HRT: Synthetic vs. Natural Hormones
Traditional HRT uses synthetic hormones. The most prescribed synthetic combination HRT for women are estrogen and progesterone. The estrogen is made from conjugated equine estrogens extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. While the progesterone is made from medroxyprogesterone acetate which is a synthetic form of progesterone. Although these synthetics contain animal estrogens which are not natural to humans, the hormones bind tightly to human estrogen receptors.
What is a bioidentical hormone?
Bioidentical HRT uses natural human hormones which are very different from the synthetic counterparts. Bioidentical hormones typically have a different range of effects at the cellular level. This is because natural hormones behave in an identical way to the hormones already in the human body.
HRT is often recommended for women who are experiencing severe symptoms of menopause or for women who have had a hysterectomy. Hormone replacement therapy has a number of benefits. For example, hormone replacement can help the body to process calcium and therefore reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Replacement therapy can also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce menopause symptoms.
Benefits of bioidentical HRT (BHRT)
Because of the difference between traditional and bioidentical hormones in the chemical compound, synthetic hormones are not ideally matched to the human body. This means that often synthetic hormones don’t react in the body the same way as natural hormones do. Bioidentical hormones, however, function in exactly the same way as the body’s natural hormones, however because BHRT is not regulated by the FDA, strengths are not consistent and doses can vary from one formulation to the next. Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of many health issues including heart disease, osteoporosis, and brain diseases such as dementia.
Finding out more information
Women who are considering taking any type of hormone replacement should seek advice from a medical practitioner who specializes in bioidentical hormone therapy techniques. A healthcare professional will be able to fully explain the differences between traditional and bioidentical HRT as well as the different applications for each. This will give the patient a clearer understanding of available HRT options. Many endocrinologists have strong opinions on whether BHRT or HRT is better for a patient and this often depends on the quality of the compounding pharmacy, the symptoms the patient is experiencing and how each patient reacts to the therapies. There are not any clear studies on BHRT vs HRT because BHRT can’t not be regulated in strength and efficacy like the synthetic compounds. Each type of therapy serves a purpose and can be helpful to eliminate symptoms that affect lifestyle and health.