Your body’s hormones control basic bodily functions and serve as a communication system between the cells in your body. Hormones work with almost every part of your body, such as digestion, immune function, libido, mood, appetite, and more.
Because hormones play such a big role in your body’s functions, if they are even slightly out of balance, it can have a huge impact on your health. If your hormones become unbalanced, your gynecologist may recommend hormone replacement therapy to ease the symptoms.
One of the most popular of these therapies – which is getting a lot of attention in recent years – is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). What is BHRT, and how does it differ from other hormone replacement therapies? Below, we discuss all the details.
How Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
BHRT is a more natural solution for people whose hormone levels have dropped or have become unbalanced. Bioidentical hormones are synthetic (man-made), and they are derived from plant estrogens that are chemically identical to the ones your body produces.
The most commonly replicated hormones that are used in BHRT are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. BHRT is used to treat both men and women.
Most often, it is used to treat symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. However, it is also used for other treatments such as insulin resistance, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and adrenal and thyroid issues. Some doctors are prescribing it to patients to help improve symptoms of cancer treatment.
Types of BHRT
BHRT can be administered to patients in many forms, including pills, creams, gels, patches, implanted pellets, and injections. Some types of BHRT are made by drug companies, while some are specially formulated by a doctor and custom-made by a compounding pharmacy.
While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some manufactured bioidentical hormones like estrogen and progesterone, it has not approved any custom-compounded bioidentical hormones.
Benefits of BHRT
As women age, they begin to experience perimenopause or menopause, which can bring with it a host of uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, changes in mood, weight gain, night sweats, sleep issues, memory loss, pain during sex, or loss of interest in sex. BHRT has been known to increase the hormone levels and improve symptoms of menopause.
BHRT may also reduce your risk of developing diabetes, cataracts, and tooth loss. Some people even tout BHRT as beneficial to improving skin thickness, hydration, elasticity, and wrinkle reduction.
This therapy has also been known to help improve the quality of life for people who have undergone cancer treatment by relieving issues such as insomnia, incontinence, and migraines.
How Do Bioidentical Hormones Differ from Traditional Synthetic Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are not the same as those used in traditional hormone replacement therapy. Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to the hormones your body produces naturally.
Whereas synthetic hormones are made from the urine of pregnant horses, bioidentical hormones are made from plant estrogens.
Risks and Side Effects of BHRT
As with any therapy or treatment, there are possible risks associated with BHRT that you should discuss with your doctor. These vary depending on the patient’s overall health profile.
Hormone replacement therapy, in general, may increase the risk for certain conditions and diseases, such as stroke, gallbladder disease, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
There also may be some side effects with BHRT, especially early on in treatment – including weight gain, bloating, acne, fatigue, mood swings, and increased facial hair in women. Before using any hormone replacement therapy, be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor.
How to Start Hormone Therapy
When hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause become difficult to live with, BHRT may be an excellent option to help balance your hormone levels. Speak to your doctor to see if BHRT is right for you and your lifestyle. When you begin BHRT, your doctor will monitor you in order to evaluate your body’s response to the therapy.
Hormone Therapy Doctors in Ft. Lauderdale
Are you tired of living with hot flashes, low energy, weight gain, and night sweats? Please call our office today at (954) 538-1700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ladynez Espinal.
Dr. Espinal and the knowledgeable and friendly staff at Lady’s Care Center are happy to help answer any questions you may have about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and other hormone therapies. Our office is conveniently located in Miramar, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.