Anti-aging Medicine has long recognized the value of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which uses hormones that are identical to those naturally produced in the body. The appeal of bioidentical hormone therapy has not been lost on the public or the medical community: nearly one-third of women who now use hormone therapy do so with bioidentical hormones.
In this article, you will learn how to approach bioidentical HRT. You will also learn how using readily available blood tests may help guide your therapy in partnership with a qualified healthcare provider.
In addition to estrogens, a comprehensive hormone restoration program may include progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone and possibly testosterone. Dietary and supplemental phytoestrogens present a way for women to obtain limited hormonal support without the use of hormone therapy.
Why is it Important to Maintain Balanced Female Hormones?
Balancing hormone levels, including progesterone, estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol), DHEA, testosterone, and pregnenolone, are important for women’s health. Unfortunately, hormone levels in women decline as they age. Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis. Menopause also often causes sleep trouble.
Conventional hormone replacement therapy (ie, with conjugated equine estrogens and synthetic progestin) has been shown to have serious adverse consequences. Fortunately, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as well as natural alternatives like phytoestrogens, may offer women safe and effective options to promote youthful hormone levels.
What are Natural Ways to Support Healthy Female Hormonal Signaling?
Phytoestrogens. These estrogen-like compounds are found in many plants, the most well-studied being isoflavones (from soy) and lignans (from flaxseeds and other plants). Phytoestrogens can exert estrogen-like effects in the body and may offer an alternative to HRT for some women. Phytoestrogens are linked to decreased risk of breast cancer, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced menopause symptoms, among other benefits.
Siberian rhubarb. Siberian rhubarb has been used for many years to relieve problems associated with female hormone imbalance. A controlled clinical trial showed that perimenopausal women given Siberian rhubarb experienced improvements in symptoms with no adverse effects.
Black cohosh. Black cohosh has become a popular herb to relieve symptoms of menopause. It has been shown in many clinical trials to improve symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, low libido, and others.
Dong quai. This traditional Chinese herb is often called the “female ginseng,” as it may relieve painful menstruation, symptoms of menopause, fatigue, and more.
Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage contain beneficial compounds that promote healthy estrogen metabolism and may protect against breast cancer-promoting metabolites.
Other natural ingredients that may promote healthy female hormones include licorice root, Vitex agnus-castus, vitamin D, fish oil, and more.
What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to the hormones your body already produces. Made from plants, these hormones can treat depleted or unbalanced hormone levels to stabilize many of your body’s basic functions, including mood and body temperature.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) primarily treats the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, but it can also address many other causes of a hormone imbalance.
What can bioidentical hormone replacement therapy treat?
Anti-Aging doctors recommend BHRT to reduce the symptoms of many health conditions, including:
Menopause is a transitionary period in a woman’s life in which her menstrual cycle ceases. It typically begins 12 months after your last period and can lead to a sudden depletion in estrogen levels.
Perimenopause occurs before menopause when your period becomes more irregular and your fertility declines. During this time, your body is preparing for the transition into menopause.
Low testosterone (low T)
Testosterone is a male hormone that begins to decrease in production with age, much like estrogen does in women. Low testosterone levels can cause several uncomfortable symptoms in men and women, including low libido and loss of muscle mass.
The thyroid is the gland shaped like a butterfly that sits in front of your neck. It produces the thyroid hormone, which regulates metabolism, energy levels, body temperature, and mood. When your thyroid creates too much or too little of its hormone, a hormone imbalance can develop.
How do I know if I need bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
Dra. Andreia may recommend trying bioidentical hormone replacement therapy if you frequently experience:
Hot flashes and night sweats
Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
Lost muscle mass
Constipation or diarrhea
The signs of a hormone imbalance can range in severity. If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance, and Anti-Aging doctor can perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether you’re a candidate for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
What can I expect from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
As a functional and Anti-Aging medicine specialist, Dra. Andreia is a certified bioidentical hormone replacement therapy provider. Many types of BHRT exist. Some come in pill, cream, gel, injectable, or patch form, while others are available as implantable pellets. Dra. Andreia can recommend the right type of bioidentical hormone therapy for you.
During your therapy, Dra. Andreia regularly monitors you to ensure your treatment is successful. She reevaluates your hormone levels after about six months and makes the appropriate modifications to your BHRT plan if needed.
To learn more about bioidentical hormones replacement therapy, call or book an appointment online today.