What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?
The glands in our bodies create hormones, which act as chemical messengers or signals that regulate various functions and systems of the body. These hormones affect our moods, hair growth, appetite, sex drive, sleep cycle, metabolism, and so much more. Bioidentical hormones are created in the laboratory from plant sources but are chemically identical to the hormones your body naturally makes. This means that your body will recognize and utilize bioidentical hormones in the same way as the hormones you used to naturally produce. Bioidentical hormones are FDA approved for therapeutic use to treat deficient hormone levels or hormonal imbalance caused by natural aging, menopause, and other medical conditions.
What are the benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?
As your body ages, the rate at which your body produces important hormones will naturally decrease. During perimenopause and menopause, your body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone will have severely dropped off, resulting in big changes that can disrupt your physical health and psychological wellbeing. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or “BHRT” was developed as a treatment alternative to animal-derived hormone replacement therapy/HRT for correcting and restoring the body’s hormone levels. For many women undergoing perimenopause and menopause, BHRT can effectively relieve the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Lowered libido, or painful intercourse
- Disrupted sleep cycles
- Weight gain
- Brain fog (memory loss)
BHRT may also provide some anti-aging benefits for some women, such as the reduced risk of diabetes, prevention of bone loss, and improved skin vitality.
How do I take bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones can be administered in a number of ways, which include pills, patches, creams, gels, shots, and implantable pellets. Because no two patients are identical, you have the option of compounded bioidentical hormone therapy, which allows for precise hormone restoration based on your tested hormone levels. The prescribed form of treatment will be determined based on your symptoms and personal health history.
There will be an adjustment period as you begin hormone therapy. You may experience side effects as your body adapts to the new hormone levels, which can include but are not limited to:
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Acne, other changes in facial skin
- Increased facial hair
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Skin irritation (if you are using a topical application such as cream, gel, or patch
While therapy with bioidentical hormones has been beneficial for many women, not everyone is an ideal candidate for this type of treatment. BHRT is not recommended if you are at risk for blood clotting disorders, heart disease, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, or stroke for any reason.
If you are having trouble coping with severe symptoms from low or unbalanced hormones, you’re not alone. While aging and menopause may be inevitable, you can always face them on your terms. To know if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is the right solution for you, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Gurley by contacting our medical office at (615) 284-1500.