Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has its benefits and drawbacks, and it is still being perfected as the technology and healthcare industry advance. It is mainly used for dealing with symptoms of menopause. These symptoms include hot flashes, night sweating and trouble sleeping, mood swings, depression, vaginal dryness and some sexual and emotional problems.
The difference between bioidentical and natural hormones
Hormone replacement therapy can help reduce or remove the symptoms of menopause. However, once the therapy is over, the symptoms may return and even get worse. This is why many women turn to natural solutions for relieving menopause symptoms. Unfortunately, natural does not always mean good. For example, estrogen derived from soy is natural, but it is not confirmed whether it is effective or not. What’s more, some researches show that it can stimulate the growth of breast tumor. From this example we can see that natural is not always the best choice.
Bioidentical hormones are synthesized from certain chemicals found in yams or soy. They do come from natural sources, but they are extracted and adapted so they fit the molecular structure of hormones which can be found in female body.
Because bioidentical hormones act like estrogen and progesterone naturally act in female body, this therapy is often called “natural hormone therapy”. But it is good to know that, in this sense, “natural” does not refer to natural sources of hormones, but to their behavior and functioning in female body.
The application of bioidentical hormones
Bioidentical hormones are available in a variety of preparations. Most commonly, women decide to take pills, since it is the most convenient method for most of them. However, the pills need to go through the liver, which is why the level of hormones can vary greatly during a single day.
As an alternative, there are also bioidentical hormone patches. You need to stick them on your skin, and the hormones are absorbed through it. This way, the therapy is absorbed directly, the liver does not need to filter the ingredients and the hormone levels are balanced better.
Vaginal rings, creams and gels containing bioidentical hormones are also available. They are convenient because the hormones are absorbed through mucosa, which is even better in absorbing than skin.
Benefits of bioidentical hormones
Bioidentical hormone therapy has certain advantages over traditional hormone replacement therapy. First of all, it is easier to monitor the level of estrogen and progesterone in the patient’s body. This way the therapy can be determined more precisely and it can be personalized for each patient.
Another advantage is that bioidentical hormones act in the body the same way as the hormones women produce naturally. They have the same molecular and chemical structure, and they are therefore considered to have more advantages and to be safer as well.
A lot of bioidentical hormones for man and woman can come in the form of estrogen or combination therapy, depending on the patient’s needs and diagnosis. Therefore, both patients who have and who have not had hysterectomy can use this type of therapy.