Bioidentical Hormone Replacement (BHRT)
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement is a natural way to treat menopause, premenopause or PMS symptoms. Bioidentical hormones are exact copies of the hormones your body naturally produces. Changes in your natural hormone levels can cause uncomfortable symptoms during menopause, premenopause and PMS. Correcting this hormone imbalance with the exact same hormones is a great way to help you feel your best.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance Include:
Every Woman Is Unique, Hormone Therapy Should Be Too
Bioidentical hormones are mixed by compounding pharmacies based on your specific needs. Every woman is different so the one-size-fits-all approach of manufactured synthetic hormones does not work for many women. The hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA) are derived from a soy or yam base and combined based on your individual needs.
#1 Portions of the brain, which control body temperature, react to dips in the blood level of hormones.
#2 The brain's insular cortex, which controls perceptions of heat, cold, pain and pleasure, turns on.
Total time of thermal chaos: under five minutes. Flashes are most common in the morning and evening, according to researcher Robert Freeman of Wayne State University.
Originally published in More magazine, December 2005 / January 2006.
More information about BHRT...
In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study was abruptly discontinued, as it was determined the risks of continued treatment with conventional hormone replacement therapy (with commercial available synthetic drugs) outweighed the potential benefits. As a result, long-held assumptions about hormone replacement were suddenly and swiftly declared invalid by many physicians. This left many thousands of patients scrambling for answers. Since that time, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) has steadily gained momentum and has received a great deal of press.
While the phrases Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy” (NHRT) and BHRT are often used interchangeably, its important to point out the distinct difference between the two. Typically NHRT refers to weaker plant-based estrogens also known as phytoestrogens. While NHRT are naturally occurring, they are not identical to estrogens produced by the human body.
The term “estrogen” refers to a group of sex hormones found both in men and women. Estrogen deficiency creates a host of uncomfortable symptoms for pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, memory laps, depression, bone loss, weight gain, headaches and decreased sex drive top the list. Fortunately, BHRT can restore a patient to levels at or near her physiologic norm, helping to alleviate many of these symptoms and improve her quality of life. Three estrogens are primarily used in BHRT to achieve this outcome: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3).
Estrone (E1)- Accounts for 10-20% of the circulating estrogens. It is found in equilibrium with E2 and therefore can be approximated by knowing the E2 level. Metabolites of E1 are carcinogenic, thus there is virtually no need to ever supplement with E1.
Estradiol (E2)- It accounts for 10-29% of the circulating estrogens and is the strongest form of estrogen. When elevated, it has been linked to breast and endometrial cancer. It is found in may commercial products was as Estrace®, Vivelle® and Climara®.
Estriol (E3)- Is a weak estrogen produced primarily in the liver and it accounts for about 60-80% of the circulating estrogens. Studies have indicated that Estriol may play a role in the prevention of breast cancer because of its non proliferative effects on breast tissue when given in appropriate doses.
This very important hormone is produced by the corpus luteum via the conversion of pregnenolone (which is another hormone). Progesterone is needed to enhance the positive effects of the estrogens and to counteract the negative effects of estrogen dominance. It acts as a precursor to other steroid hormones and has a number of functions. It plays a role in regulating menstrual cycles along with thyroid and blood sugar levels. It has a natural sedative effect, which may help counteract sleeplessness, a common complaint of menopausal women. Many clinicians feel that patients who have undergone a hysterectomy do not require progesterone supplementation, however, even women who have gone through surgical menopause can benefit, as there are progesterone receptors present all over the body. Please be aware that may physicians intermix the word progesterone and progestin. Progesterone is a bioidentical hormone found in women’s body. Progestin is a synthetic hormone that is not found in a woman’s body naturally.
Testosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone
Testosterone plays a major role in activating the sexual circuits of the brain, which helps to promote a healthy libido. Many postmenopausal women are deficient in testosterone, and decreased sex drive is a common symptom. Research as found proper levels can help maintain energy, promote a healthy sex drive, and build and maintain bone mass and muscle tone.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is actually a precursor to testosterone. It performs many of the same functions of testosterone. Research has found DHEA often increases feelings of well being, helps to prevent bone loss and may help reduce body fat.
Cortisol and Adrenal Imbalances
Cortisol is a hormone that is heavily involved in the body’s responses to stress. Cortisol is synthesized from progesterone in the adrenal glands and plays a role in balancing blood pressure and blood sugar and mobilizing energy reserves. Cortisol imbalance include fatigue, weight gain, decreased muscle mass, thinning skin and hair, headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability and sleep disturbances.
Women are remaining active well into their fifties, sixties and beyond, and they are demanding and deserve a quality of life similar to what they experienced in their thirties. With proper BHRT dosing hormone leves of women in their thirties can be achieved.