Bio-identical Hormone Replacement
Bio-identical hormones have the same molecular structure as naturally occurring hormones; not necessarily “organic” or “natural”, but the body recognizes these as “natural.”
Non-bioidentical hormones have a different molecular structure than naturally occurring hormones and are more potent, so there's more risk of side effects and accumulation in the body
Risk of bio-identical hormones:
- Some routes of administration may work better than others (cream vs. pill vs. injection)
- Possible excessive dosage
- Dosage must balance with other hormones, preventing optimal effects of the treatment
BHRT (Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy) is used to improve function, decrease symptoms.
“We age because our hormones decline”
As we get older, our body produces fewer hormones (such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA). Our genetics and lifestyle can speed up or slow down this process.
The most public concern with the use of bio-identical hormones is the fear from studies done on conventional hormones. However, these studies did not involve bio-identical hormones.
Many of the symptoms of hormone imbalances are “accepted” as a normal part of aging, but with the right treatment, they don’t have to be. Some common problems seen with hormone deficiencies and imbalances include:
- Lower energy
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Decreased libido
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes and depression
The problem with a lot of treatment, however, is that hormone replacement is the only focus and the rest of the body is treated separately. The underlying causes of the symptoms need to be evaluated, including thyroid function, adrenal function, nutritional status, insulin and glucose levels, sleep quality, stress (chronic and acute), and more. All of these play a part in our well-being and help maintain hormone balances. Labs can tell us one thing, but lifestyle, symptoms, and personal history can provide insight into what may be perpetuating symptoms and leading to imbalances.