Many of our bodily functions depend on our hormones working properly. From basic ones such as digestion and growth to other ones such as reproduction and sexual function, hormones are the ones controlling these bodily functions. Even our hair growth and mood are largely influenced by these important chemicals.
When there’s hormone imbalance, it will certainly reflect in a person’s day-to-day life and how they function. One way to address this hormone imbalance is through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Bioidentical means these hormones are the most similar to the real ones, even though they’re man-made. If you want to learn more about BHRT, how it works, and what its benefits are, keep on reading.
Definition of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Sourced from plants, bioidentical hormones are produced in a laboratory. They are the most similar to the ones our bodies produce, which means that the absorption rate of these hormones is much higher. As our bodies age, the rate at which certain hormones are produced reduces over time. This is especially true when it comes to progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen.
As a result, it is possible for individuals to experience a range of unpleasant symptoms, including weight gain, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy aims to provide a replacement for lost hormones or increase levels of a particular hormone. This, in turn, helps ease the aforementioned symptoms, which can be quite uncomfortable.
Forms of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing as well as your medical history, there are different forms of BHRT your doctor may prescribe to you. Some doctors give their patients hormones in the form of a gel or cream. In other cases, injections may be a better option. It’s also possible to take these hormones as pills or patches, while some doctors may recommend hormone-releasing pellet implantation.
According to one study, it is estimated that around 2.5 million US women over 40 years old use bioidentical hormones as a form of therapy. Not all methods work for everyone though, and sometimes, you may need to try several different methods in order to find the most suitable one. You will be getting the lowest dose necessary to help relieve the symptoms, and your health provider will monitor you regularly once you start the hormone treatment.
Uses of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Although this form of therapy can be used for several purposes, one of the most common uses of bioidentical hormones involves addressing menopause and perimenopause symptoms. During this period of a woman’s life, certain hormone levels drop significantly, resulting in a range of symptoms. BHRT is used to reduce the severity of these symptoms and therefore improve women’s quality of life.
While BHRT can be quite an effective tool for addressing menopause symptoms, how much time passes before the hormones start working can vary greatly. Some may experience therapy’s full effect after three months. For others, it may take just a few weeks for hormones to begin improving menopause symptoms.
Benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Menopause can be challenging. From hot flashes and sleep issues to memory problems and night sweats, there are different symptoms associated with this big life change, and they occur due to a hormone level reduction. Although this is a natural process that all women experience at some point – some earlier, some later in life – there’s no reason for its unpleasant symptoms to prevent you from enjoying and living your life to the fullest.
Aside from relieving the symptoms listed above, BHRT is also quite beneficial when it comes to reducing risk from particular diseases and conditions. These include teeth loss, cataracts, and diabetes. There are also claims that using BHRT can help your skin look healthier by helping it maintain hydration and remain thick and elastic, ensuring a more youthful appearance.
Potential risks and side effects of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Although an effective treatment approach, BHRT also carries potential risks and side effects. Breast tenderness, cramps, fatigue, and bloating are some of the common side effects women experience when using BHRT. Starting any hormone therapy in general also increases the risk of developing gallbladder disease.
Some women may develop blood clots as a result of hormone therapy, and there’s also a higher risk of breast cancer and stroke. Many of the side effects take place while the body is adjusting to the therapy and new levels of hormones. They generally become less intense after those initial few weeks of therapy.
It is important to note that BHRT may not be suitable for individuals with certain health conditions due to an increased risk of side effects. Consult with a health professional before deciding whether this form of therapy is right for you.
Menopause is a major transition in life, followed by a host of physical and hormonal changes. It’s also accompanied by symptoms that may affect you on a day-to-day basis. By relying on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can restore the optimal hormone balance and manage unpleasant menopause symptoms with more ease.