Natural hormone replacement is designed to correct hormonal imbalances that occur with age, are genetically programmed, or occur for certain medical reasons. If used correctly, bioidentical hormones can safely and effectively accomplish this goal, but of course the most important step is making sure that any symptoms are in fact the result of a hormonal issue in the first place. For this reason it is quite helpful for anyone thinking about natural hormone replacement therapy (or for that matter even the synthetic approach) to know a little about the hormones in their body and their roles. The pages in this section are designed to do just that.
Women’s Natural Hormone Replacement
The most common hormone that becomes a target of BHRT is estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in women as they go through puberty and during their child-bearing years. Predictably estrogen diminishes after the child-bearing years when it is less needed, but when this happens symptoms occur that many women want to correct. Another hormone that tends to be lower as we age, but in this case as both men and women age, is progesterone. We cover that hormone on these pages too since many people look to natural hormone replacement to reduce symptoms that are basically side effects of the diminishing amount of this chemical. Estrogen and Progesterone may be the most common targets of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but we do not stop there.
Natural Hormone Replacement for Men
The most common hormone that men who look into bioidentical hormones are looking to replace and re-balance is testosterone. This chemical naturally declines as men age, and with this decline comes certain symptoms that they want to correct and minimize. Sometimes low T, as it is called, is not just a symptom of aging but rather something that someone is predisposed to or happens due to a medical problem.
Men who pursue natural hormone replacement therapy for low T often feel a positive effect within weeks. Some may find that these effects are even more than they expected – their problem with low T might reach back further than they realized so certain symptoms became ingrained. That said, men also need to consider that natural hormone replacement may not work in some cases when symptoms are not caused primarily by the hormone imbalance and instead the imbalance is being caused by something else.
Natural Hormone Replacement Science
Natural hormone replacement initially got a bad rap as somehow being less scientifically derived than traditional synthetics. This is not surprising, given that this very often happens with natural treatments when they are compared with something fully designed and manufactured in a lab. But this comparison was obviously not fair; despite being derived from all natural ingredients that do not have long scientific names, there is plenty of science behind bioidentical hormones.
Keep in mind, as always, that we can only present general information about natural hormone replacement and the chemicals used. Regardless of the general science, you own unique reaction to bioidentical hormones is something that your doctor and you will need to predict and then closely follow during your treatment and afterwards. On these pages we go over the science behind natural hormone replacement but we cannot predict exactly how that science will interact with your own unique biology and condition. That said, we do hope that these pages give you confidence in the potential of BHRT in general, by showing the science involved.
Natural Hormone Replacement vs. Synthetics
As you will see, these chemical imbalances involve hormones that themselves are quite natural. It will come as no surprise that a natural treatment approach can and does work in combating these imbalances. We work hard not to disparage traditional synthetic approaches because for many they work well and have made a significant difference, but we do want to be sure that people realize that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy works just as well for many people.
So which one should you choose? There may be no wrong choice up front, assuming you have no allergies that would point you in one direction or the other. Go with what you are most comfortable with. Do you like the fact that synthetics have more research behind them and may be easier to accurately dose, or do you want natural hormone replacement therapy where the hormones match what you have lost and may have ingredients you’ve heard of?
What is Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Our aim here is to provide a concise answer to the question “What is natural hormone replacement?”. Natural hormone replacement therapy is not a singular approach. Rather, BHRT refers to a long list of ingredients and approaches that share in common the fact that they are all natural and made from ingredients that you’ve possibly actually heard of. As opposed to synthetics that are scientifically derived, bioidenticals do the same thing but much more naturally.
It’s hard, therefore, to give specific advice about which bioidentical ingredients or approaches are right for any one person. There may be a natural hormone replacement approach involving injections that works for one person, while the sublingual approach works for another. There may be certain custom compounded ingredients that work for one, and another completely different set that work for another. And finally, there may be a BHRT approach that solves some symptoms but not all symptoms. Bottom line, we (and any other website for that matter) can’t possibly accurately know which approach and which ingredients will work for you.
That said, we can guide you in the right direction at first, and make sure that you are aware of all the potential choices you will be confronted with. You should choose a BHRT practitioner with a lot of range – one who can offer many approaches. Then you and she or he can determine which one might be best, and change course along the way.
Natural Hormone Replacement Process
There are several methods of getting natural hormone replacement, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the person and the symptom. The main way that natural hormones are given is in pill form, as you might expect. The drawback may be that the chemicals have to be processed by the liver, and this can mean that the actual resulting dose is hard to predict. And some people have liver issues that exacerbate that. For these reasons natural hormone replacement can be administered as follows:
Transdermal Natural Hormone Replacement
(i.e., bioidentical hormone delivery through skin absorption): Transdermal forms of prescription bioidentical hormone therapy are gels, creams, and patches. These preparations usually contain both the natural hormone and ingredients to assist absorption. People with sensitive skin sometimes experience side effects from trandermal bioidentical hormone therapy.
Sublingual Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
(i.e. hormones dissolved in the mouth): Sublingual BHRT preparations are dissolved under the tongue where the skin membranes are thinnest. This form of administration avoids synthesis in the liver which can be helpful. The one drawback to taking your bioidenticals this way is that synthesis is so quick that you may have to take them multiple times each day.
(i.e. under the skin): Subcutaneous BHRT pellets are basically crystals of the natural hormones implanted beneath the skin. The natural hormone is then replaced gradually over time.
These are three of the lesser known but still highly effective methods of BHRT. This natural hormone replacement therapy can also be done, of course, with more traditional methods of oral and injectable delivery.
Natural Hormone Replacement Guide
This section of our website is designed to give you an idea of the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy process from beginning to end. We hope that these pages give you a start on your decision about whether to choose natural hormone replacement and which approach to use if you do.
Our goal is to give you the information and advice you need to begin the process of choosing a path, and perhaps to begin with a OTC or food approach before looking into prescription bioidenticals. As you can see here and elsewhere, we are not directly affiliated with any natural hormone replacement doctor or manufacturer and therefore we are not trying to see you anything. We have no stake in your ultimate choice, and our only reason for promoting this method of natural hormone replacement is that we are excited about it.
Natural hormone replacement cautions
Once again, we suggest you do not make a choice of natural hormone replacement without consulting with your regular healthcare professional first. These choices must be considered in the context of your own medical history, any medications you are on, and any unique issues you have. This is particularly true of prescription approaches. Once your treatment course starts keep in close contact with her or him about your progress, any side effects you experience, and any changes in how things worked given changes in your daily routine.
WebMD covers a slightly different topic, “Natural alternatives to hormone replacement“, and Chopra.com goes over not only how Bioidenticals can be effective, but also other ways to naturally balance hormones.
Best of luck with natural hormone replacement therapy. We hope this section helps you understand the process of natural hormone replacement.