Published on February 27th, 2023 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.0
Bioidentical Hormones for Women: What, Why and How
Unlike men, all women can expect over the course of their lives to see their sex hormone levels, plummet to nearly undetectable levels. This drop may begin years before menopause (i.e., during perimenopause) or at the onset of menopause. Menopause may occur from as early as age 40 to as late as the late 50’s. Peri (or pre-) menopause and menopause are characterized by a well-known constellation of symptoms, most prominent of which are “hot flashes”, often causing drenching sweats and disrupting sleep. These symptoms often lead sufferers to consider relief from hormones. Here are some FAQs about hormone replacement therapy:
1 – What are bioidentical hormones? While the popular pharmaceutical hormones do indeed act in a similar fashion in some ways to our natural hormones, the active part of these drugs is bonded to one or more synthetic components to intentionally make them “not natural”, marketing them as “patent-able”, brand name entities. In distinction, bioidentical hormones have the precise chemical makeup as our inherent hormones, and so, act PRECISELY as natural hormones do in our bodies They are not “foreign” to the body,
2 – What are the benefits of BIHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy)?
Not only can hormones eliminate menopausal hot flashes, but short and longer term, they play multiple positive roles. They enhance sleep, improve cognition/prevent dementia, support bone strength and heart health, enhance GI function, maintain youthful skin and hair, provide vaginal lubrication, increase libido, and improve mood.
3 – How long should one take hormones? Considering the many benefits of sex hormones for women, the answer is really “As long as you want to continue to experience these benefits.”
4 – Are sex hormones safe? They are entities inherent to the body, not foreign or modified. In the famous WHO study showing that hormones increased the risk of breast cancer, it was a synthetic version of progesterone (i.e., a pseudo-progesterone) that was linked to cancer risk. No such relationship has been shown with natural hormones. In fact, natural progesterone cream applied to an inflamed breast can calm and reverse early signs of pre-cancer.
5 – What is the best way to use BIHRT?
Hormones are properly used “in concert”. This means that a formulation should include all hormones that are deficient to work at its best, so, not only estrogen and progesterone, but also several other hormones that derive from the adrenal glands, including testosterone, as indicated by lab testing. The optimal way to create the ideal blend for an individual is to have a customized prescription cream formula prepared by a specialized “compounding “pharmacy, though other formats (e.g., lozenges, pellet inserts) are possible as well. The ultimate decision is made by doctor and patient as a “team”.
6 – How are hormones monitored? Dosing adjustments are based on periodic lab testing, ultrasounds, and attention to patient symptoms/well-being. Importantly, an array of nutrients is used to protect against breast and gynecological cancers.
To maximize results, seek a physician experienced in customizing and monitoring hormones for you. A standard “cookie-cutter” prescription for non-bioidentical pharmaceutical preparations simply cannot provide all the long term benefits you seek nor the safety you deserve.
Robin Ellen Leder, M.D., was mentored by Robert Atkins, M.D., author of The Atkins Diet. She has been providing alternative medical care, including intravenous treatments, for more than 30 years at A Better Alternative Medical Center, in Hackensack.