Menopause is a natural condition that all women will experience in their lifetime—usually in their early- to mid-50s, but symptoms may begin earlier. During this time, the ovaries stop producing eggs, menstrual cycles become less frequent and eventually stop, and estrogen and progesterone levels decline.
This hormonal decline causes uncomfortable symptoms that compel many women to seek treatment. Symptoms of menopause may include:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- weight gain
- hair loss
- foggy thinking
- low sex drive
While some women obtain significant relief from changes in lifestyle and diet, others look to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is effective at relieving symptoms.
With the controversy surrounding the use of traditional HRT, many women are looking at bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) as an alternative to synthetic hormones.
Your doctor is your best source of information and can help you decide which treatment option is best for you. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of menopause, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be a good choice for you.
What is BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy treats the symptoms of menopause, perimenopause and postmenopause. It involves the use of supplemental doses of hormones that have a chemical structure identical to the hormones produced by the human body.
Many of the bioidentical hormones used are made from plant sources that contain unique compounds that are processed chemically and made into identical replicas of hormones the body produces.
How are BHRT treatments created?
Compounding pharmacies create a unique cocktail of bioidentical hormones for each patient. Conventional pharmacies provide hormones in a range of set doses. In both instances, your prescription is based on your symptoms and, possibly, tests administered by your doctor.
Which hormones are used in BHRT?
The hormones used are based on your symptoms. A combination of one or more of the following hormones may be prescribed: estradiol, estriol, estron, testosterone, progesterone and DHEA.
How is BHRT taken?
Bioidentical hormones are applied via a cream or taken by suppository, oral tablet or injection. They can be taken continuously or in a cycling manner, similar to your menstrual cycle.