Many people ask the question “Are bioidentical hormones safe?”, and are frustrated with the range of answers they get back. There is no clear answer, as much as people often want a yes or a no. In fact, the best way to answer the question “are bioidentical hormones safe?” is to break the question up in two ways:
Are bioidentical hormones safer?
This question factors out whether hormone replacement therapy as a whole is safe. In other words, since there are certain risks of both natural and synthetic approaches, you need to compare the approaches to each other as opposed to trying to answer the question in a vacuum. So what is the answer? Basically natural hormones are no safer than synthetic hormones. Professionals in the field when asked are bioidentical hormones safe will state that they are derived from plants and not synthesized in a lab. This is true and may be an advantage in some ways, yet it does not mean that they are necessarily safer. And it should be noted that the procedure to pull the chemicals out of the plants still involves a process that is similar. And the makers of synthetic will remind you that many of their chemicals are also derived from plants.
The makers of natural hormones will also will also say that the custom compounding process creates a unique formula for everyone, and that this is safer than synthetics which are made through one approach. There is some potential that this might make bioidentical hormones safer, the problem persists that there are no conclusive studies and that there are still some quality issues at many of these pharmacies. commercially produced preparations. This is an area we will need to follow closely, because it does have the potential to separate natural hormone therapies from synthetics.
Are bioidentical hormones safe?
The above describes whether natural hormones are safer than traditional synthetic hormones, but aside from that – pretending synthetics were not an option – are bioidentical hormones safe? This is actually quite a complex question which can be difficult to answer because there is often no specific formula that is used widely. Due to custom compounding and factors that make even those formulas that were not custom compounded unique it can be hard to systematically study these approaches. In addition, since BHRT is used for such a wide range of problem it can be difficult to study their effect on specific symptoms and issues. We do know that for some the answer to the question of whether bioidentical hormones are safe has been tainted by the fact that they’ve been overused for symptoms that would not respond to any type of hormone therapy, or when the underlying cause has been misidentified.
Our best conclusion is that when used for those problems that have been carefully addressed, in the hands of a qualified practitioner who does not overdo it, and when a compounding center is careful, BHRT is as safe as synthetic hormone treatment and may even be safer. You can make sure that this is the case for you by taking three steps:
1. Choose a practitioner who is not only quite experienced but also does not have an exaggerated sense of what BHRT can do. Look for someone who spends a good deal of time in the assessment phase, and who warns you that BHRT may not be the answer.
2. If you are having your natural hormones custom compounded, make sure you are not only researching your practitioner but also carefully looking into the compounding center they will be using. Usually string practitioners use good compounding centers, but you should still be sure.
3. Get several opinions before agreeing to a course of treatment. The best second opinion may be from someone who has no stake in what you choose, such as someone you pay merely for their opinion and not as someone who might do the process.
So, are bioidentical hormones safe? The general answer is yes, but like any other medical treatment careful assessment, an excellent practitioner, a second opinion, and a careful look at the quality fo each step of the process is vital.