Are your hormones out of whack? Don’t fear, hormone replacement therapy is here! Unfortunately, the amount of information and misinformation about hormone replacement therapy online and in the media can be confusing and overwhelming. In this article, we’ll stick to some simple facts and benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) – as opposed to HRT. That way you can get a sense of whether or not it could help you.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Simplified
Whether you’re a man or a woman, the same primary hormone sequence occurs:
1 One or more of your hormone levels is too low and is causing a hormone imbalance.
2 The other hormones that interact with this hormone – or the systems it serves – start to overcompensate for its absence.
3 As a result, those hormone levels get out of whack, and the body systems they serve react.
4 At this point, you end up with symptoms based on which hormones and systems have been affected.
So what’s the solution? “Replace” the hormone or hormones to bring the level(s) back to normal! Even though hormone imbalances can be challenging to pinpoint and understand, the solution is simple: hormone replacement therapy.
Why BHRT Instead of HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy research has evolved dramatically over the past 50 years. As a result, there are two ways to treat your hormone imbalance:
- synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and
- bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Here’s a quick explanation of the difference between synthetic and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. These differences are why we at Nava recommend BHRT.
Firstly, bioidentical hormones are sourced from plants such as yams and are identical to the hormones your body naturally produces. Their molecular structure is therefore identical to your natural hormones, so they can dock with your hormone receptors much like a key in a lock. This provides you with the same benefits your natural hormones provide – such as increased mood, motivation, energy, libido and overall vitality. The most commonly used bioidentical hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Secondly, synthetic hormone replacement therapy refers to hormones made in a lab. Because they’re synthetic, they don’t have the same molecular structure as your human hormones. This means they don’t quite fit on the receptor. It’s like trying to open your front door with your car keys. It’s not the right key! This mismatch results in more side effects and fewer benefits.
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Benefits You
The benefits of BHRT vary depending on your sex and what hormones are out of balance. First, let’s look at a few examples of BHRT for men and women.
BHRT For Men
We’ll start with the benefits of BHRT for men because people tend to only associate BHRT with women and menopause. And there’s a lot more to BHRT than that!
The most commonly known BHRT for men is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). TRT can be a life saver for men with low testosterone when other conventional treatment methods have failed. Men who undergo TRT can experience:
- improved energy levels
- libido boosts
- reduction of fatigue
- increased bone density
- more facial and body hair
- higher red blood cell counts
- muscle growth
- better performance
- improvement in erectile dysfunction
TRT is also often referred to as Andropause Therapy, Male Menopause Therapy, and Low T Treatment. All of these conditions have the same thing: debilitating symptoms caused by low testosterone. That’s why providers commonly prescribe BHRT containing testosterone in the form of an injection or a pellet for all of them.
In addition, andropause therapy may also include the addition of DHEA, Aromatase Inhibitors, DIM (diindolylmethane), vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and other supplements.
BHRT For Women
Let’s shift gears and focus on the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for women. The most common hormones prescribed in women’s BHRT are the sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
The most common reasons for prescribing these hormones are for female hormone imbalances, including PMS, perimenopause, menopause, and surgical menopause (after hysterectomy).
Two types of hormone therapy are available to women:
- systemic therapy, which comes as a pellet or cream absorbed throughout the body, or
- low-dose vaginal creams applied to the vagina to treat local symptoms.
Benefits of BHRT for women
- The most effective treatment for relieving moderate to severe menopausal hot flashes and night sweats is BHRT.
- Estrogen can increase your sex drive and ease vaginal dryness, itching, burning, and discomfort with intercourse.
- Estrogen replacement helps protect your bones against osteoporosis.
- BHRT can decrease your likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
- BHRT can alleviate insomnia, mood swings, brain fog, and anxiety.
Other therapies, including vaginal estrogen products, other medications, and supplements, may be appropriate to treat hormone imbalances in women. This will depend on your symptoms and risk factors.
We can help you answer that question. Contact us for a consultation today!