Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are bioequivalent to the hormones that the human body naturally releases. They are generally created from plant materials like soy or yams and are intended to mimic the molecular makeup of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
In hormone replacement treatment (HRT), bioidentical hormones are frequently used to treat men with low testosterone levels or women with menopausal symptoms. Typically, they come in a variety of forms, such as tablets, lotions, gels, patches, and injections.
Bioidentical hormones are said to be safer and more successful than synthetic hormones used in standard hormone replacement treatment, which are often not the same as the hormones generated by the body. The safety and effectiveness of bioidentical hormones are still a subject of considerable discussion among medical experts, and further study is required to completely comprehend their effects. A healthcare professional should be consulted before beginning any hormone treatment.
When and how are Bioidentical Hormones given?
Bioidentical hormones are given to supplement or replace hormones that the body no longer produces enough hormones. This may take place during menopause in women or as males age and lose testosterone. A healthcare professional often prescribes bioidentical hormones, which can be taken in a variety of ways, such as:
Pills: The oral administration of bioidentical hormones is possible as pills, much like with conventional hormone replacement treatment. Unlike conventional HRT, bioidentical hormone tablets are made specifically for each person to satisfy their unique hormone requirements.
Creams and gels: Bioidentical hormones can be administered topically and absorbed via the skin as creams or gels. They can be more helpful for localized symptoms such vaginal dryness and are frequently favoured by women who do not wish to take hormones orally.
Patches: The skin is covered with bioidentical hormone patches, which gradually release hormones into circulation. This may be a handy way to give hormones to people who have difficulties remembering to take pills or put on lotions.
Injections: Bioidentical hormones can also be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously via injection. Usually, testosterone replacement treatment for males falls within this category.
When prescribing bioidentical hormones, a healthcare professional will collaborate with a compounding pharmacy to develop a special formulation that is adapted to each patient’s unique hormonal requirements. In order to provide the optimum symptom alleviation with the fewest side effects, this might include measuring hormone levels and modifying the dosage and formulation as necessary. It is crucial to remember that bioidentical hormones should only be prescribed and used under the supervision of a healthcare professional because self-administering hormones can be risky and cause major health issues.
Who should NOT take Bioidentical Hormones?
Although bioidentical hormones can be a successful treatment for some people, certain people shouldn’t use them. These are a few situations:
- Women having a history of blood clots, uterine cancer, or breast cancer should typically avoid using bioidentical hormones since they may increase their chance of developing these diseases.
- The liver is important in the metabolism of hormones, and those who have liver disease may not be able to adequately digest bioidentical hormones. The chance of problems or negative consequences may arise as a result.
- Those who have experienced a stroke, heart attack, or other cardiovascular illness in the past should not take bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones can raise the risk of blood clots, which can be hazardous for people who have experienced cardiovascular disease in the past.
- Since hormone replacement treatment might affect development in the womb it is typically not advised to be taken during pregnancy.
- Those having a history of hormone-sensitive malignancies, such as breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer should not take bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones can raise the risk of these cancers and are often not advised for anyone with this history.
Advantages and disadvantages of Bioidentical Hormones
The use of bioidentical hormones may have both benefits and drawbacks. These are a few of the most frequently mentioned:
For treating symptoms of menopause or low testosterone, bioidentical hormones may be more efficient than conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is due to the fact that they closely resemble the hormones that the body naturally produces, which may make them more effective and more tolerated for certain people.
It is possible to tailor bioidentical hormones to a person’s particular hormonal requirements. A doctor can collaborate with a compounding pharmacy to develop a hormone formulation that is customized to a patient’s individual requirements, which might result in improved symptom alleviation and fewer side effects.
Compared to synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones have fewer adverse effects. They may be better tolerated and less likely to result in side effects like breast discomfort, bloating, or mood problems since they are chemically identical to the hormones generated by the body.
The safety and effectiveness of bioidentical hormones are yet the subjects of little investigation. Further study is required to properly comprehend their effects, even though some studies have indicated that they could be safer and more effective than conventional HRT.
Similar to how conventional HRT is governed by the FDA, bioidentical hormones are not. As a result, the quality and purity of these substances may vary between various formulations or producers, which may affect the safety and efficacy of these substances.
Bioidentical hormones can be more expensive than traditional HRT. This is because they are often custom-compounded and may not be covered by insurance, which can make them cost-prohibitive for some patients.
Bioidentical hormones are not a one-size-fits-all solution. While they can be customized to an individual’s unique hormone needs, it can take time and trial and error to find the right formulation and dosage that works best for each patient. This can be frustrating and time-consuming for some patients.