HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR WOMEN
Are hormones driving you crazy?
Are you debilitated at a certain time of the month? Do you eat less and less but keep gaining weight? Does it seem like menopause is arriving ahead of schedule? These are all signs of hormonal imbalance, a growing problem that most doctors are not equipped to solve.
The problem isn’t in your head
“It’s stress.” “You must be depressed.” “You’re getting older.” When women seek help, that’s what doctors typically say, as they scribble a prescription for anti-depressants. The drugs mask how a woman really feels. Yet the very real, physical causes of the problem are ignored.
Hormonal imbalances ― no matter what triggered them ― can be corrected with the right type of treatment: bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, available by prescription.
What are bioidentical hormones?
The word “bioidentical” means that a substance is biologically identical to one made by your body. For example, the molecules that make up bioidentical progesterone are shaped exactly like your own progesterone. In contrast, the progesterone in birth control pills is similar to, but not exactly like your own hormone.
Consider the different effects: Your own progesterone is essential to conceive a child, while the progesterone in birth control pills ― let’s call it “synthetic” ― prevents pregnancy. Not surprisingly, the synthetic progesterone disrupts the way your own hormones function.
Bioidentical progesterone is exactly the same as your own progesterone and can actually relieve side effects of birth control pills ― without reducing their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
Estrogen can also be a synthetic form that increases health risks. Some prescriptions, for example, are made from the urine of pregnant mares. However, bioidentical estrogen is exactly the same as your own estrogen. It relieves symptoms and reduces health risks.
Symptoms relieved by BHRT
Used correctly, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy restores balance and relieves symptoms such as these:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
- Dry skin
- Sagging breasts
- Tender breasts
- Brain fog
- Memory lapses
- Lack of energy
Is hormone replacement dangerous?
A large study, the Women’s Health Initiative, found that synthetic estrogen and progesterone increased risk of breast cancer, heart attack, blood clots, and stroke. However, other research shows that a combination of bioidentical estrogen and progesterone does not increase risk and one bioidentical type of estrogen, estriol, protects against breast cancer.We can’t see most health risks until something happens. For example, a bone breaks from a minor injury but long before that, osteoporosis was silently developing. These are some key risks that BHRT reduces:
- 50% less risk of stroke and heart attack
- 50% less risk of broken bones from osteoporosis
- 80% less risk of Alzheimer’s
- 40% less risk of osteoarthritis
- 40% less risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss
- 30% less risk of colon cancer
What hormones do I need?
Although estrogen and progesterone are commonly viewed as the key female hormones, there are others that directly affect a woman’s health and well being. These include testosterone, DHEA (a precursor to other hormones), and growth hormone. And, thyroid hormone disorders are very common.
Each woman’s situation is unique. Individual needs must be determined by testing, considering symptoms, and prescribing to achieve balance.