Bio-identical Hormones for Menopause

 

What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?


Bioidentical hormone therapy is a type of hormone replacment that is a safe and effective way to manage menopausal symptoms.  Bioidentical hormones, made from plants, are created to have the same biochemical structure as the hormones produced by your own body.  By contrast, synthetic hormones (usually derived from horse urine) are intentionally created to be different. (Drug companies cannot patent a bioidentical structure, so they invent synthetic hormones that are patentable -Premarin, Prempro and Provera are the most widely used.


How are bioidentical hormones prescribed?


Every woman experiences menopause a little bit differently.  For that reason, we use a highly individualized approach. We begin with laboratory tests of hormone levels and then prescribe a precise dosage of bioidentical estrogen, progesterone, testosterone or DHEA that is made at a compounding pharmacy. Each patient is then monitored carefully through regular follow-up visits to ensure that she is getting symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage.


Are bioidentical hormones safer than synthetic hormones?


There are no long-term studies on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. 

However, thanks to the women’s health initiative (WHI), we are extremely familiar with the risks associated with long-term conventional synthetic hormone replacement therapy such as heart disease and cancer.
The fundamental idea behind bioidentical hormones is that they are natural, so our bodies know how to break them down more elegantly than the synthetics, thus, minimizing risks and side effects.  Our assumption, given their chemistry and metabolism in the body, is that they are indeed safer.  

Additionally, bioidentical hormones can be custom compounded to give a woman the lowest dose necessary to provide relief. The idea here is that the less you need, the less you give, therefore reducing the associated risks.  Conversely, synthetic hormones are mass-produced, “one size fits all” medications often associated with uncomfortable side effects.


Do all menopausal women need hormones?


Many women are able to control the symptoms associated with menopause without the use of drugs. Dr. Chapman will be able to combine medical-grade nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, dietary and lifestyle changes into a treatment plan that suits your individual needs.