What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Bioidentical hormone replacement is a type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that uses plant-based hormones instead of synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) as well as HRT offers menopause relief to patients. For many, the next question is, what is plant-based estrogen? Plant-based estrogen is called phytoestrogens, which are compounds derived from plants. These compounds can be found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes. The body processes phytoestrogen the same way as naturally occurring estrogen.
The importance of estrogen
Estrogen is a reproductive hormone that the body stops producing after menopause. Lack of estrogen causes many uncomfortable symptoms that healthcare providers use hormone replacement therapy to treat. These symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Slow metabolism
- Thinning hair
- Vaginal dryness
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is can contain a variety of hormones including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone or pregnenolone. These hormones can be delivered through pills, cream, pellets, injection, gel, or a skin patch.
HRT vs BHRT
Traditional HRT is made of synthetic hormones produced in the lab. The advantage of bioidentical HRT is the composition. BHRT is derived from phytoestrogens, so supporters believe the HRT is easier for the body to process. There are no clear studies regarding the benefits of BHRT over HRT is that BHRT is more individualized.
The benefits of hormone therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is meant to relieve menopausal symptoms. Using these products should reduce the occurrence of night sweats, hot flashes, belly fat, thinning hair, decreased libido and other symptoms typically associated with aging. Studies show HRT can help reduce the risk of heart disease, blood clots, and strokes.
While patients are on HRT, doctors will monitor how the body responds to the hormone treatments. The FDA recommends patients take the lowest dosage of replacement therapy to effectively treat symptoms. Women wanting to learn more about the hormone imbalances should consult with an endocrinologist. Additionally, there are many healthcare providers that study hormonal imbalances that may be able to assist in treatment options.