As we age and approach mid-life, many of us start to consider hormone replacement therapy.
Is it right for me and is it safe?
Many want the restorative benefits of a youthful hormone profile but are concerned about health risks. Numerous studies have shown that the hormones traditionally used, which are synthetic or “non-human identical,” can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. Thankfully, there is a safer and natural approach to hormone balance and that is done by using bioidentical hormones. Both men and women can find relief of symptoms with these hormones, without the risks that synthetic versions carry.
What are BioIdentical Hormones?
Chemical structure is key when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. Biologically identical hormones (often called bioidentical hormones) are the same chemical shape, and perform the same function, as our own endogenous hormones. The body recognizes them and processes them in the same way it has processed its own natural hormones for years. Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources, such as yams or soy, and then made to have the identical chemical structure of our own hormones.
Unfortunately, many of the hormones regularly prescribed are not identical to those found in the human body. These hormones may resemble our own hormones (bio-similar) and often have physiological effects as they are not exactly identical to those hormones our bodies make. Thus, the body has to work to metabolize these foreign substances and that may produce harmful by-products with potential side effects. Pharmaceutical companies must alter the chemical structure of the hormone in order to have a patentable product to sell.
In contrast to synthetic versions, bioidentical hormones offer men and women a more natural approach and hormones that our bodies can metabolize properly. In addition, bioidentical hormones can be prepared by the pharmacy and dosed by your physician to meet your individual hormone needs.
Remember that even though bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic derivatives, the hormones must be balanced and adjusted for the individual. Acquiring and maintaining optimal hormones balance will require ongoing blood tests and dosage adjustment to ensure maximum benefits.