Dr. Tina's Blog

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: What You Need To Know

Portrait of mature woman sitting in countryside

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a safe and effective treatment, when prescribed by an experienced physician.

We are all hormonal beings.

Up until menopause and andropause our bodies should make adequate amounts of hormones–and then we age. Countless patients tell me that they feel a change in their body “norm” after the age of 40-45. Sometimes the change is dramatic; sometimes it is subtle. Fatigue, decreased energy, low sex drive, sleep disturbance, unexplained weight gain, cloudy memory, irritability, new anxiety, and the list could go on.

In addition to those symptoms, your doctor sees that your blood pressure is riding a little bit higher, your cholesterol is now over 200, and your sugar is at the high end of normal–oh, and by the way, your bone density test showed some mild bone loss.

Why do people choose to take a prescription drug for their sugar, their blood pressure, their cholesterol, their arthritis, their osteoporosis, their prostate troubles, their acid reflux? Is it a deficiency of that drug that is the cause of the problem? Probably not. No one is having a Lipitor deficiency, a Fosamax deficiency, or Ambien deficiency! People take them because they are not offered an alternative. In that given moment, they don’t have a choice. Either take the medicine or succumb!Most of my clinic patients are on a minimum of 3-4 prescription medicines. They don’t feel better. So what does their doctor do? They raise the dosages.

All those medicines, and they still don’t feel well. Actually, they feel somewhat worse because of the side effects of all the pills they are taking.

Why is it that your body worked ok and you felt good when you were younger. The answer is that you had healthy hormone levels. So why not replace them naturally? Why not feel good again? Why not have a physical and hear that your blood tests were all back to normal?

What is Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?

Women have a general fear of HRT that is sometimes precipitated by their physicians, but mostly fed by misleading information in the mainstream media.

The largest-and most referred to-study was The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). WHI was a major 15-year research program to address the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women — cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

Those women in the estrogen-alone study had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those in the estrogen-plus-progestin study. Women in the estrogen-alone study were more likely to have such heart disease risk factors as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

Here’s the problem with that study. They did not use natural estrogen and progesterone. They used synthetic estrogen that was derived from the urine of pregnant horses, and a synthetic progesterone. These compounds DO NOT, at all, resemble the hormones that your body naturally produces. The body doesn’t know what to do with those products. The body doesn’t know how to break down those products. Those synthetics, that were taken by mouth, had to be processed through the liver, which we know to be quite harmful. In addition, the synthetic hormones that were used, were given in static doses–that is, the same dose daily.  Hello! Our bodies do not do that normally. A woman’s body is used to a cyclical production of hormones; varying level of hormones at different times of the month. That’s what a woman’s body knows and understands! Anything else is simply quite foreign.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses hormones derived from vegetarian food sources. These compounds are structurally identical to what our bodies naturally produce. These compounds are easily recognized by the body and the brain. The body knows what to do with these. They should be delivered topically and applied daily. They should never be purchased off a website. They should only be prescribed by an experienced and licensed practitioner of menopausal and andropausal medicine.

Cycled hormones for both men and women, I have found in my practice, is the only system that works. It is all that I can prescribe from an ethical standpoint.