Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is the use of hormones to help resolve symptoms related to hormonal imbalance or decline in hormone production tied to aging.
Certain hormone treatments are called “bioidentical” or sometimes “natural” because the types of hormones used are chemically identical (according to molecular studies) to those produced by the human body.
Specific hormones that BHRT aims to increase or balance include those tied to reproduction and youth, such as estrogen (in the form of estrone or estradiol), progesterone, and sometimes testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and adrenal hormones.
During the years leading up to menopause, and then through this transition, a woman’s body produces less of these hormones (especially estrogen), which may lead to symptoms like fatigue, hot flashes/night sweats, vaginal dryness and thinning bones.
BHRT treatments include creams, lotions, injections, gels, sprats or tablets that have the goal of raising hormone levels back up to a more youthful state.
Who Benefits from Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone production increases during puberty and reaches a peak in healthy adults during their 20s and early 30s.
Whether we like it or not, hormone levels then start to decline beginning around our mid-30s to early 40s and continue to remain at lower levels for the remainder of our lives.
This drop in hormones is natural and unavoidable in many ways, but we can still help control how rapidly or smoothly this change happens and how we adapt to its effects.
Candidates for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Below are some signs and maybe you are the candidate for this therapy. These include:
- Menstrual cycles gradually ending (irregular periods can continue for several years)
- Thinning hair, on both your head and body (this occurs in most men and women, although usually more noticeably in men)
- Lowered sex drive and signs like vaginal dryness
- Often weight gain, especially around the stomach/abdomen
- Exhaustion and having less energy, for some even chronic fatigue along with muscle weakness
- Dryer skin
- For many, changes in body temperature and other common symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes or night sweats
- Sometimes trouble sleeping or symptoms of mood changes/emotional instability like irritability and anxiety
- Cognitive changes like brain fog, reduced concentration and trouble remembering
However, you maybe not a candidate for this treatment even if you have symptoms like above.
The best approach is detailed screening by doctor to ensure that you really need this treatment.
Experts recommend considering how your health and reaction to lifestyle habits have changed over time as you’ve gotten older.
For example, if you exercised and slept a certain amount during your 20s–30s and felt well, but during your late 40s suddenly you began feeling differently without changing your routine, then there’s a good chance that your symptoms are related to fluctuations in hormones like testosterone and estrogen.