Bio-Identical Hormones

Are you “out of balance”? For both men and women, as we age, an understanding of the hormonal link to a healthy mind and body has never been more important.

What are bio-identical hormones?

What is bio-identical hormone replacement?

How are bio-identical hormones used?

What does compounding bioidentical hormones mean?

What does natural hormone replacement therapy mean?

What is “natural” about hormone replacement therapy? Is there another kind?




What are bio-identical hormones?
Bio-identical hormones is medical term for what are considered to be “natural,” versus synthetic, hormones. This means that bio-identical hormones are derived from plant sources, such as soy beans or yams.

The phytoestrogens found in these plant sources are converted by enzymatic processes in a laboratory to the hormones identical to the ones produced by the body - hence the term bio (body) identical hormones.

Our bodies do not contain the enzymes required to convert the phytoestrogens to bio-identical hormones, so if one ingested the plant, there would be no effect because the body could not convert it to hormones.That is where bio-identical hormone replacement comes in.

What is bio-identical hormone replacement?
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (also called natural hormone replacement therapy) is the replacement of hormones that are normally produced by the body with hormones that are biologically identical in chemical structure and function. Only hormones which exactly match those produced by the body will have the same effects. Commercially available synthetic hormones, such as conjugated pregnant mare urine, do not produce the same desirable effects as the body’s own hormones, and may produce increased negative side effects and risks. Bio-identical hormone replacement is available in a variety of dosage forms including capsules, topical creams, vaginal creams, suppositories, injections, and more.

How are bio-identical hormones used?
Bio-identical sex hormones such as progesterone, testosterone, estrone, estradiol, and estriol are used in pre-menstrual syndrome, peri-menopause, and post-menopause in women to lessen the effects of the declines that these hormones experience in the mature years of life. They are prescribed as replacement quantities, usually based on levels acquired through saliva or blood testing. Testosterone is often used for the purpose of enhancing libido in women. It is also used to enhance bone growth. Bio-identical hormones are also used in men for the same purposes as well as others symptoms associated with andropause, which is like menopause in males.

What does compounding bioidentical hormones mean?
Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for individual patient needs.

The science of compounding bio-identical hormones addresses many problems faced by healthcare providers, and assists in meeting specific patient needs. Many patients are allergic to preservatives or dyes in standard drugs, or are lactose intolerant. A compounding pharmacist can compound bio-identical hormones and other medications that are free of preservatives, dyes, and lactose. Other patients may have a difficult time taking medications in their available form. Another benefit of compounding bio-identical hormones and other medications is the ability to change the strength, dosage form, or flavor of the commercially available drug, making it easier to take. Whether a different strength, altered dosage form, or more palatable flavor is needed, compounding bio-identical hormones can be the solution to many patients’ needs.

What does natural hormone replacement therapy mean?

Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (medically referred to as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy) is the replacement of hormones that are normally produced by the body with natural hormones that are biologically identical in chemical structure and function. Only natural hormones that exactly match those produced by the body will have the same effects in hormone therapy. Commercially available synthetic hormones do not produce the same desirable effects in hormones therapy as the body’s own natural hormones, and may produce increased negative side effects and risks.

In natural bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, the hormones can be tailored to suit each individual patient’s body, system and needs. As a result, these natural hormones are widely considered significantly less risky than their synthetic counterparts.

Natural hormones for therapy are available in a variety of dosage forms including capsules, topical or vaginal creams, gels, troches, or suppositories. Generally, those forms that are applied to the skin do not undergo a process called first pass metabolism by the liver like the forms that are swallowed. Lozenges that are placed in the cheek or under the tongue also bypass this process. Troches and lozenges can also be flavored to individual preference to make natural bio-identical hormones therapy pleasant to take.

What is “natural” about hormone replacement therapy? Is there another kind?
Natural hormones, also called “bio-identical hormones,” are hormones that are derived from natural plant material, like soybeans, or in the case of progesterone, from plant sources such as yam.

The alternative is synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the dangers of which have been widely reported by the media. Many women’s health experts are advising post-menopausal women on synthetic HRT to talk to their doctors about switching to natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Because natural, or bio-identical, hormones are chemically and structurally identical to the hormones our bodies produce, they are widely considered less risky than the artificial alternatives.

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