Bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical with the hormones produced by the body, which makes natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy largely safer than synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Synthetic estrogen hormones derived from pregnant mares’ urine can increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease in women, whereas natural bioidentical estrogen derived from plants does not. However, there are certain risks associated with any hormone therapy, so it is crucial that patients are aware of them before starting bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormones are custom-made in a compounding pharmacy for each patient. The FDA does not regulate these custom-compounded hormones, which is one reason why it is critical that bioidentical hormones are created at state-of-the-art facilities with which the prescribing doctor is personally familiar. This is the case for all bioidentical hormones prescribed by our practice.
During menopause, many women suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood swings, and brain fog, and estrogen replacement therapy can offer relief from these symptoms. Additionally, women who have been cancer free for at least five years could use bioidentical estrogen hormones. Many women choose bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy over standard estrogen replacement therapy because of the former’s lower risk factors.
While testosterone therapy can significantly improve a man’s quality of life if his hormone levels are low otherwise, some men should not receive bioidentical testosterone therapy. Men with high red blood cell counts and those who have had prostate cancer, enlarged prostates, or a history of cardiovascular disease may be able to do so with their doctors’ supervision. This therapy is available in an injectable form for ease of use and lowered risk factors.
While most bioidentical hormone side effects are not serious and can be helped by dosage adjustment, they can affect a person’s decision to begin or continue bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone therapy may cause men to develop acne, and some women may grow facial hair at least temporarily. Either sex may experience weight gain or bloating while their bodies adjust to the hormones.
Before prescribing custom bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the doctor takes a complete medical history and discusses the pros and cons of therapy with the patient. Based on this dialogue, the patient and their doctor can determine whether bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is appropriate.
There are few patients who do not qualify for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and many patients decide the benefits of this therapy for symptom relief and wellness outweigh any short-term side effects. Call today to learn more about your options.