Aging, Menopause, And BHRT
As women age, menopause is an inevitable event that will happen, signaling the end of reproductive years. One particularly uncomfortable symptom of menopause is hot flashes, an intense wave of heat in the face, neck, and upper chest. While these symptoms are natural and expected, some women have more severe episodes, impacting quality of life. As a result, many seek treatment options to relieve menopausal symptoms. One such treatment is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which aims to replenish lost hormones and reduce hot flashes.
From age 40, women have fewer follicles and begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone. Between ages 45-55, women begin to experience menopause, a point in time marked by 12 months since the last menstrual period. The drop in hormones during menopause causes various unpleasant symptoms that can affect a woman’s quality of life. The most common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, and depression. Other less common symptoms include vaginal dryness, insomnia, headaches, loss of libido, and decreased bone density. Until the symptoms subside, menopause can significantly impact a woman’s daily routine and relationships.
Women going through menopause can be prescribed hormone replacement therapy to help manage and treat symptoms. Hormone replacement can supplement hormones lost naturally due to menopause, illness, or other changes in the body. Conventional hormone replacement uses synthetic hormones at standard doses. BHRT uses compounding to create a customized medication that matches the body’s natural hormonal levels. Bioidentical hormones come from natural sources, like plants. Therefore, many have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced in the body. When compounded, the pharmacist can create a product in a preferred form at the correct dose.
BHRT and hot flashes
Using bioidentical hormones allows the body to readily absorb the compounds. This advantage delivers results quicker than traditional hormone replacement therapy. In addition, studies have shown that bioidentical hormones can reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue. This treatment also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, improving post-menopausal women’s overall quality of life. Overall, BHRT may be an effective treatment option for women who suffer from hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Bioidentical hormone side effects
Most women who undergo hormone therapy experience a reduction in hot flashes. Some also report increased energy, libido, and improved sexual function. Other symptoms, such as irritability and mood swings, can also be reduced with BHRT. While there are clear benefits, BHRT may cause side effects. Some women may experience fatigue, acne, weight gain, headaches, cramping, or weight gain. Review all possible side effects with a doctor or compounding pharmacist.
Are you a good candidate for BHRT?
Women over 45 who experience severe symptoms of menopause are candidates for BHRT, with a few exceptions. BHRT is not recommended for those who experience vaginal bleeding or have clotting issues. Women with a history of ovarian, breast, or endometrial cancers are also unsuitable candidates for BHRT. Also, those who previously had a stroke or liver disease will not qualify for this hormone therapy. Those who choose the BHRT route often see an improvement in hot flashes and other symptoms. This allows women to move into a different stage of life without limitations.