The term “bioidentical hormone therapy” began as a term referring to compounded hormone medications. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is now involved in evaluating and regulating these therapies, and the term now applies to medications produced in an FDA-approved laboratory – and they are readily available to treat symptoms of menopause.
The term bioidentical means that the chemical composition of the medicine is identical to those hormones manufactured naturally by the human body. Many of the FDA-approved traditional hormone replacement therapy medications are indeed identical to those produced in the body.
“Natural” hormones mean that the chemicals used are produced naturally, from either plant or animal sources, rather than synthesized in a laboratory. In fact, many FDA-approved products like Climara, Estrace, and Vivelle-Dot all contain natural estrogen, and Prometrium is made from a natural progesterone.
Both estrogen and progesterone are steroid hormones that are already in our bodies naturally, and a supplemental boost may help relieve symptoms of menopause. Many federally funded studies have shown that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy works for many women.
Side Effects to Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are some noted side effects that can accompany any type of hormone replacement therapy, as with any medication. The side effects tend to be more severe in the beginning while taking the medication, and the effects lessen over time. They can include:
- Weight gain
- Increased hair growth on the face
- Mood swings
- Menstrual spotting
- Blurry vision
- Tenderness in one or both breasts
FDA-approved hormones are manufactured in a laboratory setting, have been tested for side effects, and have been found safe for use. Custom-compounded hormone replacement therapies have of course not been tested by the FDA due to their individual nature, so be aware that there may be unknown side effects if anything is done to change their chemical or physical properties.
Talk to your physician about the potential side effects, and let your doctor know if you experience anything unusual when taking the medication.
Supplemental Therapies for Menopause
In addition to taking hormone replacement therapies, it is always important to be cognizant of your diet. Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods and empty calories, such as foods with lots of added sugar, refined grains, processed oils, and fried products.
Eat foods that are high in fiber, and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidants. Limit your consumption of refined carbohydrates to aid in digestion and improve your overall well-being.
Certain natural herbs like evening primrose oil can help manage symptoms caused by menopause, as can natural stress relievers like physical exercise – which reduces inflammation. These methods also help to improve mood and improve quality of sleep at night, as well as help stave off those extra pounds. Also try some holistic measures such as meditation, acupuncture, and getting fresh air outdoors.
Women’s Doctor in Ft. Lauderdale
If you or someone you love is experiencing menopause, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may help. Consult with a doctor who specializes in women’s care and who can explain the pros and cons of the various types of hormone replacement therapies.
Contact the team of Dr. Ladynez Espinal of Lady’s Care Center by calling us today at (954) 538-1700, and get a medical expert’s opinion of whether bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is right for treating your menopausal symptoms.