Your hormones control almost everything your body does. These hormones power the communication system between your body and the cells within it. Hormones are responsible for everything from appetite and digestion to growth, immune function, libido, and mood. Even a slight hormonal imbalance can have a drastic impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
One way to combat hormone imbalances is through hormone replacement therapy. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is one such hormone replacement therapy. BHRT has gained a lot of attention for offering a “natural” alternative to replacement therapy.
Let’s take a closer look at bioidentical hormone therapy and if it is right for you.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a form of HRT designed to treat hormone imbalances. The name for the treatment comes from the “bioidentical” hormones used during treatment. These are manmade hormones made from plant estrogens that are chemically identical to those of the human body. BHRT is used to naturally adjust levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in particular.
Bioidentical hormone therapy is also called “natural hormone therapy,” given how these hormones behave just like those produced in the body. This is something of a misnomer. Technically, anything created using natural products from plants or animals could be considered “natural.” Being bioidentical is the critical difference that separates BHRT from HRT.
A bioidentical hormone specialist can offer BHRT treatment in several forms, including oral pills, patches, and gel injections. Which form of BHRT is right for you depends on your circumstances and preferences. Your doctor will prescribe a suitable form for you.
Need a doctor for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy near Los Angeles? There are plenty of Los Angeles bioidentical hormone doctors, like Dr. Rand, the co-founder of LCR Health. Learn more about his practice Regenerative and Sports Medicine.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors can treat a range of health issues related to hormones. BHRT is mostly used for treating the signs and symptoms of menopause, peri-menopause, peri-andropause, and andropause.
Count on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help with a lack of energy, decreased sense of wellbeing and depression, reduced libido, trouble sleeping, dry hair and skin, and changes to your body such as reduced muscle mass. BHRT can also help to protect against certain cancers, including colon cancer.
The main difference between the two treatments is how the hormones are procured and created. BHRT uses synthesized hormones that are identical to human hormones. The hormones for traditional HRT are generally horse estrogens, including forms of equilin under the brand name Premarin (pregnant mare urine) or hormones derived from other animals. These hormones are close to human ones, but only BHRT creates hormones with the same biological makeup as human ones.
The two treatments are also used for different things. BHRT focuses on restoring the hormone levels a person had in their youth. They restore old levels of vitality and sensation without the potential risks of using hormones that are “close” to human ones.
This improved safety is the main difference between the two. The hormones used in BHRT should pose no threat to your natural hormone function. Several studies have looked into the safety of traditional HRT. These studies have raised concerns about the benefits and risks of HRT, leading to more doctors and women looking towards natural alternatives, such as BHRT.
BHRT uses hormones that have the same chemical composition and acts similarly to the hormones naturally produced by the adrenal glands and ovaries. Technically, your body cannot tell the difference between the bioidentical hormones used in BHRT and the hormones produced and used by the ovaries. If you were to take a blood test after using BHRT, the amount of estradiol in your bloodstream would be a combination of the estradiol produced by your ovaries and what you get from BHRT treatments. On the other hand, traditional HRT hormones can be metabolized differently and may not have a direct impact on estrogen levels like this.
Proponents of BHRT suggest that one advantage is that it is easier to monitor estrogen levels. On the other hand, skeptics think it doesn’t matter much as doctors should monitor and treat symptoms and not specific hormone levels.
The Risks Involved
BHRT also causes fewer side effects than traditional HRT. Most hormone replacement therapies tend to be safe and with minimal side effects, but the risks are reduced even further with bioidentical hormones. This is because they are biologically similar to the hormones created and used by the human body.
The risks of using traditional HRT include high blood sugar, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. These side effects are almost always mild, but some patients do run the risk of presenting more severe side effects. The real problem with the side effects of hormone replacement is that they are intertwined with the therapeutic effect. It’s likely that you won’t get any positive benefits if you didn’t get some kind of side effect, suggesting you need a higher dose. A higher dose brings with it a greater risk of side effects.
Talk to your doctor about BHRT and which form of hormone replacement is right for you. While BHRT is considered safer, you will still likely require regular monitoring when taking hormones. Your doctor will assess how your body is responding to the treatments. Please note that the FDA recommends people stick to the lowest possible dose and the lowest possible treatment period for HRT, including bioidentical hormone replacement.
If you are looking for bioidentical doctors in California, then it doesn’t get better than the team at Regenerative and Sports Medicine. Even if you aren’t in the local area, feel free to give us a call to learn more and see if BHRT is the right choice for you.