2002 dramatically changed the prescribing practices of physicians in the United States. Before the trial demonstrated adverse cardiovascular disease events and a 26% increased risk of breast cancer in female participants, the number of women for whom E+P was prescribed had been steadily increasing, from 58 million in 1995 to 90 million in 1999. From 1999 to 2002, the numbers stabilized; however, within 3 months of publication of the WHI findings, prescriptions for E+P decreased by 63%. Many women stopped HT and some sought out alternative therapies for treatment of symptoms associated with menopause. In addition to their effect on physician-prescribing patterns, the WHI findings changed the perceptions of patients about the trustworthiness of the advice dispensed by physicians. A small survey of 97 women conducted in 2005 demonstrated that all the participants had heard of the WHI; a substantial number expressed a loss of trust in the information about HT that they received from their physicians.
Natural Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy For Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the endometrial uterine cells are deposited in areas of the body other than the uterus. This misplaced uterine tissue responds to the stimulation of female hormones in the same fashion as the endometrial tissue of the uterus.; Exposure to xenoestrogens from pesticides and herbicides worsens symptoms of endometriosis.; An imbalanced estrogen to progesterone ratio can aggravate symptoms of endometriosis.; Natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and the use of bioidentical progesterone inhibit the growth of the uterine lining and improve symptoms of endometriosis.
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Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Vs Synthetic Hormone Therapy
You might hear about bioidentical hormone therapy as an alternative to synthetic hormone therapy for menopause symptom relief.
Bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your body. Synthetic hormones do not have the same molecular structure as the hormones in your body, but your body converts them to a usable form.
Bioidentical hormones have developed a reputation as being natural, and therefore presumed to be safer than synthetic hormones. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Both bioidentical and synthetic hormones are made in a laboratory the main difference is the raw ingredient.; Bioidentical hormones are made from plant sources; synthetic hormones are made from man-made chemical compounds. There is no evidence to show that bioidentical hormones are any safer or more effective than synthetic hormone therapy.
Bioidentical hormones can be produced by a pharmaceutical company or a compounding pharmacy. When bioidentical hormones are made for you by a compounding pharmacy, these hormones are called compounded hormones.; Compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, unlike the pharmaceutical companies who can also make bioidentical hormone therapies.; Without regulation, there is no way to ensure the safety of compounded hormones. Thus, there have been serious concerns about the consistency of these medications from batch to batch and pharmacy to pharmacy.
Oprah And Bioidentical Hormones: Faq
Oprah Is Talking About Bioidentical Hormones for Menopause; Experts Weigh In
Bioidentical hormones are one form of therapy for menopausal symptoms. Winfrey, who turns 55 this month, writes in February’s edition of O, The Oprah Magazine that she felt “out of kilter” and had “issues” for two years that she suspected were hormonal. Upon a friend’s recommendation, Winfrey went to a doctor who specializes in hormones.
Winfrey writes that the hormone specialist told her that her “hormonal tank was empty” and gave her a prescription for bioidentical estrogen.
“After one day on bioidentical estrogen, I felt the veil lift,” Winfrey writes. “After three days, the sky was bluer, my brain was no longer fuzzy, my memory was sharper. I was literally singing and had a skip in my step.”
Winfrey isn’t recommending bioidentical hormones for every menopausal woman. Instead, she urges women to “take charge of your health” and says it’s time to “start the conversation” about menopause and bioidentical hormones.
Oprah writes that bioidentical hormone therapy is controversial and confusing to many people.
What’s the controversy about? Are bioidentical hormones better or safer than other hormone therapy? WebMD has answers from experts.
Why Bioidentical Hormones Work Better
Our hormones are comprised of a solid steroid base , decorated with arms, legs, and tails pinned on here and there. These attachments are what turn hormones into specialized molecules, allowing them to plug into receptor molecules throughout the body, turning on and off much of the cellular behavior that makes us tick.
When we take hormonal replacement therapy that doesnt fit the original design that our cells have evolved to recognize, the end result simply may not feel or act quite right. Hence, all those side effects, ranging from annoying and uncomfortable to downright dangerous, can occur.
Bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, duplicate the structure of our hormones exactly as they are found in our bodies. This is why they work better in our bodies.
Standard Therapy V Bespoke Treatment
Dr Roked explains why some women taking HRT want a more personalised approach to treatment:
“There are thousands of women out there who are taking standard HRT and aren’t having any problems with it. That’s great, but some women will have side effects and issues and that’s where I can help with a holistic approach at a specialist clinic; I can measure hormone levels and prescribe accordingly. GPs are often pushed for time and not all are specialists in approaches to HRT. Another difference is that it can be difficult to get the hormone testosterone for women within a licensed preparation. Testosterone is really important for women in terms of heart and bone health, and also energy, physical strength and libido.”
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Progesterone Metabolism Progestins And Progesterone Receptors
The term progestogen refers to both progesterone and synthetic compounds that have progestogenic activity similar to that of progesterone. The human ovaries and adrenal glands are responsible for progesterone production in the nonpregnant female. Oral progestogens are used in HT to prevent the development of endometrial hyperplasia or neoplasia as a result of estrogen administration. All progestogens cause a change from proliferative to secretory histology of the endometrium . Progesterone is poorly absorbed and is rapidly metabolized, whereas progestins have high oral bioavailability. The development of the process of micronization allowed for improved absorption of oral progesterone. Micronized progesterone in peanut oil was approved by the FDA in December 1998; before then, micronized oral progesterone was available only in custom compounded products.
Different types of synthetic progestins may have differing affinities for, and effects on, the progesterone receptor, and they may also activate nonprogesterone receptor steroid receptors in different tissues.
Evidence is not yet sufficient to fully support the claim that progesterone is safer than synthetic progestins, but 1 observational study reported a lower risk of breast cancer in patients receiving progesterone than in patients receiving synthetic progestins. Further study is needed. The only FDA-approved oral progesterone is micronized in peanut oil.
The Difference Between Synthetic And Natural
While we are on the topic of bioidentical hormones, we should also spend some time talking about the difference between synthetic hormones and natural hormones.;
Most people automatically make the assumption that any hormone which is “natural” is automatically better than one that is “synthetic”.;
But what you may fail to realize is that you can have a bioidentical hormone that is synthetic and a non-bioidentical hormone that is natural.;
In other words, the term natural or synthetic shouldn’t really play a role in which hormone you are using.;
Instead, whether or not it is bioidentical should always take precedence over the source of that hormone and whether or not it is “natural” or “synthetic”.;
The term natural and synthetic only refers to the SOURCE of that hormone.;
“Synthetic” hormones, also referred to as artificial hormones, are created in a laboratory.;
These are manufactured and designed using chemical processes that result in a target compound.;
This target compound can either be bioidentical or not. The term synthetic doesn’t automatically mean that the hormone created is one way or the other.;
Take Synthroid or Estrace;, as an example. Both of these compounds are synthetic in that they were manufactured in a laboratory, but they are still bioidentical because they exact copies of the hormones that your body produces naturally.;
Take, for instance, the prescription medication Premarin.;