Q. What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body and bioidentical hormones match your body’s hormones molecule by molecule.
Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormone(s) your body needs, our provider may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, DHEA, melatonin or others as needed.
Q. What is the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones?
The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is dual fold. Unlike bioidentical hormones, synthetic hormones may be patented by pharmaceutical companies; therefore dosage varies only by milligrams dictated by your doctor, while the molecular structure of the prescribed hormone is the same for every single person on that drug. Additionally, synthetic hormones are not created structurally the same as human endogenous hormones, which often leads uncomfortable side effects. While synthetic hormones can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones on certain biological pathways, they rarely offer the same effectiveness at a deeper, molecular level.
Bioidentical hormones mimic the affinity of human endogenous hormones; therefore they are effective on more biological pathways, at all levels. Because bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of endogenous hormones side effects are rarely observed, and in the event you do experience side effects, talk with your doctor – the dosage may simply need to be adjusted. The added benefit of bioidentical hormones is that each dose is tailored specifically for your needs, not simply what doses the pharmaceutical company offers (as is the case with synthetic hormones.)
Q. What are the ingredients of bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants, such as soy or wild yams, and are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. Additional ingredients in each prescription vary by hormone – testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. and form- creams, gels, pellets, pills, etc.
Your pharmacy may be able to provide with an ingredient list for your specific medication.
Q. Why do women need hormones before, during and after menopause?
Hormones affect a multitude of pathways in the body. Women may experience fluctuations in their hormone levels throughout the lifespan. Imbalances can occur due lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as expected changes, such as pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Imbalances of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression and anxiety. The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is estrogen. When estrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido and bone loss. The bone loss that women experience due to declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Adjustments to a woman’s hormone levels through BHRT and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate these discomforts and improve overall health and well-being.
Q. Are bioidentical hormones approved and regulated by the FDA?
Many people are under the misconception that bioidentical hormones are not FDA-approved. This is simply not the case. The hormones derived from plant sources, such as soy and yams, which are approved by the FDA, however the methods of delivery and custom doses are not.
Bioidentical hormones may be delivered in the form of creams, patches, pills, gels, pellets of vaginal rings. Bioidentical hormones are designed in a lab and shipped to a compounding pharmacy where they are custom designed to fit the needs of each patient. Synthetic hormones are created in specific, patented doses and delivery methods (not customized), therefore regulation is possible.
Q. Will my weight change from bioidentical hormone therapy?
Hormones are like stop-lights. When they are balanced the light is green and you will get the optimum results from your nutrition and fitness programs. When they are imbalanced the light is red making it, in many cases, difficult to lose and easy to gain weight.
Hormones are chemical messengers that cause the body to make changes affecting weight gain or weight loss. Changes in hormone levels are also dependant on the lifestyle we lead and can affect our mood, metabolism, and energy levels.
For example, when males become less active there is often a gradual decline in testosterone. This hormone is known to boost metabolism and has the benefit of helping lower fat levels. Thus, when testosterone is balanced a man’s ideal weight is easier to achieve.