The term bioidentical refers to utilizing hormone replacement therapy that on an elective scale is identical to what the body creates. While still only available by prescription, these compounds are made from a source of yams or soy beans. The compounds also contain copies of the hormones made by the human body.
The Traditional Approach to Hormone Replacement Therapy:
Frequently, pharmacological approaches to hormone replacement therapy use synthetic compounds. Therefore, unexpected side effects can occur. While no pharmaceutical preparation is without some degree of risk, my observation over the years is that the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, when done in a methodical, balanced and uniquely individualized way, has been essentially devoid of any complications or side effects compared to the standard prescription forms. For that reason alone, many physicians in the field have switched to the bioidentical approach. In addition, preparations of this type can be much more cost-effective for many individuals.
One must think of the hormone system, or the endocrine system, as a symphony of sorts. Within the body, each instrument needs to be played in conjunction with the others to achieve balance. That is, all the naturally-occurring hormones, including the estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, etc., must be in adequate balance. For that reason, we must clinically measure each of the hormones initially and periodically over the course of therapy. Doing so confirms that each hormone achieves an optimal state. From a physiologic perspective, improving and replicating that optimal state can have life-enhancing effects.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some of the measured and expected organ and physiologic improvements of HRT include:
- Enhanced immune system
- Cardiovascular function
- Increased metabolism
- Improved brain function
- Cellular energy production
In addition, hormone replacement therapy plays a long term preventative role in diminishing the likelihood of common aging conditions such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, autoimmune disease, and general debility.
Symptoms to Consider:
For women, the onset of hormone decline can sometimes be rather sudden. Some of the abrupt onset symptoms include hot flashes, sleep disturbance, mood swings, and skin or vaginal dryness. These symptoms tend to resolve quickly when we can restore hormone levels. For men, symptom onset may occur gradually over five to 10 years, as testosterone and other hormone levels decline about 10 percent per year. Given its subjectivity and gradual onset, some men are often unaware of any changes. Very often it is a spouse or close family member who points out that they have become much more lethargic, much less motivated, have gained weight, have noticed a decrease in libido, poor exercise tolerance, and diminished life enjoyment. Restoration of testosterone and other hormone levels to a more optimal and younger age will tend to diminish and mitigate those overall concerning symptoms while substantially improving overall long-term health.