It’s common for women to experience hot flashes, memory loss, and difficulty sleeping during menopause. These symptoms can significantly impact many women’s quality of life. If this affects you and you search for options to help alleviate your symptoms, you’ve likely come across bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormones have been touted as a safer alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapies. They’ve also been marketed as a way to slow down the signs of aging. While they sound very promising, bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, don’t come cheap. So before you weigh your options, you might want to consider reading this article first.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
It is possible to synthesize synthetic hormones that are bioidentical to those produced by your body’s glands. Taking bioidentical hormones can alleviate the symptoms of low or unbalanced hormones in those experiencing these symptoms. In many cases, this is the case for women who are going through perimenopause or menopause.
Your endocrine glands produce chemicals known as hormones. They act as lookouts, informing other organs and systems of your body about what needs to be done and when. Hormones influence many processes and mechanisms in your body. Even the slightest imbalance can disrupt your day. Medical professionals may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to treat these signs and symptoms.
Compounded Bioidentical Hormones
Compound hormones are commonly referred to as “bioidentical” when discussing bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) uses hormones derived from plants that have undergone several processing steps. Compounded bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the most commonly prescribed.
Premade bioidentical hormone prescription forms are available from pharmaceutical companies. The FDA has given certain bioidentical hormones the green light in the United States. Other bioidentical hormones are made by a pharmacist based on a provider’s prescription rather than being manufactured in bulk. These are bioidentical hormones that have been mixed.
A single hormone or a combination of several may be present in a compounded hormonal product. For example, some providers will prescribe a combination of estrogens and progesterone.
Hormones approved by the FDA and compounded are available in a wide range of dosages and forms (pills, creams, gels, sprays, and vaginal inserts). To determine which BHRT is best for you, speak with a healthcare professional.
Who Shouldn’t Take BHRT?
After carefully weighing the probable risks and benefits of using any hormone therapy, you and your provider will decide whether or not you will use the therapy. Hormone replacement therapy might not be safe for you if you’ve ever suffered from the following conditions or are at high risk for developing them:
- Any cardiovascular or heart diseases
- Breast Cancer
- Blood clotting disorders
Why BHRT Exists
As you get older, the hormone levels in your body will gradually decrease. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the three types of hormones in question. Some of the common side effects of low hormone levels include the following:
- Loss of interest in sex or painful intercourse
- Problems sleeping
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Memory loss or confusion
- Hot flashes
Bioidentical hormone therapy aims to replace these hormones that have been lost or are at low levels. Most people report that their symptoms improve once their hormone levels have been raised. Based on your symptoms and medical history, your provider can converse with you about the various hormone replacement options.
According to the findings of one study, approximately one to two and a half million women in the United States who are over 40 use compounded bioidentical hormones.
Your provider will carefully monitor their patients’ progress while undergoing hormone treatment. The objective is to achieve symptom relief using the smallest effective dose for the shortest time possible. Your blood, urine, or saliva could be tested routinely to determine the hormone levels in your body, but this will depend on your provider. They may alter your dose in response to the shifting demands on your hormones.
Since normal hormone levels can vary daily, the Food and Drug Administration advises against using hormone levels observation to direct the dosing of hormone therapy in women. Menopausal symptoms are not related to fluctuations in salivary hormone levels, so using that as a basis is discouraged.
Your provider will recommend the treatment prospect that is ideal for you based on the specific symptoms you are experiencing. For instance, vaginal estradiol may be the most effective method if you are experiencing symptoms in the vaginal area. In addition, some medical professionals may prescribe testosterone to treat other symptoms, such as decreased libido.
How Long It Takes To Work
There isn’t a set amount of time that you have to wait for bioidentical hormones to start working. Within a few weeks, some people might feel a slight improvement in their symptoms. On average, it takes approximately three months for a person to feel the full impact of any hormone therapy.
Is it Safe?
The bioidentical hormones approved by the FDA have been examined to ensure they are risk-free. You can practically guarantee its safety because they have been approved by the FDA, which has very stringent standards.
There are still potential adverse effects, as there are with any hormone treatment. Even though the FDA has approved bioidentical hormones, you and your provider should still discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using them.
BHRT Side Effects
Bioidentical hormones, like most other medications, can cause side effects. There is a possibility that estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement will cause you to experience the following side effects:
- Breast tenderness
- Swelling of hands, lower legs, or feet
- Diarrhea or vomiting
It is possible to experience adverse effects, particularly after the initial dose. Your body is out of whack because of the change in hormone levels. However, as your body gradually adjusts to the treatment, you should experience fewer of the adverse effects outlined earlier. Also, altering the dose might be necessary for some circumstances.
Deciding for a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a big deal, and you should discuss it with a professional. If you are interested in consulting and discussing it with a professional and then consider BHRT, contact our clinic, Skin Suite Medspa. Our clinic also offers other services that address other wellness circumstances you may have.