Mostly attributed to women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can treat the unpleasant symptoms of diminished levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women and men. Bioidentical hormones are one category of substances used in HRT. The most common bioidentical hormones are testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women also goes by the names:
- Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)
- Menopausal hormone therapy
HRT for women can include one or more types of hormones. Some doctors prescribe HRT to provide protection from osteoporosis that can develop during menopause.
The difference between HRT and “bioidentical hormones” is that bioidentical hormones are man-made substances formulated from plant extracts. Soy and yams provide the chemicals for many bioidentical hormones. As the name suggests, the molecular structure of bioidentical hormones is the same as the hormones the human body makes. Because of this factor, your body cannot tell the difference between bioidentical hormones and the hormones from your body.
Who Can Benefit from HRT
Female hormone levels can fluctuate wildly during perimenopause (when the body is getting ready for menopause) and when in menopause (when a woman stops having menstrual cycles). As a woman’s hormone levels go up and down, she can experience:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Discomfort during intercourse
If a woman has severe symptoms that do not go away on their own, her doctor might prescribe HRT.
When a man’s testosterone levels diminish with age, he might be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone deficiency and a decrease in the production of testosterone can slow down beginning as early as age 30. Low testosterone (“Low-T”) levels can lead to problems like:
- Reduced sex drive
- Lack of energy
- Brittle bones, at risk of fracture
- Decreased muscle mass
- Mood and memory issues
- Impaired sexual function
When you replace the missing testosterone and restore a man’s hormone levels to the correct amount, many of these symptoms can improve. Low-T signs are the same as many indications of aging. As a result, men typically feel younger and healthier with testosterone hormone replacement therapy.
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Safety Questions About HRT
Every medical treatment has some risks, but hormone replacement therapy dispensed by a prescription is generally safe and effective.
People often confuse testosterone hormone replacement therapy with the abuse of illegal steroids by athletes, which is why some assume that HRT is dangerous. There is a huge difference between HRT and bioidentical hormones versus illegal steroid abuse. Medical HRT is not illegal steroid abuse. Athletes who “dope” use extremely high doses of substances to try to get an unfair advantage in competitions. Those doses far exceed the accepted medical dosages.
We perform a thorough medical assessment of every patient to determine the appropriate dosage for the person’s needs. We run lab work and diagnostic tests to evaluate the current levels of hormones the person’s body makes.
Our doctors prescribe the amount of HRT that an individual needs and monitor how the patient responds to the treatment. Every HRT patient receives a customized treatment plan.
HRT for Women
Like men, women can find their hormone levels tapering off as they age. Replacement therapy for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women is a medical procedure, so there are some risks. There have been side effects from the traditional forms of HRT made from the urine of pregnant horses. We do not use that type of HRT.
The difference between HRT and bioidentical hormones we use is that ours are made from plant extracts. These extracts get transformed into substances that have the same molecular structure as the hormones your body produces. When a patient uses bioidentical HRT as prescribed by a doctor, the treatment is generally safe and effective at establishing and maintaining correct hormone levels.
Safety Questions About Bioidentical Hormones
There are two types of bioidentical hormone replacement therapies (BHRT). Drug companies mass-produce one kind that has gone through long clinical trials to get FDA approved. There are rigorous and lengthy medical and regulatory issues pertaining to compounded and FDA-approved drugs, including hormone therapy.
The other type of BHRT is custom-made for each patient, based on the amount the person needs, as shown in the lab work and diagnostic testing. A person who only needs 15 units of a hormone, for example, should not have to take 25 units just because that is what the pharmaceutical company manufactures.
With the customized BHRT, the doctor writes a prescription tailored to the individual patient. The pharmacist follows the instructions from the doctor and compounds the substances into the correct dose. The only reason that the FDA does not evaluate these prescriptions is that the compounds are individualized. The FDA only assesses standardized doses.
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How To Get More Information
You do not have to accept what many people think of as ordinary aging. The difference between HRT and bioidentical hormones may be the difference that helps you feel younger and stronger. You can improve your health and well-being. Your best days could still be ahead.
We offer a free consultation. Call HealthGAINS today at (305) 912-8828 to get started.