Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in bioidentical hormones as an alternative to the more usual forms of hormone replacement therapy. This replacement therapy is safer than synthetic versions.
These are made in a laboratory, usually from the components of plants, substances found in soybeans or Mexican wild yams and they are chemically identical to human hormones, to match exactly the formula that a woman's body produces and have been used to. These plant derived hormones are often called natural hormones, but that confuses some patients and some doctors as well.
Another aspect of the bioidentical versus patent hormone controversy is the source material for the synthetic hormones. However, when creating synthetic versions, scientists did not realize that some of the changes which they originally thought were insignificant would not be. Generally made from plant sources, they are most commonly made of soy or Mexican wild yam.
Many practitioners and their patients are now realizing that provera a synthetic not bioidentical progesterone - may be the bad actor in increasing the rate of breast cancer. Premarin, the most commonly prescribed estrogen is natural to a horse, being derived from a pregnant mare's urine, but so are the horses that produce synthetic hormones. The important fact is that the estrogen is not identical to a woman's own estrogen. Prempro is the combination of premarin and provera.
Women suffering with low energy, obesity, and hot flashes have seen pounds melt away and their sexual energy return with hormonal replacement therapy.
Perhaps the most controversial, mystifying, and inadequately approached area of medicine today is the hormone replacement therapy. Only relatively recently have women come to question the safety of estrogen and other hormones whose usage has been entrenched in medicine for the past forty years.
Important advantage is that dosages can be tailored to the individual's unique hormonal requirements.
Oral bioidentical supplements go directly to the liver, which converts them into a different hormone. Thus the preferred method of delivery is transdermal in the form of creams, gels, and suppositories - so the hormones are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Compounded hormones are another option. They are hormone supplements whose biochemical structures are identical to those produced by the human body - a fact that offers important therapeutic advantages and minimizes potential risks. The doctor usually prescribes a hormone test and a hormone supplement is given that consists of numerous hormones harmonized to meet the patient's exact individual needs either separately or all combined.
They may also include estrogen combination, testosterone. Unfortunately, at the moment, very few physicians have any experience with the testing or prescribing of compounded formulas or, just as importantly, the follow-up needed to tailor the formula to the individual patient's response. According to their proponents, the benefits include:
- Fewer side effects compared with traditional hormone replacement therapy.
- Protection against heart disease.
- Reduced risk of breast cancer.
- Improved lipid profile.
The good news is that more providers are willing to learn as they are hearing about these, over and over from their menopausal patients. The patient's body has a lock and key hormonal structure. To put it simply, the patient's body either manufactures them or takes them as supplements. These fit accurately and protect the patient against many dangers of the unbalanced hormones.
On the negative side, bioidentical may also pose risks to consumers. These compounds have not been approved; as a result, have not been tested for purity, potency, efficacy, or safety. In addition, bioidentical and other natural hormones bought over the counter or on the internet are frequently not micronized or found in high enough dosages to be effective.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.