Frequently Asked Questions About Bioidentical Hormones
What does “bioidentical” mean?
Often called “natural” hormones, bioidentical hormones are those that have exactly the same chemical structure as the hormones produced naturally by your body. The hormones are manufactured in a lab, but are carefully tailored to match the exact form and function of the hormones our body utilizes every day.
What are bioidentical hormones made from?
There are two ways that the bioidentical hormones used by Freedom Healthcare are produced. Estradiol, progesterone and testosterone are derived from soy protein, which is then modified to be an exact replica of the hormones naturally produced in your body. HGH is produced through recombinant DNA technology, and HCG is human derived. Each hormone treatment you receive is engineered to be a perfect fit for the chemical receptors in your body.
How do bioidentical hormones compare to synthetic hormones?
Synthetic hormones, like Provera® and Premarin® closely resemble natural hormones, but not exactly. This means that they mostly fit the hormone receptors in our bodies, but not completely. Synthetic hormones are designed to alleviate specific symptoms, and to react closely to how our natural hormones react in certain instances, but they don’t have the exact same reaction as our own hormones do, especially in unintended tissues. These unintended reactions come in the form of side effects, like an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer.
Bioidentical hormones are not associated with the risky side effects of synthetic hormones because they have the exact same chemical structure as the hormones naturally produced by our bodies. These hormones fit our hormone receptors exactly, and are indistinguishable by our receptors from our natural hormones. Bioidentical hormones do not have an unknown effect on unintended tissues, because they behave in exactly the same way as our natural hormones do, throughout our entire bodies. Rather than having side effects associated with them, bioidentical hormones have side benefits, as they improve our overall health and well being.
What if I have, or am at risk for, a condition that could be worsened by hormone replacement therapy?
Some patients that could benefit from hormone replacement therapy are advised not to use it if they have, or are at risk for, certain conditions. Breast cancer, endometrial cancer, blood clots, and Factor V Leiden all have an increased risk factor when combined with hormone replacement therapy, so they’re not good candidates for traditional hormone replacement therapy. The increased risk of these conditions is a side effect of synthetic hormone therapy, and is the result of using hormones that don’t function in exactly the same way that your natural hormones do.
Bioidentical hormones have exactly the same chemical structure as your natural hormones do. They react with all of the tissues in the body just as the hormones your body produces do, so the side effects associated with them are non-existent in almost all cases. Many people who are ineligible for synthetic hormone replacement therapy due to the risk for breast cancer or other conditions can find relief with Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. In fact, the risk of breast cancer and other conditions is actually reduced in most cases where BHRT is used, because the entire body is brought into balance.
What Conditions Can be Treated With BHRT?
Basically any decline in health that is a result of the aging process can be improved with the help of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Hormones are chemical messengers sent out by our brains that tell our entire body how to function. As we age, hormone production declines, and the negative effects of this can be felt in a variety of ways. Decreased sex drive, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and a whole book of other disorders, diseases, and conditions can be caused by a hormonal imbalance.
Besides reducing the symptoms of many medical conditions, bringing the hormones back into balance with BHRT has some fringe benefits that can improve even non-hormonal conditions. BHRT boosts the immune system so it can fight disease more efficiently. It increases the energy production capabilities of individual cells, which improves focus, memory, and energy levels throughout our bodies. BHRT also improves circulation and the boy’s natural anti-inflammatory efforts, which can improve conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis.
What are the administration methods for bioidentical hormones?
The way you receive your doses of bioidentical hormones depends on the specific hormones you need to become balanced, and on your personal preference. Hormones are self-administered twice a day using the following methods:
- Transdermal creams: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone
- Oral Capsules: Melatonin, pregnenolone, progesterone, DHEA
- Subcutaneous injections: HGH, HCG (using ultra-fine insulin needles)
What are the side effects of BHRT?
One of the main benefits of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead of synthetic hormone replacement therapy is that there are relatively very few side effects. None of the patients that we’ve worked with have reported any long term side effects from BHRT. Some short term side effects have been reported as the body adjusts to increased hormone levels and include tender breasts and swollen joints. These side effects are quickly remedied by adjusting hormone levels.
How long will I need BHRT?
The body’s inability to produce adequate hormone levels as we age is a permanent condition, but it’s one that can be fixed using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Patients should continue with the therapy for as long as they wish to receive relief from their symptoms. Our experienced medical staff will monitor your hormone levels periodically to make sure that all of your needs are being met, and to ensure that you continue to benefit as much as possible from BHRT. If you choose to stop the program, your body will return to it’s previous levels of hormone production.
What about the negative side effects of testosterone therapy for men?
Thanks to bodybuilders and professional athletes that take testosterone supplementation to the extreme, testosterone replacement therapy has gotten some bad press. Virtually all of the problems surrounding testosterone therapy on the level of bodybuilders are non-existent for the average individual, especially when using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Let’s look at some of the common myths surrounding testosterone replacement therapy, and what the truth behind them is:
- Myth #1- Testosterone converts to estrogen during replacement therapy: When you’re younger (in your 20s and 30s) and your body is in top-testosterone-producing shape, you never had to worry about that testosterone being converted to estrogen. That’s because the body doesn’t have this problem when it is simply managing normal levels of natural testosterone. Estrogen conversion problems only crop up when large amounts of synthetic drugs are administered on a too-frequent basis. Using bioidentical hormones in an appropriate amount will produce a natural reaction in your body that resembles your youthful self.
- Myth #2- Testosterone therapy increases the risk of prostate cancer: There is no indication in medical research that testosterone therapy increases the risk of prostate cancer. On the contrary, new research shows that testosterone therapy actually REDUCES the risk of prostate cancer.
- Myth #3- Testosterone therapy will cause hair loss: The testosterone-hair loss link is caused by the body’s inclination to convert testosterone to DHT, which is responsible for male pattern baldness. This inclination varies from person to person, and is based on genetics. The good news is that if you are predisposed to male pattern baldness, and need testosterone replacement therapy to improve your health, we can offset the increase in DHT to prevent the conversion.
How do women benefit from testosterone replacement therapy?
Testosterone is a hormone that is naturally produced by both men and women, and it’s one of the main hormones that decreases with age. Although women only need about 1% the dose of testosterone that men need during BHRT, that little bit comes with huge health benefits, especially when combined with progesterone.