Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy addresses treatment options to alleviate the symptoms caused by imbalanced hormones or a natural drop in hormone production due to aging. Treatments are often called “bioidentical” or sometimes “natural” because the types of hormones used are biologically identical on a molecular level to those produced in the body. Some of the hormones that BHRT works to balance include those associated with youth and fertility, such as estrogen, progesterone, and sometimes testosterone. The years prior to menopause, women typically produce less of these hormones. This can lead to symptoms of vaginal dryness, tiredness, hot flashes and night sweats just to name a few.
Why does this happen? How will I know?
Hormones naturally decrease as we age, and the body begins to break down. Hormone production peaks in adults age 20-30 on average. When we reach our mid 30’s these hormone levels begin their decline, which will continue for the remainder of our lives. While we are unable to stop this process of aging we can address these declines, creating a smoother transition and avoiding the severe symptoms that occur with a rapid drop. Symptoms of imbalanced or low hormones levels are typically very noticeable. Some women describe the symptoms as debilitating. This varies for each individual of course, but there are a lot of similar common complaints.
Some of the symptoms of this drop in hormone level are:
- Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
- Cessation of menstrual cycle
- Mood changes/emotional instability like irritability and anxiety
- Decreased libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Mid-section weight gain
- Noticeable loss of energy and motivation
- Dry skin
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
What do I do first?
Practitioners that specialize in BHRT will perform blood tests first in order to determine the specific deficit or imbalance needing to be addressed. Patients are asked to describe their symptoms, which also helps to determine what the next step in their treatment is. At this point, the practitioner will order a personalized prescription compound and begin the treatment plan.
Some Benefits of BHRT-
Many studies have found that estrogen and testosterone have benefits for preventing bone loss, and research suggests that BHRT may help defend against Osteoporosis.
Declining hormone levels are blamed for loss of energy, depression, lack of sleep, weight gain etc.
Compare this to a chain reaction mindset:
If you are tired-you are less likely to exercise
If you are overweight your anxiety or depression could worsen and so forth.
If you are sweating during the night, you won’t be rested the next day.
If you are not well rested, you may experience difficulty concentrating.
The North American Menopause Society reports that over 1 million women now use BHRT treatments, which is around 40 percent of all prescriptions written for hormone replacement therapy in women who are going through menopause. Seek a practitioner that specializes in BHRT and see what your levels are, talk openly about your symptoms and expectations and see what can be done to help you through the inevitable transition known as menopause.