Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, or simply BHRT, is used to treat those who have low or imbalanced hormones in their bodies. It uses genetically engineered hormones quite the same as those naturally produced by the body. These hormones become chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream and control most of the body’s essential bodily functions.
Unlike traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical hormone replacement therapy uses hormones derived from plant estrogens chemically identical to those the human body produces. This procedure is becoming quite popular nowadays, so it is crucial to know the basics, especially if you want to experience this.
Here are some Q&As on everything there is to know about BHRT.
Q: “Why do we use bio-identical hormones?”
A: Levels of some significant hormones in our body decline as we age, both in men and women. Some of these hormones are estrogen and progesterone for females and testosterone for males. This hormone decline may lead to some symptoms and are very common in women past menstrual periods or menopause. Other effects common for those who have low hormones are:
- Gaining weight
- Energy loss
- Muscle mass loss
- Sleeping problems
- Foggy thinking
- Mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Night sweating
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Losing interest in sex
As a result, hormone levels will increase and improve symptoms since the therapy involves hormone replacement lost over time. With this, you should always take equality into consideration between the benefits and risks of BHRT. Doctors discuss all options most suitable for their client’s preference using therapy guides, so it is best to consult them first.
Q: “Are bio-identical hormones common?”
A: The most common type of bio-identical hormones in the U.S. are the compounded ones, typically for menopausal women. According to the North American Menopause Society, or NAMS, approximately 1.4 million females undergo this treatment, or 40% among all hormone therapy prescriptions for menopausal females. However, the percentage of men using BHRT is not shown.
Q: “How do doctors select their client’s dose?”
A: Through meticulous and thorough observations, doctors adjust doses based on their patient’s symptoms and particular needs. They keep the dose to its minimum requirement in achieving the best desired outcome. Doctors may make dose adjustments based on relative hormone needs and may use routine blood, saliva, or urine tests in checking hormone levels. However, the FDA does not recommend using hormone level checking as a dosing guide for women because of the fluctuation in normal day-to-day levels and varies per patient.
Q: “Are bio-identical hormones proven safe?”
A: FDA-approved and tested for safety, bio-identical hormones are proven safe and have passed the agency’s strict standards. Further research is still needed about the long-term effects of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, even though its effectiveness has now been widespread. Bio-identical hormones and BHRT are safe, but more research needs to be completed in the future.
Q: “Is it bad to use compounded bio-identical hormones?”
A: Compounded bio-identical hormones are the much riskier type to take. In some instances, they have been proven to be the right choice, although the right source, dose, or mix of hormones are needed for every patient. In addition, pre-made forms may create a bad reaction in some patients, so it is still best to consult your doctor for the best type for you.
Q: “Are there risks in using bio-identical hormones?”
A: Yes, there are some risks as there are benefits in taking bio-identical hormones and BHRT in general. Primarily, older concerned women may increase blood clots, strokes, gallbladder. They may develop heart disease and breast cancer for those who use hormone therapy for more extended periods than usual. But many doctors claim the use of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to be much safer than the standard hormone replacement therapy. However, much more research to better support these claims is still very much needed.
Q: “Are there side effects undergoing bio-identical hormone replacement therapy?”
A: With the body not being used to using a new level of hormones through BHRT, side effects may occur after the first dose of treatment. Some side effects may be due to a particular hormone mixture. In contrast, many side effects get better as the body becomes well-adjusted to these new hormone levels. Some of the most common ones are:
- Blurry vision
- Mood changes
- Weight increase
- Breast tenderness
- Increase hair in the face of women
In addition, redness or itchiness around where you got the shot or where the hormones are applied using creams, gels, or patches may occur in some cases. It is best not to panic if these symptoms happen. Consulting your doctor will be the best thing to do in situations like this.
Q: “Is there a need to talk to my healthcare provider about this?”
A: Only seek the help of your healthcare provider if you have been experiencing prolonged bad side effects after your bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Suppose these side effects are no longer manageable or do not disappear in the shortest of time. In that case, it might be because you have a very high hormone level. Best go to your doctor for immediate and permanent solutions for these side effects.
Before undergoing BHRT, the best thing to do is consult your doctor first so that all the necessary information is discussed and explained to you before your treatment. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is proven safe and can only be effective if the right type and dose are given to each patient. So take time to research this first to produce the best results for your body and reduce the risks of side effects in the long run. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT is one of the innovations that can become the future and may change the medical field eventually.This article is already jam-packed with information necessary for you to make that decision in undergoing BHRT. If you still have questions, best consult and talk to our friends from Forma Medical Aesthetics and have your answers addressed today!