Bioidentical Hormones FAQ
Q. Is bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) the right option for you?
As we approach mid-life we often question whether or not we should begin some kind of hormone therapy. Certainly, with all the the controversy surrounding synthetic hormones, we are slightly more than apprehensive. Numerous studies have shown that synthetic hormone therapy (traditional HRT) increases the risk of various types of cancer, along with heart disease. Fortunately, many of us now are turning to a natural approach of balancing our hormones with the use of bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) which do not carry the risk factors that occur with synthetic hormones.
Q. What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are 100% identical in chemical structure to those that are found in the human body. They are derived from natural sources, such as yam and soya. Based on your hormone levels, your doctor, together with an expert compounding pharmacy can individually tailor a bioidentical hormone programme specifically designed for you. Bioidentical hormones cannot be patented by the pharmaceutical companies because they are tailored to the patient’s requirements. Each regime is specifically designed to treat each patient on an individual basis.
Q. What is bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT)?
BioIdentical hormone restorative therapy corrects hormonal deficiencies and imbalances that occur with age, therefore, obtaining and maintaining optimal balance within your body and its systems, which in turn achieves optimal health.
Q. Are bioidentical hormones safer, better, and more efficient than synthetic hormones (HRT)?
An overwhelming body of evidence shows that bioidentical hormones are a safer and more effective option, therefore much more attractive to the populace when dealing with menopause, andropause and ageing. As bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources the body metabolises them correctly; meaning they are compatible, efficient and useable molecules. On the other hand, synthetic hormones (HRT) are foreign molecules with a certain level of toxicity, and confuse the body, creating a drastic and risky situation, including cancer. An extra advantage for bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is that it is individually tailored to match your hormonal needs. Synthetic hormones are a one-size-fits-all approach, which do not address the person’s individual needs.
However, it is vital for anyone intending to start a bioidentical hormone therapy programme, to consult with a qualified hormone specialist in restorative medicine, so as to safeguard themselves from side effects. The balancing of hormones is an art and a very precise medicine that needs to be followed by an expert in this domain!
Q. How and why do hormone deficiencies occur?
There are many causes to hormonal loss or decline, but the major reason is age. We age because our hormones decline, our hormones do not decline because we age! Hormonal decline plays an important role in our mental, physical and emotional state, and in all illnesses. Restoration of ‘body and mind’ balance is ideally achieved through bioidentical hormone restorative therapy. Other reasons for diminished hormone production are lack of exercise, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins, chronic stress which seriously impacts hormone production, sleep disorders, malnutrition, lack of sunlight, long-term use of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Q. Does bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) and ‘restorative medicine’ treat the same conditions?
Yes, they are one and the same. BHRT is a therapy incorporating bioidentical hormones, that restore missing or declining hormones, and correct hormone imbalances, therefore restoring the body and its systems to youthful levels (optimal). Restorative medicine is a medicine that restores the body with the use of bioidentical hormones, achieving the same results. When we restore hormones not only do we correct menopausal symptoms, such as weight gain, depression, fatigue, hot flushes, hair loss, we rebuild the immune system, which protects against cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few.
Q. Is restorative medicine appropriate for both men and women?
Yes, men age just as women do, but at a later stage. They too have to face andropause and hormonal decline and the imbalances that goes with it, along with its age-related diseases. Unfortunately, men are not as proactive in their health as women are. Restorative medicine is a great option for men too!
Q. Can I get bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) from my doctor?
BHRT is not mass produced, you cannot buy it over the counter as you would a vitamin or supplement, or get it through your GP. For the moment, the only way to get it is through a doctor who is qualified in restorative medicine. BHRT is a hormone therapy that is tailored to your individual needs. Each woman has a different body and a different balance of hormones. Every patient is different and presents a unique set of symptoms and hormone levels that warrant a customised therapy. The amount and dosage of each prescription is dependent on many factors. Restorative medicine is an evidence based, scientifically sound medical sub-speciality – it is important for anyone intending to start a bioidentical hormone restorative therapy programme, to consult with a qualified hormone specialist in restorative medicine.
Q. How do I find a doctor who practices restorative medicine or BHRT?
It is important to remember that when you search for a doctor he is qualified. Hormones are hormones and have to be finely balanced for them to function correctly and optimally. Any medicine requires extensive training, and this is especially so when balancing hormones. This medicine is not something that is traditionally taught in medical schools. Always check that he/she is certified.
If you would like to find out more about the Menopause Woman bioidentical hormones restorative therapy click here.
Q. Are bioidentical hormones approved?
National organisations such as the FDA in the USA or the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency in the UK cannot approve any compounded products for any condition (let alone menopause) because these products are not standardised and are not produced en masse. This does not mean they are not good, it just means that regulatory bodies can not assess something that is compounded on a patient by patient basis. The use of bioidentical hormones has existed for more than twenty-five years in US.
Q. Are bioidentical hormones natural?
The term ‘natural’ can be a little confusing, and it is true that any product whose principal ingredient has an animal, plant, or mineral source is technically considered natural. This, of course, does not mean they are 100 percent natural, appropriate, or adapt for use within the human body. A synthetic hormone is a substance that is not found in nature, but is rather reinvented from nature so as to be patented. As an example, synthetic hormones that are found in traditional HRT are considered natural by some people because the oestrogens found in this drug are derived from the urine of pregnant mares, together with natural progesterone which is derived from plants such as wild yams, that is then tweaked in a laboratory atmosphere, to become a pharmaceutical drug. Synthetic or alien hormones cannot be metabolised (used) safely and efficiently without causing problems within the body, such as cancer and heart disease.
Bioidentical hormones are also made in a lab but are natural because they are a replica of the hormones that are produced in the body. They act, and are used, just as our own hormones are. Bioidentical hormones are natural to the human body and provide many health benefits. They cause no disturbances or problems in the body as do synthetic hormones.
Q. How long can you take bioidentical hormones for?
BHRT is for life, this is the great thing with this regimen, it keeps us safe for life, unlike synthetic HRT, which cannot be taken for any longer than five years, due to the high risk of breast cancer and heart disease. BHRT has been shown to be extremely safe and effective for correcting and eliminating the most common menopausal symptoms, along with protecting against the long-term effects of hormonal decline in menopause and ageing, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, cognitive decline. Restoring oestrogens and progesterone, to normal levels, together with other key hormones, have an amazing revitalising effect on the body, from the immune system, to the heart, cognitive function, muscle and bone strength, to your mood and energy levels, to your sexual drive and even creative thinking. Bioidentical hormones protect you for life!
When it comes to getting advice about the perimenopause, menopause, postmenopause, or age-related healthcare, most women seek the help of their family doctor. However, it’s not uncommon for women to be told they are just going through ‘the change’ and that the symptoms of the menopause or body breakdown will pass.
However, bioidentical HRT and restorative medicine has been established for over 25 years, and is well known in both the US and Europe.