Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) involves the targeted administration of specific hormones in order to replace those not being made by the body, or those not being made in sufficient quantities. Hormone imbalances can occur at any time in a woman’s life, from teenage years to menopause. For many women, use of bioidentical hormones results in dramatically improved quality of life, particularly around menopause. Symptoms of hormone imbalance and/ or deficiency commonly include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, difficulty concentrating/ poor memory, fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, other mood changes, and difficulty losing weight. In women who have a menstrual cycle, their cycle may become irregular and there may be exacerbation of PMS symptoms and/or cramping. Hormone imbalances are also be implicated in younger women who suffer from menstrual cramps, PMS, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Use of bioidentical hormones corrects these imbalances, improves health and wellbeing, and results in effective symptom relief.
Bioidentical hormones are distinct from conventional hormone replacement therapy in that bioidentical hormones are structurally the same as the hormones produced by the body. Bioidentical hormones therefore have an excellent safety profile and do not carry the risks that have been well documented with synthetic or conventional hormone therapy, which include increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer. Synthetic estrogens and progestins are structurally different from hormones naturally produced by the body; they therefore have very different effects on the body, in particular on tissues including the heart and breast tissue. On the other hand, studies on bioidentical hormone therapy, in particular bioidentical progesterone, have shown that it may actually reduce disease risk (1,2).
At Bolton Naturopathic Clinic, our Bioidentical Hormone Program includes comprehensive laboratory testing, assessing your blood levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones before hand and periodically throughout treatment to ensure optimal dosing and effectiveness.
1. Holtorf K. The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy? Postgrad Med. 2009 Jan;121(1):73-85. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179815 and full text here: http://www.holtorfmed.com/pdf/01-Bioidentical-hormone-debate.pdf
2. Fournier A, Berrino F, Clavel-Chapelon F. Unequal risks for breast cancer associated with different hormone replacement therapies: results from the E3N cohort study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Jan;107(1):103-11. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17333341