Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones
The benefits of bioidentical hormones have made them popular in Europe for many years. This approach is natural and effective it can be in treating any symptoms related to hormone imbalances or losses. Given that many factors can cause hormone reduction, including age, many people seek out some form of hormone replacement. Done expertly, the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy make it a highly unique and natural alternative to synthetic replacement therapies. While there has been some controversy about whether this type of natural hormone replacement is truly safe, many would say that problems were often due to overzealous practitioners using hormone replacement when it wasn’t needed, or practitioners using custom compounding techniques that had not been perfected. You can read more elsewhere on this blog about the bioidentical hormone therapy risks and BHRT side effects. On this page we cover bioidentical hormones benefits, though of course you need to sit down with a qualified professional and talk about your specific needs and then run everything by your general practitioner.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones Top Ten:
The specific bioidentical hormones benefits include:
1. Bioidentical hormones benefits include the fact that they can be compounded to meet your specific needs – literally prepared in the laboratory with unique mixes of ingredients to match the hormones you are missing at the levels you need them. This way the compounding pharmacy can create the perfect compound for you, still using natural ingredients. Synthetic hormone replacement therapies are mass-produced.
2. Bioidenticals have been used safely in many areas of the world for many years, and there are many happy patients who have been treated with them. This is not a new form of treatment even if it may be relatively new where you are. This means you do have to be diligent to be sure your practitioner has learned lessons from those who have been doing this form of natural treatment for a while.
3. Reports that natural hormone replacement treatment is unsafe often originate from those who use practitioners or compounders who are not experienced or well-trained, and therefore these poor reports are often not a reflection on the treatment itself. Like any new medical treatment, BHRT is being practiced by some who did not take the time to get well-trained – these practitioners should be avoided. Ask how many bioidentical therapy treatments the person has given, and how long they have been in this specific practice.
4. One of the benefits of Bioidentical hormones for some is that treatments do not need to be done forever – they can usually be stopped as soon as levels return to normal. After that you will only need to be checked if symptoms return, or perhaps once each year if you want to take a preventative course. For some people only one course is needed though it is a bit more common for people to need some booster sessions after time has passed. You will likely be the best judge, based on your symptoms.
5. The benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy go beyond the classic hormone replacement uses such as for women going through menopause. BHRT has also been used, for example, on those who have acne breakouts during menses. Men with low T also benefit from BHRT. Many people assume that the only use for hormone replacement is boosting estrogen and this is not the case. We hope that those of you reading this that seek this type of therapy for other reasons will choose to share your experiences in the comments section.
6. Therapy using bioidentical hormones does not hurt – it can usually be done in a completely non-invasive manner such as through the skin or under the tongue. Different practitioners often favor different methods of delivery, though in some cases there may be a universal best method for your specific symptoms. There are almost always methods that appeal to everyone.
7. There is no need for down time or a recovery period after administration of these treatments – you don’t need to miss work or miss out on social situations afterwards. No one needs to know that you are pursuing BHRT, though people might notice your improvement in mood and energy if these were problems before.
8. Natural hormone treatments are not all-or-nothing in nature, but instead can be tried at low doses to see if there are mild effects with no side effects before larger doses are tried. You may be pleasantly surprised at the effects you get at a lower dose than you expected.
9. Natural hormones can be used in combinations that address several different hormones imbalances and deficiencies, and again, all in different amounts depending on your unique needs. This is the on of the benefits of bioidentical hormones that are custom compounded.
10. Natural hormone replacement uses ingredients that are natural and you can actually pronounce. Synthetics may not use these types of natural ingredients. Keep in mind that you are introducing these chemicals into your body, so the more natural they are the better.
These are just some of the benefits of bioidentical hormones. Of course this is not an all-inclusive list, and we invite our readers to contribute your own experiences of the benefits of bioidentical hormones in the comments section. For an assessment of how they might work for you, you need to consult with a local practitioner. You should also consult with your own PCP to see whether there are specific medical issues or predispositions that could affect your BHRT course.
Bioidentical Hormones Benefits in Disease Prevention
Despite the bioidentical hormones benefits above, many people are not sure if this form of therapy is for them. Perhaps their symptoms that relate to hormone imbalances are not severe, or they are worried about effectiveness. Maybe they are not sure what the long-term effects will be, or whether they should just tough it out and see if things get better on their own. Whether or not to pursue hormone replacement can be a challenging decision, and as an independent site we are not here to sway things in one direction or the other. That said, we do want to cover the studies that have suggested that BHRT might reduce the risk of some later medical problems and therefore provide longer term benefits of bioidentical hormones.
Osteoporosis risk and benefits of bioidenticals
Sometimes studies can look at medical risk by observing those who discontinue a medical routine, and then watching for the effects of this discontinuation. In 2011 the journal Menopause published just such a study. This comprehensive look at 50,000 women showed that in the six years following discontinuation of natural hormones or synthetics, women had over a 50% increase in hip fractures compared to those who did not discontinue. Bone density was measured and those who had discontinued were seeing loss each year.
It is not clear whether the natural hormones were somehow slowing the loss of bone density or the lack of effective hormone balance was causing it. This is in some ways an unimportant difference. One way or another those who stopped BHRT had problems with osteoporosis afterwards. If you are at high risk for this type of problem due to family history or recent medical exam findings, that may be another reason to pursue this natural therapy and may be one of the bioidentical hormones benefits for you.
Natural hormones and Heart Disease
In 2011 a respected medical journal called Menopause published a study that had lasted for nine years and followed the effects of both traditional and natural hormone replacement therapy on a group of over 70,000 women. This comprehensive study revealed that women aged 34 to 59 showed a decreased risk of heart disease if they had had hormone replacement therapy.
As we mentioned above, this may mean that if you have a family history or other predisposition to heart disease, this may be a factor in your choice of BHRT and could be one of the benefits of bioidentical hormones for you. Whether the underlying hormone imbalance was causing a problem or the natural hormones somehow created greater health, there did seem to be a positive effect in this area.
Bioidentical hormones benefits and Breast Cancer
Much of the literature about hormone replacement therapy, whether natural or synthetic, covers concerns that there may be an increased risk of breast cancer in those who pursue this course. Some studies had been done early on that suggested that this might be the case, so in 2005 the International Journal of Cancer published the results of a comprehensive study that concluded that women actually experienced a decreased risk of breast cancer when they had had estrogen hormone replacement therapy, natural or synthetic.
It should be noted that some previous studies had shown some increased risk of problems for women who took natural hormones, but after this study the conclusion that was reached was that the increased risk in prior studies was possibly due to the mix of estrogen and progesterone in synthetic hormone replacement, as opposed to synthetic estrogen alone. And the good news as far as the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? In this study those treated with estrogen and the natural bioidentical progesterone showed no increased risk.
Again, we are not suggesting that BHRT would be pursued with prevention of breast cancer as a primary reason, but for those considering BHRT already, a family history or other susceptibility to this disease could help with the decision. And for someone who needs both Progesterone and estrogen, natural hormones may be much preferred over synthetic treatments.
Secondary Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy benefits are often quite direct. By replacing hormones lost during the aging process, diminished because of medical issues, or naturally too low because of genetics, natural bioidentical hormone replacement can dramatically reduce symptoms. The most obvious reasons people pursue natural hormones is because of low estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. The direct bioidentical hormones benefits, if you choose your provider and compounder carefully, will be positive and obvious.
But what about positive secondary benefits of this treatment? These effects are not widely talked about, but can be very powerful. We can use weight loss as an example. Many people have touted BHRT as a way to directly induce weight loss in those who are overweight. We disagree – not with the end result but with the idea that there is a direct effect. Instead what we believe more likely is that the natural BHRT approach is helping more directly with mood, energy level, and social willingness. In turn, reduction in these symptoms make a person more likely to lose weight naturally.
It is likely not completely correct, therefore, to assume that BHRT will directly lead to weight loss without corresponding dieting and exercise, but this natural hormone replacement approach will make it much easier to pursue these two goals. There are other secondary benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as well, in fact any issue that can be addressed when a person has more energy, a better mood, and a stronger sense of health may get better as a secondary effect. (This may be what caffeine does as well – but in shorter bursts)
As always, keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed directly or indirectly with BHRT, and we fear that unrealistic expectations may be causing much of the bad press this natural hormone replacement approach has faced. Know the direct and indirect effects and you’ll be both happy and realistic.
Lesser Known Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones
The following are other bioidentical hormones benefits that have been reported. These are either lessor known benefits of BHRT, or have not been extensively studied. Please consult with a bioidentical professional regarding the effects you might expect. You will be more likely to see significant effects after the use of bioidenticals if you come in with greater needs for hormone replacement.
- Decreased fat, up to 14% weight loss after using bioidenticals for a moderate amount of time
- Reduced inches around the waist in particular after BHRT
- Improved bone density after a year of bioidentical hormone replacement for those with pre-existing problems in this area
- Improved energy level soon after starting BHRT
- Better and faster healing of surface wounds
- Lowered “bad” cholesterol levels and improved “good” cholesterol levels
- Improved quality and depth of sleep after bioidentical hormone replacement
Again, these benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy have not been extensively studied, but they have been reported by people who have had BHRT. Of course you own experience with these or other improvements will depend on factors relating to your individual symptoms going into the therapy.
Body Logic MD has even more information about the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and a physician who practices holistic medicine names Wayne Bonlie has published an excellent list of the benefits of BHRT as well
Bioidentical Hormones Benefits Summary
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy benefits include correcting an imbalance and relieves the symptoms of that imbalance. Whether certain medical problems are caused by that imbalance itself, or whether the ingredients in the BHRT formula actively help with the medical condition, one way or another there seems to be positive effects of this therapy.
Your doctor should be able to guide you as far as whether natural hormones are right for you, and if you have any of the conditions listed above that exist now you should absolutely check with your provider to see what your primary course of treatment should be – in most cases BHRT should not be the primary treatment if the condition already exists.
Once again, for information and advice based on the latest innovations in natural hormones including reported bioidentical hormones benefits, please see our home page. We look forward to continuing to provide information about the benefits of bioidentical hormones.