Bioidentical Hormone Treatment

What Is Bioidentical Hormone Treatment?

Bioidentical hormone treatment uses manufactured hormones to treat various medical issues. In many cases, the hormones used in bioidentical hormone treatment are customized to suit a patient’s specific needs. Proponents argue this makes bioidentical hormones more equipped at treating specific conditions, especially for patients who have failed to respond to traditional hormone replacement therapy. 

Bioidentical hormones can help adjust hormone levels and may also help treat various medical issues. However, there is no medical consensus about the efficacy of bioidentical hormones, and their long-term effects are unclear. Below, we will provide a brief overview of BHRP to help you determine whether it’s right for you. 

What Are Bioidentical Hormones? 

Bioidentical hormones are man-man hormones similar to hormones produced naturally in the human body. Common bioidentical hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, although many hormones are matched depending on patient need. 

Bioidentical hormones sometimes come pre-made by a drug company. The FDA has approved several premade bioidentical hormones, which are molecularly identical to hormones naturally produced by the human body. 

However, sometimes a pharmacist will make customized bioidentical hormones based on a doctor’s instructions. These are called compounded hormones. Compounded hormones are designed based on hormone levels found in saliva, blood, and urine tests. 

Bioidentical hormones are made from plant estrogens typically derived from cactus, soy, or wild yams. Despite being drawn from plants, the structures and functions of bioidentical hormones are the same as those of hormones made by your body. 

What Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Treat? 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is most frequently used to treat menopause or perimenopause. However, doctors have identified other potential medical benefits of bioidentical hormones in recent years. 

Bioidentical hormones are sometimes used to ease side effects from cancer treatments such as migraines, incontinence, and insomnia. BHRT can also potentially treat:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoporosis. 

Bioidentical hormones may also reduce your risk for diabetes, cataracts, and tooth loss. Some evidence indicates bioidentical hormone therapy may help improve cosmetic issues like wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. 

How Are Bioidentical Hormones Administered? 

Bioidentical hormones can be administered in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Injections 
  • Implanted pellets
  • Patches
  • Gels 
  • Creams 

Before undergoing BHRT, your doctor will assess your needs and determine the best technique for administering bioidentical hormones.

What Happens During Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy? 

Your doctor will determine your optimal bioidentical hormone dose based on various tests, including blood, urine, and saliva tests. Your doctor starts with the lowest possible dosage required to get your desired results and may work their way up from there.   

A medical team very closely monitors patients undergoing BHRT to ensure their safety. You will have routine tests throughout BHRT to check hormone levels, and your doctor may adjust your dosage as needed. 

Are Bioidentical Hormones Better Than Natural Hormones?

Evidence is unclear as to whether bioidentical hormones work better than natural hormones. For some patients, bioidentical hormones may be a superior choice. Compounded bioidentical hormones are customized to patient need. For patients who fail to get the right dose or mix of hormones through traditional therapy, BHRP may help.

However, no one therapy is suitable for every patient. A consultation with a medical professional can help you determine whether BHRP is right for you. 

Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?

Premade bioidentical hormones are FDA-tested for purity and safety, but compounded hormones are not. This has led to some concerns about safety. 

There is little current research on the long-term effects of bioidentical hormones. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, bioidentical hormones have not been proven to be safe or unsafe for medical use. Every medical treatment has risks. Some patients have experienced weight gain, blurred vision, acne, indigestion, and mood swings while undergoing BHRP. Talk to your doctor right away if you experience any unusual side effects during treatment. 

Working with a reputable provider is the best way to ensure your health and safety during BHRT. As we discussed earlier, patients should be monitored very closely during any type of hormonal therapy. A trustworthy practitioner will require a thorough consultation before beginning BHRT and monitor your hormone levels throughout treatment. 

Bioidentical Hormone Treatment: The Bottom Line 

Bioidentical hormones may help balance hormone levels and treat certain medical conditions for some patients. However, most compounded bioidentical hormones are not FDA approved. If you decide to undergo BHRT, work with a provider with experience administering bioidentical hormones. 
Interested in BHRT? At CORR, our team has experience providing innovative medical treatment and comprehensive therapies tailored to individual patients’ needs. Reach out today to learn more.