Controversy regarding traditional hormone replacement therapy used to ease menopausal symptoms like mood swings, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes has triggered researchers to develop an alternative method. It is called BHRT or Bio-identical hormonal replacement therapy.
What is BHRT?
In BHRT treatment, the medication includes hormones with same chemical composition as those produced in human body. Bioidentical hormone is formulated in a lab. They are so alike that even your body cannot identify the different between natural and bioidentical.
Bio-identical hormones are formulated from different natural sources including –
- Estradiol acetate like Femring
- 17 beta-estradiols like Estring, Estradil, and Estrace
- Micronized progesterone USP like Prochieve and Prometrium
- Estradiol hemihydrate like Vagifem
There are leading pharmaceutical companies in the US that manufacture specific bio-identical hormones regulated by the FDA.
Bio-identical vs. Synthetic Hormones
The molecular and chemical structure of bio-identical hormones are exactly the same as naturally produced hormones in human body, while other hormones made in the laboratory differ. This is the main reason that body responds to synthetic hormones in a different way.
For example, ET medication called Premarin is formulated from pregnant horse’s urine. It binds very tightly to your estrogen receptors making them more reactive. Such reaction can boost the risk of cancer, especially if drug is taken for long time.
Different benefits of bio-identical hormones
Potential benefits of bio-identical hormones used to treat menopause symptoms are –
- Less dry skin
- Increased libido
- Decrease in bloating
- Less thinning of hair
- Decline in fatigue
- Reduced hot flashes
- Enhanced sleep
- Creative thinking and improved memory
Menopause is the time, when females stop having their menstrual cycle. Perimenopause is time, which leads to menopause, when your ovaries start to decrease their estrogen production.
Who is candidate for bio-identical hormones?
Many women experiencing perimenopause may wish to think about other treatment alternatives, before planning to go for BHRT, because of the controversy surrounding the traditional HRT method. Women, who tried other alternatives may consider lifestyle changes prior starting BHRT.
Other alternatives can include –
- Eating more healthy and balanced diet
- Taking vitamins
- Increase exercise
- Try reduce anxiety and stress.
Different forms of bio-identical hormones
The woman will need to undergo hormone level tests through blood or saliva samples. Doctor determines the type of hormone type you need. During the BHRT treatment, your hormone levels will be tested several times, so as to monitor the balance.
FDA approved bio-identical hormonal products have undergone stringent quality control and testing. Bio-identical is still in its initial phase, so its minimal or prolonged use consequences are still unknown. More research is needed to prove its sufficient usage safety.