Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a treatment that uses natural hormones that are equivalent chemically to certain hormones that have been naturally lost or diminished, usually with age. They can also be used for natural hormone replacement of hormones that have been lost or reduced because of injury, a medical problem, or genetics. Right now the bioidentical hormones that are usually used include estrogen and progesterone, with the former being the most common. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can also be used in both men and women to replace testosterone, though this is both less common and more controversial right now.
Many people have found relief from their symptoms of hormone deficiencies and imbalances through traditional synthetic hormone replacement treatments, and bioidentical hormones are merely a natural outgrowth of this area. Many people are able to get the same benefits with this newer natural hormone replacement, while also enjoying the fact that the ingredients are all natural and in many cases things they have actually heard of. One common misconception about bioidentical hormones, however, is that they are always custom compounded for each individual. The fact is that these hormones can be custom made, but are not always done this way – so the bad press that bioidentical hormones get at times because a custom compounder got a formula wrong should not affect the entire BHRT field.
What Bioidentical Hormones Can Do:
Bioidentical hormones replacement therapy rebalances your hormones or provides relief if you have a natural tendency for one hormone to be too low. Depending on your particular issue, the range of symptoms that BHRT can help with includes:
Bioidentical Hormones for Women:
- Easier time with weight loss and dieting, especially in older women because hormonal imbalances and the related symptoms such as low energy can be causal. Our metabolisms do slow as we age, and natural hormone replacement cannot help too much with that, but it can help if your metabolism was even slower than it needed to be because of hormonal issues
- Healthier feeling and looking hair and nails, and often stronger nails and hair as well when these issues had hormone imbalances as their cause, which can happen. This is often a secondary effect of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and one that people are still quite happy to see.
- Smoother and younger looking skin in some cases, and clearer skin for some young people who have a hormone deficiency or imbalance often at the time of menses. This is a common way bioidentical hormones are being used in younger people, even though it is most known for its use in those who are aging.
- Decreased risk of some diseases, such as osteoporosis if the underlying hormone imbalance was causing the issue. Obviously you’d need to check with your regular doctor first. More research is needed to accurately describe what is possible in this area, and usually prevention is not the primary focus of bioidentical hormones
- Decreased depression, anxiety and stress that is caused by hormonal issues – and this improvement can be compounded by the above improvements. This is an increasingly popular way to use natural hormone replacement.
- Improved intimate drive and interest for those who saw more of a decline in this area with age than is expected. Again, some of this may be normal but for some the decline is greater than it should be and natural hormone replacement can help.
- Decreased mood swings and general irritability for many who have aged into these issues due to hormonal changes is sometimes a primary and sometimes a secondary benefit.
- Improved short and medium-term memory for a few whose difficulties were caused by hormonal issues are sometimes seen.
Bioidentical Hormones for Men:
- Decreased depression and dysthymia in those who had low T that was causing these issues, issues that men are sometimes unwilling to describe but quite happy when they resolve.
- Decreased Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and stronger intimate drive in men who aged into hormonal imbalances. Of course these are areas that men should get checked out to make sure there are not other factors.
- Lower fatigue and higher energy in all ages who had hormone deficiencies that caused these problems such as low T
- Decreased mood swings and irritability which can be caused by a variety of hormonal issues in men
- Better concentration and attention where there had been a decline that is greater than normal can be achieved through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
- Improved sleep – quality and in some cases quantity of sleep that was affected and can sometimes be improved through natural hormone replacement.
- Decreased risk of some diseases, such as osteoporosis, but check with your doctor first
How Bioidentical Hormones are Made:
Bioidentical hormones are sometimes prepared in large quantities, though as opposed to synthetics they are always made from natural ingredients. There are also “custom-compounded” bioidentical hormones that are created specifically for the person who is to be treated, with a specific mix designed to address their needs. Some people make the mistake of thinking that all bioidentical hormones must be uniquely custom-mixed and compounded. However, custom compounding is only necessary when there is a need for natural hormone replacement in combinations, doses, or means of entry (such as lozenges) that are not currently available in usual preparations. Much of the negative press about BHRT stems from problems related to custom compounding, since a less experienced compounder can get the formula wrong.
The Most Common Bioidentical hormones:
There are four basic bioidentical hormones used today, though new uses for these natural hormones are being found all the time. Right now the most common forms of therapy use:
Bioidentical Estrogen: As they age women produce less estrogen and this natural hormone can be replaced with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The actual natural hormones that are used are called Estrodil. This is by far the most common hormone that women pursue through this and traditional therapy, and it is the most studied as far as the positive effects.
Bioidentical Progesterone: Also produced is lower quantities as women age is Progesterone. Administered in both the usual capsule form and also transdermal skin patches, these natural hormones may be a primary natural hormone replacement or a secondary target. This is a fast growing segment of this natural therapy
Bioidentical Testosterone: These natural hormones can improve libido and energy in postmenopausal women and women, and is the most common form of natural hormone replacement in men. Men with low T have a wide range of symptoms that come on gradually and can be traced to this deficiency.
Bioidentical DHEA: An alternative to estradil for women, DHEA is emerging as an increasingly popular choice. It also may help some women well before menopause to improve reproductive health. By percent, this could be the fastest growing segment of all types of natural hormone replacement.
Safety and Effectiveness of Bioidentical Hormones:
There is a lot of debate over the safety and effectiveness of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy right now, though there is mounting evidence that natural hormone replacement often works very well if given by a qualified and experienced practitioner and when it has been determined that hormonal issues are truly the cause of symptoms. There is a lack of scientific study on custom compounding of bioidentical hormones because these formulas are not standardized and therefore hard to study over large groups of people. Of course it should be noted that even with more traditional hormone replacement there are risks. Our advice is simple: Choose a well established practitioner and have them work closely with the primary care physician who knows you best.
We will be presenting the world of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in an independent and unbiased way, so we will not hesitate to present safety and effectiveness concerns and issues. We have no stake in what you ultimately choose as far as the possibility of BHRT, so we can afford to show a well-rounded approach. We also welcome comments about safety and effectiveness from those who have had BHRT and want to share either their success of problems they ran into during treatment.
About This Natural Hormone Replacement Website:
This website aims to be informative and independent, but before considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy you should check with you doctor and consider all of the risks and benefits. We will cover the many uses of this type of therapy using natural; hormones, from the more well-known uses in the replacement of estrogen, to less well-known uses that might help fight sever acne in teens and low testosterone in men. We will provide updates on everything from how this natural alternative therapy can be administered, to the different preparations that are being used, to the symptoms it is being used to target.
Our Comprehensive Blog about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is the best place to get the most up-to-date information and advice about BHRT, and please note our more comprehensive topics (use the navigation bar above or to the left):
- Listing of common bioidentical hormones: Covers the major hormones that BHRT seeks to naturally replace or augment in both men and women. There are others but we choose to focus on those used most commonly and for which there is some data and experience
- Safety and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy: Takes an even look at the risks and safety issues related to this type of natural hormone replacement therapy including typical side effects, drawbacks, and less common but possible safety concerns
- Bioidentical Hormone Benefits: A Top 10 listing of the potential benefits of BHRT in men and women, focusing on management of symptoms and reduction of future problems. Again, we are unbiased and willing to present a well-rounded view, but this does not mean we are not excited about BHRT.
- Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Assessment: Covers the assessment you will have prior to your natural hormone replacement to ensure you are a good candidate for this treatment, a very important step in the process that a good practitioner will take very seriously
- Disease Prevention: Covers the research into how this natural form of natural hormone replacement may be able to cure or slow certain diseases such as osteoporosis. You would always make sure your regular doctor is aware of any nontraditional approach you are taking in these areas.
- OTC Approaches: Covers the natural nutrients and supplements you can buy over the counter that may help you produce natural hormones. While not technically bioidentical hormones, these foods may produce an effect in some people with milder symptoms
We also have an About Us page if you want to know more about why we are here.
Spring 2014 Bioidentical Hormones Update
As we approach the summer of 2014 i is clear that bioidentical hormones are building in both popularity and reputation. We see more and more doctors approach of this natural hormone replacement approach as the initial problems fade into the past. Skeptics who were turned off by the problems that were sometimes caused by practitioners who were not initially trained well enough, or those who were prescribing bioidentical hormones too widely, have changed their opinion now that there are more practitioners who are well-trained and practicing within an appropriate framework. Will there still be holdouts who feel that synthetics are safer and the way to go? Sure, and we respect that because for some people that may very well be the case. But our point in this update is that number of skeptics is decreasing.
Interestingly, the uses of bioidentical hormones has leveled off, and this is related to the above because it may signal that the field of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has perhaps started to monitor itself more and control any overuse or unproven approaches. In other words, as skepticism has decreased the field wants to keep it that way, and there is more discouragement of practitioners using these powerful ingredients outside their known and proven uses. Maybe a secondary reason is that as bioidentical hormones get more accepted there are enough patients, and happy patients more specifically, to ensure that it is not necessary to offer more and take chances that new offerings won’t actually work. Proven and safe applications work, and that’s enough to keep the field strong.
Thank you for visiting!
Here is the Wikipedia page about bioidentical hormones