According to Elizabeth Brigham, Harvard Medical School professor, she defines bioidentical hormones as “medications that contain hormones that are an exact chemical match to those made naturally by humans.” Why are they necessary? As you age, your body’s ability to manufacture and regulate these hormones on its own declines. Hormones are the chemical messengers that our body needs to tell our cells what to do. Your body employs many different kinds of hormones, each charged with a different responsibility. Sleep, appetite control, bone growth, flight or fight–all of these are linked to roles your hormones play. The majority of the these hormones work for life, except for three that are most involved in aging: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These three hormones play important roles, but become in much less supply as you get older. Bioidentical hormone treatments replenish the supply of these hormones that are lacking in your body.
Recognizing the signs that you may be struggling from a hormonal imbalance can help you seek the treatment you need before things get out of hand. Hormones are chemical “messengers” that impact the way your cells and organs function. Your hormone levels change at various times of your life (puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause) as a normal part of bodily system functioning. Some medications and health issues impact your hormone levels as well. What is normal for one person may not be “normal for another.”
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Treatment (BHRT) has been a form of treatment for anti-aging for over twenty years. Some of the benefits that our female & male patients can experience from this treatment include:
- reduced osteoporosis and restoration of bone strength
- reduced hot flashes and vaginal dryness
- better maintenance of muscle mass and strength
- improved cholesterol levels
- reduced risk of endometrial and breast cancer
- reduced risk of depression
- improved sleep
- better mood, concentration and memory
- improved libido
- reduce risk of prostate cancer
- fewer side effects than with synthetic hormones
Bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure as hormones manufactured in your body. The term “bioidentical” indicates that the chemical structure of the replacement hormone is identical to that of the hormone naturally found in the human body. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) incorporated hormones that are extremely close in molecular structure to our own hormones. Bio-identical hormones are NOT the controversial synthetic hormones that have been linked to certain cancers. Although bioidentical hormones are not natural, they most closely resemble your natural hormones and are able to replicate the actions of your natural hormones.
Dr. Deborah Moskowitz, N.D. conducted a comprehensive review of the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormones for the management of menopause and related health risks. The studies reviewed suggested bioidentical progesterone does not have a negative effect on blood lipids or vasculature as do many synthetic progestins, and may carry less risk with respect to breast cancer incidence. Studies of both bioidentical estrogens and progesterone suggested a reduced risk of blood clots compared to non-bioidentical preparations. Bioidentical hormone preparations have demonstrated effectiveness in addressing menopausal symptoms.
Dr. Kristy Vigesaa, Pharm.D. conducted a six week survey study of women currently taking compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to determine if compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy relieves symptoms of menopause and is well tolerated. The secondary purpose of this study was to compare the symptom relief and tolerability of compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to previously used commercially available products. Overall, 57.7% of the women surveyed reported fewer side effects and 71.8% of the women had better relief of menopausal symptoms when using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.While this study does not prove that compounded bioidentical hormones are safer than commercially available products, it does show that compounded bioidentical hormones are well received, relieve the symptoms of menopause and are well tolerated. Future studies should be conducted prospectively to identify the exact benefits and side effects of BHRT, so that BHRT can be appropriately and effectively utilized in postmenopausal women.
Call us today to inquire about bioidentical hormones replacement therapy at:
Patients: Compounded BHRT medications are available by prescription only. Please discuss it with your physician, or contact us with your physician’s name and contact information, and we can supply him or her with additional information.
Providers: Contact us today to speak with our pharmacists to discuss other combinations that may be available to improve your patient’s symptoms and increase medication compliance.