What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is the use of molecularly identical hormones in hormone replacement therapy. Specific hormones used in this type of therapy include estrone, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is thought of as a natural approach to hormone therapy. It is a form of alternative medicine. These hormones are created from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is identified as a “natural hormone therapy” because bioidentical hormones act the same way in the body as the hormones we produce do.
Bioidentical hormones are used to reduce the symptoms of menopause. It is still known as one of the most effective ways to address menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweat and anxiety. It’s also used by medical practitioners for anti-aging purposes.
Each patient requires assessment before a treatment schedule can be advised. The physician will take a complete medical history and ask other questions to assess whether or not you qualify for bioidentical hormone therapy. Once you have been approved for hormone therapy your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan to fit your needs. You may choose between pills, gels, creams or vaginal ring for treatment.
Bioidentical hormones were first used in addressing menopausal symptoms in the 1930s. They were developed by a Canadian researcher James Collip. In the 1970s researchers began reporting the risks associated with synthetic hormones, specifically the addition of progesterone to estrogen treatment. To answer this problem, physicians began looking to bioidentical hormones to relieve patient symptoms. In 1980 the British Medical Journal recommended oral bioidentical progesterone as an option in lieu of its risky synthetic counterpart. Physicians John R. Lee and Jonathan Wright were the pioneers of bioidentical hormones.
Treatment can be administered in several ways including:
- Percutaneous skin and vaginal creams
- Oral pills
- Topical gels
- Vaginal rings
- Vaginal tablets
- Transdermal patches
What to Expect
When you begin taking bioidentical hormones you may experience changes in mood. You may also experience vaginal bleeding.
Risks & Side Effects
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may put you at higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Other symptoms can include high blood pressure, liver problems, high blood sugar, fluid retention, fibroids of the uterus, cancer, blood clots, yeast infections and dementia.