Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is the use of naturally-sourced hormones to help resolve the symptoms related to hormonal imbalances. The hormones used are sourced from plants, including yams and soy, and are chemically identical to those produced by the human body. This is different from traditional hormone replacement therapies that use synthetic hormones or those derived from horse urine.
BHRT is most commonly used by women experiencing menopausal symptoms. It is also used by women with other hormonal imbalances and the symptoms that accompany them.
What are the potential benefits of BHRT?
o Improved bone health – Estrogen and testosterone help maintain bone mass and prevent bone loss that occurs with aging. This bone loss increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
o Increased energy – Hormones affect many metabolic processes in the body and imbalances can cause fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep and lethargy. Balancing these hormones may improve your energy, mental clarity, alertness and sleep patterns.
o Reduced night sweats and hot flashes – Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most commonly experienced symptoms of hormonal imbalances and menopause. Reducing these symptoms increases quality of life for many women.
o Improved sex drive and reduced vaginal dryness – Estrogen is responsible for vaginal lubrication and maintaining a healthy sex drive. Many women experience sexual dysfunction as a result of these hormones declining during menopause.
How are Bioidentical Hormones prescribed?
Bioidentical hormones include various forms and doses of estrogen and progesterone. They are typically dispensed in the form of creams or suppositories depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. They are applied topically to the skin or vaginally.
In Ontario, MDs and Naturopathic Doctors can prescribe bioidentical hormones. NDs must carry the Ontario Pharmaceutical Prescribing Standard to signify the required additional training in pharmaceuticals in order to prescribe these and other restricted substances.
What testing is involved if I choose to use Bioidentical Hormones?
A combination of blood and salivary hormone testing is used to determine your hormone levels. These are completed before starting BHRT and periodically after to monitor your levels and adjust dosing as required.
Are Bioidentical Hormones the only way to regulate my hormones naturally?
Absolutely not! There are many other options if you don’t feel like hormone therapy is right for you. Botanical medicine, acupuncture, diet modification and hydrotherapy (links to all) can all be helpful in regulating your hormones and improving the symptoms that accompany hormonal imbalances.