What are Bioidentical Hormones?
The Endocrine Society has defined bioidentical hormones as “compounds that have exactly the same chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced by the human body”. These include the use of estrogens such as estradiol, estrone and estriol, micronized progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Bioidentical hormones are available in many commercial hormone therapy (HT) products that have been approved by the FDA, as well formulations that are compounded by pharmacies that specialize in compounding.
What are bioidentical hormones made out of?
Compounded bioidentical hormones are derived from natural plant sources such as yam and soy.
What is bioidentical hormone replacement used for?
Optimization of our hormonal balance helps every cell in our bodies function properly. Hormone replacement is safe and effective for people of all genders from puberty into your golden years. It can be used to restore youthful vivacity and treat everything from low testosterone levels to symptoms of menopause, growth inhibition, delayed puberty, endometriosis, amongst other maladies.
What do I need to do to see if Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is right for me?
At R3 Health the medical professionals will talk to you in detail about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history regarding your hormone balance. They will also order extensive blood tests to measure reproductive, thyroid, and adrenal hormones. Other critical health factors will be included in the testing in order to assess whether your hormones are in need of balancing. With these results, your provider will develop a treatment plan to address any health issues you may be facing.
How are BHRT programs typically administered?
There are several options when it comes to the route of administration for bioidentical hormones. It is a large benefit to working with reputable compounding pharmacies. We can tailor the treatment specifically to your needs. These options include, oral troches (sublinqual dissolving pellets), oral pills and capsules, topical creams, and injectable preparations that can be either administered subcutaneous or intramuscularly.
How long does it take before I will see an effect?
It typically takes anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks for your body to adjust to treatment before feeling the benefits that come along with BHRT. Typically, full effects will be seen by the 8 week mark.
What are the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement?
There are a wide range of benefits that can typically be seen by optimizing your hormones. The most reported benefits seen by patients include the following:
- Increased libido
- Relief of menopausal symptoms (night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, etc.)
- Increased energy
- Increased muscle mass
- Body composition changes
- Better sleep quality
- Reduction in osteoporosis
- Decreased risk of heart disease
- Decreased fluid retention
- Decreased joint pain/inflammation
Are there risks associated with using BHRT?
Like any medical treatment or medication there are risks associated with using bioidentical hormones. If there is a personal history with cancer, high blood pressure, and/or blood clots precautions or other treatments should be explored. It is important to discuss personal medical history with your provider as wellas regularly meet to review updated bloodwork and symptoms while on BHRT.
References regarding BHRT:
Files, J. et al., Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. Mayo Clin Proc. July 2011;86(7):673-680.
Mattison et al., The Clinical Utility of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. A review of safety, effectiveness, and use. 2020. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25791.
Ruiz, A. et al., Effectiveness of Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: An Observational Cohort Study. BMC Women’s Health 2011, 11:27.
Sites, C. Bioidentical hormone therapy for menopausal women. Women’s Health (2008) 4(2), 163–171.