Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Hello, let’s delve into the discussion of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) to provide you with a little information on the two treatment options, a topic that can induce fear, confusion, and a wide range of opinions

Hormones decrease with some medical conditions and as we age, in both men and women, causing some symptoms that are uncomfortable and disruptive to daily function. These symptoms include hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, moodiness, sleep disturbance, and poor exercise tolerance. Most men and women experience hormonal decline and imbalance as they age beginning in the early thirties.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT) or natural hormone therapy, is the use of hormones that are identical on a molecular level with endogenous hormones in hormone replacement therapy. 

The primary difference between BHR and HRT is the substances used to create them. The hormones your body naturally produces are like the plant-based hormones produced by BHRT. HRT is typically prescribed in the form of synthetic hormones derived from plant or animal sources. These hormones may differ slightly from the hormones produced by the human body, but they are designed to mimic their function. 

Benefits of Therapy

  • Effective at relieving menopausal symptoms
    Particularly hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal discomfort.
  • Helps prevent bone loss caused by low Estrogen.
  • Reduces the risk of Colon Cancer.
  • Lowers the risks associated with low testosterone, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • Increased energy, sex drive, and muscle mass as well as improvements in mood, concentration, and sleep

HRT Risks

  1. Breast cancer risk: Prolonged use of HRT, particularly estrogen-progestin combinations, may increase the risk of breast cancer.
  2. Blood clots: HRT may elevate the risk of blood clots, leading to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism. 
  3. Stroke: Some studies have shown an increased risk of stroke associated with HRT use, particularly in older women.
  4. Gallbladder disease: HRT has been linked to an elevated risk of gallbladder disease.

BHRT Risks

  1. Lack of FDA regulation: Custom-compounded BHRT is not regulated by the FDA, which may lead to inconsistencies in the quality and safety of products.
  2. Limited research: While initial studies on BHRT are promising, more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects and potential risks.
  3. Cost: BHRT can be more expensive than traditional HRT due to the customization and compounding process.

There are natural alternatives to consider for those that want to try other options prior to starting HRT or BHRT:

  • Diet: some foods trigger symptoms, so increasing a healthy diet with fruit, vegetables, low sugar, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food may help reduce hot flashes. Limiting stimulants like coffee and tea may also help, and adding whole grains can help with decreasing or avoiding symptoms. 
  • Regular exercise: stabilizes blood glucose levels, and gives you more energy, and boosts your mood.
  • Stress management: Stress can trigger hot flashes and other symptoms. 
  • Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback may help reduce symptoms.

Both HRT and BHRT offer potential benefits and risks for those seeking relief from menopausal or andropause (male menopause) symptoms. It is best to discuss with your healthcare provider and considering factors such as symptom severity, personal and family medical history, age, overall health, cost, and insurance coverage, you can make an informed decision about which treatment option is best for you. 

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