Are you interested in bio-identical hormones?
Why use bio-identical hormones?
Hormones are undoubtably one of the most important factors in a female body due to their influence on her health and overall sense of wellbeing. There are times when the natural hormone balance can become disrupted. This typically occurs during pregnancy, post-pregnancy, peri-menopause and post-menopause. Some women do not notice a change at these times, but others unfortunately do.
Common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance include: Anxiety, depression, hair loss, hot flashes, night sweats, problems sleeping and difficulty losing weight - especially around the abdomen or midline. If this is you, then read on for information on a treatment that might be very helpful to you!
What are bio-identical hormones?
These are hormones that have the exact chemical structure as the ones we produce ourselves. They exert the same effect on hormone receptors and can therefore be very effective at bringing our own levels back into balance. Bio-identical progesterone in particular is extracted and derived from wild yam and made into a cream form or vaginal suppositories.
How is BHRT different from conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
The conventional HRT uses synthetic forms of hormones that our body does not break down and metabolize as well it does its own natural hormones, resulting in potentially harmful by-products and unfavourable side effects. There is research to support that the risks of conventional HRT outweigh the benefits. Studies have shown that synthetic estrogen and progestin can increase the risk of stroke, breast cancer, heart attack, and blood clots that outweigh the benefits of reduction in osteoporosis and colorectal cancer.
Are they safe?
Evidence comparing bio-identical hormones with synthetic HRT have shown that bio-identicals are associated with lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease and can be more efficacious than synthetic HRT. L ow progesterone levels appear to be associated with the development of breast cancer and the use of bio-identical progesterone can help mitigate that risk. Research indicates that contrary to synthetic progesterone, natural progesterone does not increase risk of breast cancer, and may even be protective against it. There is clear evidence that bio-identical hormones are a much safer option than synthetic hormone replacement. With that said, even bio-identical hormones do not come without risk, which is why close monitoring is important.
Are Bio-Identical Hormones for Me?
We do not prescribe bio-identical estrogen or progesterone without first testing a woman's levels through the blood or the urine using the DUTCH or CHI Test. Assessing exact levels, combined with a thorough naturopathic intake and understanding of symptoms, their severity, and personal and family history allows us to best advise you on whether or not bio-identical hormones are for you. Women can be deficient in or have excessive levels estrogen, progesterone or both. It is common for women over 35 to be progesterone deficient as many no longer ovulate with each cycle leading to a drop in progesterone. Other hormones, such as thyroid and cortisol must also be considered when addressing one's hormonal imbalance picture. Liver and gut health is also vital to address as both are involved in detoxifying and eliminating excess hormones in the body. As well, it goes without saying that healthy diet and exercise also play a vital role in hormone balance in the body. All these factors should we considered when deciding whether hormone replacement is for you or not.
Are There Other Alternatives?
There are also certain herbal and vitamin formulations that can be effective at balancing hormone and either gently boosting or lowering levels, depending on the desired effect. Treating the adrenal glands is a vital part of the process as cortisol has a major implication on the hormonal system. Certain foods can also be used in therapeutic doses to impact hormone levels. Due to many complex factors, it's is always best to start by first determining what your baseline hormone levels are.
How Long Would I Have to be on BHRT For?
It depends. There are two ways of looking at BHRT. One is that menopause does not last for the rest of a woman's life and that being on BHRT for a certain amount of time can get the body producing its own hormones again. Once symptoms subside we can gradually scale back on the hormones until they are no longer required. The other is that hormones are like vitamins or minerals that get depleted as we age. At the correct dose it is safe to be on hormones for the rest of your life. There are many protective benefits that hormones give us, especially estrogen which gives protection against bone loss, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's.
Is BHRT covered by my insurance?
Many insurances do cover BHRT from compounding pharmacies but always check with your insurance provider. Your insurance may also have a health expenditure account that could cover the prescription.
Looking for a diet and supplement approach to treating your hormonal concerns?
If you would like a more comprehensive approach to manage your hormonal complaints we have just the plan for you. Our natuorpathic doctor led treatments are individualized and include advice and guidelines to promote important nutritional changes, lifestyle improvements and will help to select the most effective natural supplements with or without bio-identical hormones, based on your unique health presentation.