What Are Bioidentical Hormones and How Are They Used?

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Maintaining an optimal hormonal balance is vital to your health. Hormones influence your metabolism, body composition, organ function, libido, and more. Even the slightest dysfunction can affect how you look and feel.

Menopause, thyroid disease, and certain drugs may lead to hormonal imbalances. For instance, more than two million American women go into menopause each year. Approximately 75 percent experience moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, such as lethargy, fatigue, memory loss, and hot flashes.

Unfortunately, medications are not the best option. They often carry serious side effects and can disrupt your hormonal balance in the long run. That's where bioidentical hormone therapy comes in.

This form of treatment can safely relieve menopause symptoms and improve certain conditions. It benefits both men and women and has little or no adverse effects.

But what are bioidentical hormones in the first place? More importantly, is this therapy right for you? Let's find out!

What Are Bioidentical Hormones?

Bioidentical or natural hormones are widely used worldwide for treating a variety of health conditions. These compounds are not synthesized in a lab but come from animal, mineral, or plant sources. As a result, they resemble the hormones produced by your body.

Soy and yams, for instance, contain phytoestrogens with hormone-like properties.

Upon ingestion, they raise your estrogen levels and may help ease menopause symptoms. Researchers use these plants to produce bioidentical hormones, such as estriol and estrone.

Even though these hormones are processed in a lab, they're natural and boast a higher bioavailability. This means your body can use them more efficiently. In fact, it cannot tell the difference between its own hormones and the bioidentical ones.

This therapy is approved by the FDA and has a wide range of uses. The primary bioidentical hormones include:

  • Micronized progesterone
  • Estrodiol hemihydrate
  • Estradiol acetate
  • 17 beta-estradiol

All of these compounds have the exact molecular and chemical structure as the hormones in your body. Thus, they're less likely to cause adverse reactions.

The Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Bioidentical hormone therapy appeals to men and women with hormonal imbalances. Menopause, for example, causes a decline in estrogen production. Progesterone and testosterone levels decrease too.

Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, keeps the vaginal lining elastic, maintains bone density, and supports a healthy libido. It also produces an environment suitable for fertilization and pregnancy.

If your body produces too much or too little estrogen, your health will suffer.

Excess estrogen, for instance, may cause weight gain and increase breast cancer risk. Too little estrogen will diminish your libido and put you at risk for osteoporosis.

Before menopause, estrogen levels begin to fluctuate. Over time, they fall to a dangerously low level. That's why menopausal women often experience bone loss, migraines, arrhythmia, hot flashes, night sweats, bloating, and general discomfort.

The estrogen family includes three main hormones, namely estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Bioidentical hormone therapy can help balance these estrogens, leading to better health.

This treatment appears to be beneficial for a wide range of problems, especially those related to menopause. Patients often experience:

  • Improved memory and thinking
  • Better sleep
  • Younger looking skin
  • Reduced hot flashes
  • Higher libido
  • Greater energy and stamina
  • Less pain during intercourse
  • Weight loss

By replacing the hormones that have been lost, this therapy can restore your energy and relieve menopause symptoms. It may also stop hair loss, make it easier to build muscle, and balance your mood.

Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?

Conventional hormone therapy has been linked to a high risk of cancer and other diseases.

According to a 2002 study conducted on over 10,000 women using synthetic hormones, this treatment method increases the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular problems. Other potential side effects include blood clots, stroke, depression, mood swings, and abdominal pain.

Furthermore, hormone therapy is not recommended for women with endometrial or ovarian cancer, breast cancer, vaginal bleeding, or liver disease.

In clinical trials, the risk of heart attack and stroke increased in women who started hormone therapy. This risk returned to normal once the treatment stopped.

Bioidentical hormones have none of these side effects.

Since they mimic your body's own hormones, they're safer and better tolerated. Additionally, they have passed the FDA's strict standards and have been tested for safety.

Some patients receiving bioidentical hormones may experience mild side effects when a first dose is given. That's because their bodies are not used to the treatment and need time to adjust to the new hormone levels.

These adverse effects go away by themselves and don't cause complications - like it happens with conventional hormone therapy. They usually include:

  • Digestive distress
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain

For instance, you might gain a few pounds in the first month or so. However, once your body adapts to the treatment, the extra pounds will melt away.

To prevent side effects, make simple lifestyle changes before starting bioidentical hormone therapy. Limit stress as much as possible. Try to squeeze more exercise into your routine.

Also, ditch the sugar and fill up on whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds should come first on your list. Consider taking a multivitamin to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Talk to a doctor about your options for bioidentical hormones. These compounds come in various forms, such as gels, creams, injections, and tablets. Together, you can decide which ones suit your individual needs and determine the optimal dose.

Natural Is Always Better

Bioidentical hormone therapy could save your life. Imagine struggling with depression, hot flashes, and weight gain due to menopause. These symptoms can wreak havoc on your health and affect your confidence.

Once you start using bioidentical hormones, you'll feel more energized. Your sleep will improve, your sex drive will return, and the extra weight will go away. This treatment method can change your life for the better.

If you Google "What are bioidentical hormones?" you'll get thousands of results. Unfortunately, most articles are misleading. Your doctor is the only one who can tell whether you need bioidentical hormone therapy and how it benefits your health.

Interested to find out more? Contact us today! At BodyLogicMD, we make it easy to find healthcare providers who are ready to help you out.

Published: July 31, 2018

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