The glands throughout your body secrete hormones that help regulate your natural bodily functions. Everything from your brain to reproductive organs rely on stable hormone levels to optimally perform their vital functions. Despite their importance, hormone levels can swing out of balance due to medical conditions, bodily changes and even certain medications.
When this occurs, you could suffer minor to severe health repercussions that impact your overall sense of wellness. Prescription medications and lifestyle changes are most often utilized to control hormone levels, but bioidentical hormones offer a different approach.
Although bioidentical hormones are man-made, their makeup closely matches the natural hormones made by your body. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and side effects of bioidentical hormones.
Understanding Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy revolves around the utilization of manmade hormones that are molecularly identical to the naturally made ones. The therapy helps to alleviate symptoms caused by hormone imbalance to improve your health and wellbeing.
Both perimenopause and menopause respond favorably to this treatment option, though other causes of hormone imbalance, including insulin resistance and thyroid disorders, can benefit from this therapy. In men, bioidentical hormones help to resolve problems caused by a natural decline in hormones that is caused by aging.
Bioidentical hormone manufacturers naturally derive their molecularly exact hormones from plants, like soy and yams. The synthesization of the plant chemicals allows manufacturers to create bioidentical hormones for human use, including estrogen and testosterone.
The hormones used for this therapy can either be made in a lab or compounded by a skilled pharmacist. With either creation option, the created pills, patches, topical ointments and other products deliver the correct amount of hormones to your body at the correct times.
Differences Between HRT and BHRT
Before bioidentical hormones, traditional hormone replacement therapy was utilized most often to regulate hormone production. The traditional therapy products are not compatible with the human body due to their inexact synthetic makeup. Furthermore, these products are typically made using urine from pregnant mares and other synthetic compounds.
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Bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, come from natural plant-derived sources, and then are synthesized in the lab to create an exact chemical makeup. This makeup could best match your own biological system to promote hormone regulation without causing excessive side effects and other risks., but no one really knows for sure.
Traditional hormone therapy has been linked to the development of cancer when used for over a decade, but long-term bioidentical hormone use does not show the same risks at this time.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones
When used as directed by your medical professional, bioidentical hormones can help decrease the symptoms of menopause and other hormone-impacting conditions. The frequency and duration of menopause symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, decrease markedly with this type of hormone therapy.
The hormones can help regulate moods and boost concentration by improving brain function. Symptom control may not be possible without regulating hormones to keep them at the levels your body needs.
Potential BHRT Side Effects
Although bioidentical hormones have acquired FDA approval, it is possible for the hormones to cause side effects. Gaining weight, experiencing blurry vision and feeling tired, for example, are all potential side effects caused by this therapy. Women may experience an increase in facial hair growth, breast tenderness and spotting. Cramping, bloating and mood swings are also common in the first few days or weeks of bioidentical hormone therapy.
What You Need to Know About BHRT
The lack of empirical data from peer-reviewed studies leaves the risks of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy up in the air. With an absence of large-scale studies, there is no clear way to confirm whether this type of hormone treatment offers serious risks or rewards.
To counteract the potential risks and side effects, many patients choose to take the hormones at the lowest dose. Your physician can help you make this decision by weighing your personal factors, including your current health status and symptom severity.
You can also receive help deciding between the many different treatment formats, including implanted pellets, creams, patches, gels and injections.
Receive Help Determining If You Could Benefit From BHRT
You will need to work with your physician to weigh the risks and benefits of utilizing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to control your hormone imbalance symptoms. Your doctor will help you determine if you are one of the few people who should not utilize this treatment for hormone imbalances.
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to determine if you will benefit from this treatment – or if the risks are far too great to proceed. To get started on finding the right hormone imbalance treatment, schedule an appointment with your provider at Prime Wellness by calling (858) 675-7072.
Dr. Kelly Austin with Prime Wellness understands that proper nutrition is the pro-active way to manage your health. She’ll work with you through testing and consultation. She’ll develop a fully personalized prevention and treatment plan for your unique needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.
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