Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Q & A
What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?
The process of menopause gets triggered by the fall in estrogen levels, as your ovaries decrease production. This changes the hormone balance in your body and triggers the physical symptoms commonly associated with menopause.
What symptoms can BHRT treat?
Hormone replacement therapy has long been recognized as the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms. While each woman experiences menopause differently, common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disruptions
- Vaginal atrophy
- Reduced sex drive
- Frequent urination and/or urinary incontinence
In 2002, a study showed that women receiving a particular combination hormone replacement product had a statistically higher rate of developing heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.
This started a movement away from hormone replacement therapy, both on the part of doctors and patients, even though the increased risks were relatively small. Bioidentical hormones, already in development, were subsequently introduced to better match a woman’s natural hormonal chemistry.
What is a bioidentical hormone?
Since there’s no practical way to harvest human estrogen to make supplements, it must be manufactured. This can be done in numerous ways, resulting in synthetic estrogens that can relieve menopause symptoms. However, some of these replacement products don’t perfectly match the molecules and chemical composition of the estrogen produced by your body.
That’s where bioidentical hormones come in. Though manufactured, these are created with an identical molecular structure to the estrogen made by your body. The theory behind BHRT is that identical hormones will improve menopause symptoms, as all forms of estrogen do, and the chemically identical molecules will match your body’s receptors, preventing the risk of side effects.
While research hasn’t confirmed this yet statistically, hormone replacement therapy remains the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms. BHRT potentially adds another layer of safety.
Is BHRT available for men?
Yes. Though usually much less intense than menopause in women, men can experience a similar condition called andropause. Instead of estrogen, men tend to see a decrease in testosterone as they get older. Bioidentical testosterone works in a similar way to bioidentical estrogen, to relieve the effects of falling hormone levels.
To find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you, call Dr. Wang’s office or book an appointment online.