What is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (BHRT)?
The term bioidentical is applied to hormones derived from natural plants that are manipulated and substituted for our own naturally produced hormones. “Natural” or bioidentical hormones are made in a laboratory by converting plant compounds from wild yams and soybeans into chemical molecules identical to those made in the human body.
Bio-identical hormones are available in many forms such as standardized capsules, patches, lozenges, compounded creams, gels, pellets and injectable. There are unlimited dosing options available through compounding pharmacies so hormones can be easily titrated up or down to suit individual needs.
Bio-identical hormones are prescription medicines and should not be confused with over the counter formulations of creams and supplements.
How does bioidentical hormone replacement compare with conventional hormone replacement?
Conventional hormone replacement typically consists of Premarin (pregnant mare urine) and Provera, or other synthetic compounds that are developed and patented by pharmaceutical companies. Synthetically made hormones are not biologically identical and are limited in their actions within the body. Human hormones are extremely complex and their functions within the body are numerous. Synthetic hormones have greater safety concerns with regards to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Are bioidentical hormones safe?
Bioidentical hormone replacement is, theoretically, safer than estrogens made from horse urine or synthetic progestin. As a matter of fact, studies show that natural progesterone is far safer than synthetic progestin. The bottom line is more research is needed and even bioidentical estrogen is a growth hormone in the body and may have adverse effects on uterine and breast tissue, especially if not balanced with progesterone. It is strongly recommended you work with a trained healthcare provider and accredited compounding pharmacy for your hormone replacement needs.
Hormones are fabulous for some women and may not be appropriate for others. The whole ‘one-size-fits-all’ is obsolete in medicine. Discuss the risk and benefits of HRT with your doctor to determine if you are a good candidate. Dr. Schulz individualizes hormone dosing based on patient health history, serum hormone levels, patient goals and risk prevention. She employs both static and biometric dosing (Wiley protocol) in her practice based on patient preference and symptom relief outcomes.