Most of our basic body functions are controlled by hormones – there are more than 50 different hormones secreted by our body and each of them is responsible for controlling specific functions, such as our digestion, our mood, our libido and numerous other aspects. Our hormonal system is complex and delicate at the same time – the tiniest disturbance can upset its balance, causing symptoms that can range in severity from uncomfortable to life-threatening.
The symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can be dramatic, but the root cause can be efficiently tackled with hormone replacement therapy, the process of analyzing the body’s current hormonal configuration and supplementing the hormone or the hormones that seem to be in shortage. While in the past, the hormones used in hormone replacement therapy were all synthetic products that were perceived by the body as alien, in recent years, the usage of bioidentical hormones has attracted more attention and is becoming increasingly widespread, so here are a few things that you should know about them.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones that feature molecular structures identical to the hormones secreted by the human body. Bioidentical hormones are not available in nature in the form in which they are used during hormone replacement therapy, so they need to be synthetized from natural resources, but unlike non-bioidentical hormones that are perceived by the body as alien, these modern versions behave exactly as the hormones secreted by the body, therefore they are more easily assimilated, the therapy using them entails fewer health risks and they have fewer and milder side effects, if any.
Types of Bioidentical Hormones and the Conditions They Can Treat
The most common types of bioidentical hormones manufactured and used today include the following:
- Estrogen and estradiol – they are the most important female sex hormones, the hormones responsible for regulating the female fertility cycle. As medication, estradiol and estrogen are used primarily in the therapy of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, nigh sweats, mood changes, memory loss, insomnia or weight gain and in transgender hormone replacement therapy;
- Progesterone – another important sex hormone, in its bioidentical form, it is often used as part of menopausal hormone therapy, in feminizing hormone therapy for transgender patients, in pregnancy support, for birth control and for the treatment of various gynecological disorders, such as anovulatory bleeding or premenstrual syndrome.
The conditions that can be efficiently treated with bioidentical hormones by a Denver integrative medicine doctor include not only menstrual, menopausal or transgender treatments, but onditions, such as insulin resistance, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and thyroid disorders.
The Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones come not only in injectable form – they are available in pill, cream, patch and gel form as well, which makes administration much easier and much more comfortable than traditional hormone medication available mostly in the form of injections.
Another major benefit of bioidentical hormones is that they are safer for the body than more traditional products, in many cases, the side effects being either non-existent or very mild. Even so, bioidentical hormones must be administered only after through and extensive medical testing and after discussing the pros and cons of the process with a qualified medical specialist, such as an endocrinologist or a gynecologist.