Hormones regulate the majority of your body’s essential systems. They act as a design of internal interaction between cells in the body, much like software in a computer. They integrate everything from digestion and growth to appetite, libido, moods, and immune functions. So, even if your hormone levels are mildly out of harmony, they can significantly affect your health and well-being.
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment option that many people seek out when their hormone levels drop or when their hormones become out of balance. In recent years, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, also known as BHRT, has garnered considerable interest as a potential treatment alternative. It claims to offer a “natural” remedy for hormone-related problems.
However, what precisely is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, what are its risks, and how is it distinct from other hormone replacement therapies?
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones that have been processed in a way that allows them to imitate the hormones that are naturally produced by the glands in your body—hence the name, bio, and identical. Those with symptoms associated with low hormone levels or an imbalance in their hormone levels may find that taking bioidentical hormones is beneficial. This is common for women going through menopause or perimenopause and having symptoms associated with either of these stages.
Endocrine glands are liable for producing hormones, which are chemical substances. They act as couriers, relaying instructions to other parts of your body regarding how and when they should execute their functions. Hormones affect various organs, tissues, and processes throughout the body. Even the slightest imbalances can give rise to symptoms that make it difficult for you to go about your day.
Hormone replacement therapy is one potential course of treatment that medical professionals might suggest for patients experiencing these symptoms. The term “bioidentical hormone therapy” (BHRT) refers to using hormone replacement products derived from plants and then processed.
What Makes Up A BHRT?
The three bioidentical hormones that are utilized the most frequently are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Pharmaceutical companies have already prepared some types of bioidentical hormones for medical prescriptions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved certain kinds of bioidentical hormones in the United States. Other bioidentical hormones can be formulated specifically for a patient by a pharmacist using a prescription from a healthcare provider. These are bioidentical hormones that have been compounded (or mixed).
The FDA has not conducted any tests or approved the compounded forms. When the processing of plant-based products is complete, they are no longer natural, even though they are frequently marketed as “natural” options. These products are altered in a laboratory, so they are no longer natural.
Benefits Of BHRT
BHRT is commonly used as people age, and their hormone levels decline, especially in women undergoing perimenopause or menopause. It’s used to boost hormone levels that have fallen and alleviate moderate to severe menopause symptoms, such as:
- sweating at night
- mood swings
- hot flashes
- Loss of memory
- issues with weight gain and sleep
- a lack of desire for sex or pain during sex
BHRT can help with symptoms while lowering your risk of diabetes, tooth loss, and cataracts. It may improve overall skin thickness, hydration, and elasticity, as well as reduce wrinkles, according to some evidence.
Risks And Side Effects Of BHRT
As great as BHRT sounds, they are not without some caveats that you have to consider. Hormone replacement therapy, in general, has been shown to increase the risk of specific conditions and diseases, including:
- strokes caused by blood clots
- gallbladder problems
- chronic heart diseases
- Breast cancer but more common in women than in men
That’s just HRT, and you can expect more side effects and risks associated with BHRT itself, especially when the body first adapts from the initial dose of hormones. The following are some of the most common BHRT side effects:
- More facial hair in women
- rapid mood swings
- increased weight
- frequent acne breakouts
Many people are unable to use BHRT or any other hormone replacement therapy. Depending on a woman’s health history, the potential consequences and possibilities for side effects could vary. Before starting any hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks.
How Your Provider Determines How Much Hormones You Need
Healthcare providers keep a close eye on people taking bioidentical hormone therapy. The goal is to alleviate symptoms in the shortest period with the smallest dose possible. Healthcare providers keep a close eye on people taking bioidentical hormone therapy. The goal is to alleviate symptoms in the shortest period with the smallest amount possible.
Depending on your healthcare provider, you may have regular blood, urine, or saliva examinations to check your hormone levels. Depending on your changing hormone needs, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose.
Because normal hormone levels fluctuate daily, the FDA advises against using hormone levels to guide bioidentical hormone therapy dosing in women. Salivary hormone levels, in particular, are known to fluctuate and have not been linked to menopausal symptoms. So expect a lot of tests coming your way.
Does It Really Work?
Yes, they are effective for some patients. Contingent on your symptoms and medical history, you’ll get different outcomes. Consult your doctor about bioidentical hormones and which form would be best for you. Your healthcare provider may advise you to avoid bioidentical hormones in favor of a more conventional hormone replacement therapy option in some cases if needed.
BHRT may be an ideal solution for people experiencing symptoms related to low or unbalanced hormone levels. However, BHRT has severe side effects and risks, so you should consult your doctor. Many women should avoid hormone replacement therapy. If you decide to use BHRT, start with the lowest possible dose that will give you the best results in the shortest period.
Before deciding on your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, consider contacting us and scheduling an appointment at our clinic, AIYANA Aesthetics. Our services ensure that you are well informed of your decisions and how you can best use them.