Bio-identical hormones (bHRT) are popularly prescribed at menopause as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
They include progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and the three main types of estrogens (estradiol, estriol and estrone).
The estrogens are synthesized in the laboratory from wild yam, and have the same molecular structure as hormones found in nature – hence the name bio identical, as distinct from pharmaceutical HRT which is made from horse’s urine.
Bio identical hormones may be compounded in individually tailored doses and combinations and come in many forms (as capsules, creams, patches, gels, lozenges).
Arguments For And Against bHRT
The use of bio identical hormones is still controversial. Some doctors prescribe them to maintain health post menopause, believing they protect cardio health and prevent bone loss leading to osteoporosis.
Other medics claim with equal conviction that these treatments are unproven and can lead to increased heart disease, Alzheimers and cancer.
Suzanne Somers –bHRT a “Life Saver
Actress Suzanne Somers has been a strong advocate for the hormones, and several of her top selling health books (Ageless, Breakthrough, Eight Steps to Wellness) present her personal experience of bio identical hormones, which she says restored her to full health after it collapsed in her mid years.
Although some over-the counter and branded bio identical hormones products are now available, it is recommended if you wish to seek bio identical hormone therapy you see specialist advice, get your individual hormone levels measured and get an individual prescription filled from a registered compounding agency for the best results.
Make Lifestyle & Nutritional Change First
As clinicians who work in this area report, the great majority of women can rebalance their hormones without the use of drugs, and even without HRT in any form.
Dr Marcelle Pick of the Women to Women Clinic movement says about 85% of her patients can find relief through a natural approach that combines medical-grade nutritional supplements, gentle endocrine support, and dietary and lifestyle changes without using bio identical hormones.
She recommends that every woman start with this combination approach before deciding whether bio identical hormone therapy is required.
Dr Jonathan Wright has made a comprehensive case for the use of Bio Identical hormones in Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, The Science Explained (Smart Publication, 2010)
Dr Wright also advocates bio identical hormone therapy for men facing symptoms of andropause (male menopause)