What Are Bioidentical Hormones (bHRT)?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones that from a molecular perspective look identical to our own hormones.
How is bHRT different from HRT?
Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) are synthetic chemical that act on our hormonal receptors but that don’t necessarily look identical to our own hormones. Think of a key. Our hormones are like perfect keys that act on our cells. Bioidentical hormones are keys that act on our cells and look identical to our own. Hormone replacement therapy such a premarin, synthetic prescriptions that have a key that fit into the lock but that doesn’t look the same as ours.
What we thought we knew about HRT
Synthetic hormone replacement therapy is very effective for many of the menopausal symptoms. In many years past it was also prescribed proactively to prevent many conditions were estrogen deficiency is a risk factor. It was given proactively to preserve bone mass, protect against heart disease, support the brain and promote youthful skin. It was the holy grail of anti-aging. When the Women’s Health Initiative Study was conducted it was ended early as findings suggested that synthetic hormone replacement therapy increases risk of certain types of cancers, blood clots and strokes. The problem is that we were wrong. Research suggest it was not as safe as we had expected.
What we think we know about bHRT
We know that in the Women’s Health Initiative that the subset of individuals on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy did not appear to have the same risks, although the number of women in this group small and assertive conclusions difficult to make.
What we don’t know about bHRT
The reality is that since biotidentical hormone replacement therapy is not patentable, extensive research and long-term studies are sparse. Theoretically, we think it’s safer. The reality is we sincerely thought synthetic hormone replacement therapy was an incredible medical breakthrough when we realized it had its downfalls.
Alternative natural options for menopause
In clinical practice I’ve had great results helping women through their midlife transition with very safe, natural and effective alternatives. When discussing hormones with women I often explain it’s about therapeutic order. Both synthetic or bioidentical should not be our first step. It should be the last step when benefits outweigh any potential risks. For the great majority of women effective results can be obtain without the use of additional hormones.
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