As you age, your hormones can change and cause various symptoms. The endocrine system makes hormones, and they affect multiple systems of the body. If there is an imbalance, it can influence your libido, fertility, weight, mood, energy levels, and more. Hormone replacement therapy can help support the body’s hormones back into a more natural balance, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that can help both men and women.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormones are artificial (synthetic) versions of hormones that are made in the endocrine system. Structurally and chemically identical to human hormones, bioidentical hormones may be derived from natural sources but are made in a lab. Both men and women may benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
What Does BHRT Help?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help with symptoms that are related to hormonal imbalances. Some of those symptoms include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Symptoms of menopause
- Bone density loss
- Decreased libido
- Temperature dysregulation
Some people may confuse BHRT with compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (cBHRT). BHRT is commercially available doses of bioidentical hormones that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Compounded BHRT includes custom compounded recipes that are mixed in a pharmacy. These formulas generally include a mixture of standard BHRT and nonhormonal ingredients, and cBHRT has not been approved by the FDA.
How Do I Take BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is available in many different forms, including the following:
- Oral pills, tablets, and capsules
- Vaginal capsules
- Oral oils
- Topical gels, solutions, creams, and sprays that are applied to the skin
- Vaginal and rectal suppositories
- Pellets that are implanted under the skin
BHRT Versus Traditional HRT
Hormone replacement therapy is used to replace low levels of hormones. Even in cases where levels may not completely be restored, the treatments are often enough to help alleviate symptoms. There are differences between traditional hormone replacement therapy and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Traditional HRT has synthetic hormones that are made in the lab and are FDA-approved doses that come prepackaged. BHRT uses synthetic hormones that are the most identical to those that are made in the body. They come in commonly used, standard doses that are also FDA-approved.
For younger women or those in the early stages of menopause, the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks. Over the last few decades, BHRT has become the preferred form of HRT for many men and women. Some of the benefits of BHRT include safety, customization, and the fact they are the exact duplicates of hormones made in the body.
Both patients and healthcare providers have reservations about using HRT, and some feel that BHRT can be a safer option than HRT. BHRT can be mixed with cBHRT to create personalized doses for people based on symptoms, hormone levels, and preferences. Bioidentical hormones are more similar to those naturally made in the body.
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