Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Safe?

Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Safe?

Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural plant sources. They are designed to be identical to the hormones produced in your body. The earliest bioidentical hormones were developed in 1930, when Canadian researcher James Collip—best known for creating pure insulin—first learned how to extract estrogen from the urine of pregnant women. 

Despite bioidentical hormones being around for nearly 100 years, questions still linger about the safety and effectiveness of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) versus standard hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Are these concerns justified? 

Let’s look at the facts surrounding this type of hormone therapy so you can decide whether it’s right for you.

What Is the Difference Between BHRT and Conventional Hormone Therapy?

The primary difference between these two types of therapies is the source of the hormone. 

Bioidentical hormones are naturally cultivated from plants. Hormones used for conventional therapy are synthesized in a laboratory from animal urine and other substances. While both are effective, bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to the endogenous hormones produced by your body’s glands. 

Many patients who undergo hormone replacement therapy prefer bioidentical hormones because of their natural quality. They see BHRT as gentler on their system and more effective at regulating functions like sleep, appetite, mood and libido. They also experience fewer negative side effects, like changes in bone density or muscle mass, weight gain, hair loss or nausea. 

The way these therapies are administered also varies. Traditional HRT is usually supplied in pill form or sometimes patches. Bioidentical treatments are given as creams, gels or injections.  

Why Are Bioidentical Hormones Sometimes Considered Unsafe?

Many forms of bioidentical hormones are manufactured by reputable drug companies and go through extensive testing to gain FDA approval. These hormones are considered safe for replacement therapy and aren’t the subject of scrutiny. 

However, many patients prefer “compounded” hormones that are custom-created in special pharmacies. These hormones are tailored to the individual to match their unique deficiencies. 

These custom hormones do not go through the same testing processes and are not approved by the FDA. This lack of federal oversight is why some professionals voice safety concerns around BHRT. 

The long-term use of bioidentical hormones is also a concern. Studies have shown that the risk for cancer and stroke increases with extended use, especially in women. As a result, BHRT should be limited to two to four years for women and up to seven years for men.

Is BHRT Right for Me?

Deciding whether to use bioidentical hormones should be a carefully weighed decision made with the guidance of experienced professionals. 

Used properly, BHRT can be an effective treatment for men and women experiencing hormonal imbalance from andropause, menopause or other issues associated with aging. Your physician can create a compounded hormone mix that matches your body’s needs and stabilizes your imbalances. 

To find out whether you’re a good candidate for this therapy, contact Balance Hormone Center today. Our team of caring professionals will help you find the most effective treatment for your symptoms.

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