Frequently Asked Questions
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Q. My doctor said there is no safe hormonal replacement therapy. Is this true?
The Women’s Health Study of 2002 has proven the use of synthetic hormones is not a healthy way to replace women’s hormones. When all the available hormone studies were evaluated, the conclusion was that taking synthetic hormone replacement caused adverse side effects that could lead to complications, such as breast cancer, heart disease and more.
Although BHRT or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy has been available for many years, this is when the interest inbioidentical hormones became heightened as a safe and effective alternative to synthetic hormone replacement. Unfortunately, many doctors are either unaware of this alternative or are not knowledgeable enough to administer treatment properly.
Q. Have there been any medical studies done on the safety and efficacy of bio-identical hormones?
There are reputable published studies over a period of many decades confirming the safety of using bio-identical hormones. There is even some data available that suggests bio-identical hormonal replacement may offer some cardiovascular protection, prevention and amelioration of bone loss and prevention and treatment of breast and other reproductive cancers. These materials are available on request.
Q.What is the source(s) from which bio-identical hormones are derived and how are bio-identical hormones produced?
Bio-identical hormones are derived from botanical plants such as yams, for example. The human body cannot convert yams directly into natural hormones, so the plant must be pharmaceutically processed to produce bio-identical or ‘human-identical’ progesterone, estrogens and testosterone. These final products are either applied on the skin or taken orally in pill form by the patient.
Q. I’ve read that hormone replacement therapy mimics the body’s natural hormones but doesn’t really replace them like bio-identical hormones do. What’s the difference?
When synthetic hormones flood the receptor sites, they do not differentiate the hormone receptor sites and may also attach to the receptor sites of many other steroid hormone receptors. As is often the case in nature, more is not always better. When the other receptor sites are flooded they often shut down their function and are no longer able to perform normally. You now have the potential for unwanted chemical alterations that lead to adverse symptoms. The difference with bio-identical hormones is they are identified in the human body as human-identical. The hormone is adopted and processed by the receptors with no harmful by-products.
Q. Will bio-identical hormones help with symptoms like hot flashes, sleepless nights, and memory problems?
Natural progesterone is very effective in the treatment of hot flashes, mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia and numerous other symptoms. Transdermal progesterone cream used in the evening has a mild, relaxing sedative effect. Some women, depending on test results and symptom resolution may respond positively to progesterone treatment alone, thereby not requiring any other bio-identical replacement, such as estrogen and/or testosterone. Bio-identical estrogen can also improve insomnia as well as night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and cognitive and memory issues. We have found that patients report improved memory with the use of bio-identical estrogens as lubrication of brain synapses seems to allow quicker cognition, alleviating this common symptom occurring with menopause and aging. Bio-identical testosterone assists in alleviating other symptoms such as low sex drive in women and men, erectile dysfunction in men, inflammation, depression and lack of enthusiasm or motivation.
Q. How can bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) programs help fight the symptoms of aging?
Bio-identical natural hormones are anti-inflammatory and therefore anti-aging by the nature of their action. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone along with many other hormones, have a role in cell regeneration. Healthy hormonal balance = healthy cellular activity, inside and out. We regularly counsel our patients that one of the most powerful ways to eliminate belly fat is to do strength-training or resistance exercise. This stimulates the production of testosterone which works, amongst other things, to burn fat and contribute to graceful aging.
Q. How do I know if BHRT is right for me?
Click Here on the Bio-identical Hormone Therapy section of our Home Page and take the Hormone Health Assessment partway down the 1st page or two. If you have checked 3 boxes or more then you may wish to book an appointment with David Sloan who specializes in Hormonal Imbalance and BHRT to discuss your personal issues and history in more detail.
Q. I’ve heard that there are different types of BHRT. Is this True?
Yes there are a variety of different forms of BHRT, all of which have their individual benefits. Some of the most commonly used forms are:
- Oral/Rectal/Vaginal Suppositories
- Patches, Creams, Lotions and Gels