What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Bio-Identical hormones have the same chemical structure as hormones that are made by the human body. The key to natural or bio-identical versus synthetic is the molecular structure of the hormone. In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of hormones which were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original.
Side chains may be added to natural substance to create a synthetic product that can be patented by a manufacturer. These structural differences may be responsible for side effects that are experienced when non-bio-identical hormones are used for replacement therapy.
A primary reason for the confusion encountered when reviewing studies of efficacy, safety, and side effects of various forms of HRT is that most studies have grouped all forms of estrogen under the title “estrogen replacement therapy”, and various progestins as well as progesterone under the same “progesterone”, and often have failed to delineate the specific type of hormone that was investigated.
Restoring Hormonal Balance
Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (BHT) is the replacement of deficient hormones with hormones that are chemically identical to those that the body naturally produces, but which have declined due to aging or illness. BHT has improved the quality of life for millions of women and men who suffer from hormonal imbalance. The ideal process for achieving hormonal balance includes an assessment of hormone levels and complete evaluation of signs and symptoms, followed by replacement of the deficient hormones in the most appropriate dose via the most effective route, and a monitoring to fine tune the therapy. Estrogens, progesterone, and androgens are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to achieving hormonal balance. Thyroid and adrenal function, as well as nutritional status, should also be evaluated and treated when indicated.
Every person is unique. Therefore, it is a sensible approach for health care professionals and patients to work together to customize hormone therapy. Bio-Identical hormones can be compounded in the needed strength and dosage form and administered via the most appropriate route to meet each individual’s needs.