Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is one of the most popular treatments to turn to these days, but what is it exactly? Is it safe? Where exactly do these hormones come from?
Obviously, hormones are natural – we all have them in our bodies, and we all need them in order to survive. But are the hormones in our bodies the same kind of hormones used in bio-identical hormone replacement? Let’s take a look.
Hormones perform very important roles in our bodies and are vital to our very survival. They control so many aspects of our bodies, including our sleep-wake cycles, our energy levels, our physical stamina, our natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms, our immune systems, our hair/skin/nails, and so much more. While you may already know that hormones are a huge factor in regulating menstrual cycles and sustaining healthy sex drives, you may not have associated them with healthy bone growth, protection from heart disease &/or managing healthy body composition.
The main hormones that are naturally present in our bodies are cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The normal aging process and certain medical conditions in the body can create imbalances in these hormones, which then lead to dysfunction in their actions. This is when we begin to experience symptoms. When they are symptoms of depression, migraines, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, andropause, polycystic ovary syndrome, or sexual dysfunction, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may provide relief.
BHRT is not a new therapy – it has actually been used in the US since the 1980’s, but has significantly grown in popularity over the last 1-2 decades. It is now highly sought after due to the rising age of Baby Boomers who are now experiencing declining hormones and the symptoms that typically go along with that decline. In a society where looking young is so valued & “important”, and the fact that synthetic hormone replacement has numerous negative side effects, BHRT has become the best option for many people looking to slow the aging process and optimize their health.
In the 1990’s, a 15-year, $725 million study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) determined that synthetic hormones, like Premarin and Prempro, were found to cause high risks of heart disease, breast cancer and numerous other health issues in women. Because of the shocking discoveries of how harmful the synthetic hormones were and their dangerous side effects, the WHI study was cut short three years early in 2002. Sadly, this study created a narrative that hormone replacement should be completely avoided due to extreme risks. But that narrative did not distinguish between synthetic hormones and bio-identical hormones, so many women were told to stop their hormones but were not given any alternatives to address their symptoms.
Well, those days are over. There are alternatives. Healthy alternatives. Safe alternatives. Alternatives that work. The alternative is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
In a nutshell, bio-identical hormones are hormones that are structurally identical to our body’s own hormones, which means that they exactly mimic the hormones that your body already produces. This also means that there are virtually little to no negative side effects. Bio-Identical Hormones are prepared from natural resources – typically soy or yam. Since our bodies cannot do it on their own, a lab is needed to adapt the soy and yam into the actual hormones and then make them structurally identical to our own human hormones. Our bodies can then use these bio-identical hormones to replace the hormones that are missing or low. BHRT is an art and a science that tries to match the proper rhythmic patterns of our hormones in the exact amounts that our bodies naturally produce them.
Both women and men can benefit from BHRT, and it’s been proven to help a range of hormonal deficiencies in both. It’s now possible to produce bio-identical forms of the 3 main forms of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenolone, DHEA, and cortisol. Since both females and males have varying amounts of all of these hormones in their bodies, BHRT is beneficial and highly effective for both women and men.
Did you know you can also use BHRT to treat non-hormonal conditions? Ask us about treating hair loss, acne, depression/anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, pain, focus issues, and more.
You can receive bio-identical hormones through a variety of delivery methods, such as creams, lozenges, capsules/pills, suppositories, injections, or pellets. Bio-identical hormones require a prescription that can only be filled at a Compounding Pharmacy. This assures that the proper forms of hormones, in the proper amounts, are being administered.
Dr. Roxie Strand, at Creative Healing Solutions in Scottsdale AZ, is a trained naturopathic physician who is highly knowledgeable in BHRT. She will perform & evaluate the proper testing for you, and may then write a prescription with individualized dosages of the exact needed hormones based on your medical history and results. Please call Creative Healing Solutions to talk with Dr. Strand about your options and to see if BHRT might be just what you need to feel healthy again!