What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
If you are a woman going through perimenopause or menopause, then you may have heard about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), an alternative to traditional synthetic hormones. BHRT has many patient benefits; however, the approach is also commonly misunderstood due to its representation in patient literature and the media.
The healthcare providers at Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates have created this easy-to-understand FAQ as a resource for patients interested in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Before taking any new drugs, always consult with your healthcare provider. The information presented below is not intended to replace a professional health consultation.
How are bioidentical hormones different from other hormonal drugs?
Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources (such as yams and soy). These chemicals have a molecular structure that is identical to the hormones your body produces; some proponents say that this makes it easier for your body to recognize and process the hormones. While bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources, they still have to be processed like synthetic hormones.
What are the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
Women undergoing BHRT may experience the following potential benefits:
- No more night sweats
- No more hot flashes
- Better energy levels
- Better mood (less anxiety, depression, and irritability)
- Improved sex drive
- No vaginal dryness or thinning
- Improved fat loss and better muscle tone
- Fewer skin wrinkles
- Lesser risk of heart disease
- Better bone health (protection from osteoporosis)
Is BHRT different from synthetic hormones?
Yes, there are some differences. Here are just a few examples of how bioidentical hormones differ from synthetic hormones:
- BHRT is taken in a customizable dosage. A simple saliva test allows your provider to determine the appropriate dose of bioidentical hormone for you. Synthetic hormones are not easily customizable.
- Bioidentical hormones are identical in chemical and molecular structure to natural hormones.
- Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant sources; synthetic hormones are not. Beware of “natural” hormones, such as Premarin (derived from pregnant horses’ urine), which may be from a natural source, but not “bioidentical” on the chemical and molecular level.
Is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy right for me?
Only a health care provider can answer this question. To schedule an appointment with Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates, call 480-632-2004.