Is BHRT safe?
From night sweats and fatigue to mood swings and irritability, many women experience a wide range of symptoms that prevents them from enjoying everyday life as they enter menopause. For decades, traditional hormone replacement therapy was the go-to recommendation from physicians when it came to treating menopausal symptoms, but today’s woman is looking for something safer, more natural and less detrimental to her long-term health. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT may be the solution.
Addressing Menopausal Symptoms
Not every woman who goes through menopause experiences extreme symptoms. Some women may simply go through a few months of occasional night sweats while others suffer an increase in migraines or emotional outbursts. Unfortunately, some women experience significant symptoms, ones that interfere with daily life and wreak havoc on mental, emotional and physical well-being. These include extreme tiredness, inability to concentrate, emotional unrest, bloating, weight gain and loss of sexual desire, among others.
The key to treating hormone imbalance is to understand how it’s affecting you. If you’re able to maintain a relatively normal schedule without drastic interruptions, then you may not need to undergo treatment. Lifestyle changes, such as a balanced diet and routine exercise, might be enough to help you cope. If not, then BHRT is a safe and effective way to get relief.
How BHRT Works
Bio-identical hormones are drawn from nature, such as hormones from wild yams. Synthetics are typically made using hormones from pregnant mares, and while it might seem that an animal substitute would work better than a plant-based one, the hormones that are created from plant-based sources are actually identical to a woman’s natural hormones on a molecular level. The body responds better to bio-identical treatment options because it can’t distinguish between the BHRT and what the ovaries would naturally produce. BHRT is administered in four ways:
Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, creams and pills can be ineffective if not administered appropriately, but pills are the most common hormone replacement option. However, pellet therapy is particularly effective because the pellets are placed under the skin, and they administer a correct dosage of hormones in response to the body’s needs. Your doctor can discuss each option with you if you feel that BHRT may improve your life.
A Safer, More Natural Approach
Unlike traditional hormone replacement options, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is tailored to each patient on an individual basis. A clinician will test your hormone levels, determine the issues that are most pressing to you and write a prescription for BHRT that addresses those concerns. A compounding pharmacy then fills the order. Bio-identical hormones are a safer option for many patients because they mimic the body’s natural hormone production. As a result, you won’t need as many treatments. Synthetic hormone therapy works on the premise that you need as little as possible for as short a duration as possible. By contrast, bio-identical HRT can be taken for the rest of your life if you need the relief.
There are still controversies associated with BHRT, primarily because individual treatments and compounded hormones are not approved or regulated by the FDA. The reason for this is because each person receives a unique dosage, making it impossible for one regulating agency to monitor and approve each course of treatment.
Pharmaceutical companies may also play a role since bio-identical hormones cannot be patented, and patented treatments drive the prescription medication industry. Synthetic hormones, which can increase the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, are regulated by the FDA. As a patient, you can choose a method that works for you. For thousands of women, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is the answer.