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Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List
Bio-identical hormones are all the craze these days. No doubt you have heard the name, know someone who uses them, or maybe even use them yourself. But what are they? Where do they come from? Who needs them? Are they safe?
We all have hormones, and we all need hormones to survive. Cortisol, DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone are just some of the hormones that are present in the human body. Each of these hormones have multiple functions in the body whether it be waking us up in the morning, giving us energy and stamina, providing anti-inflammatory benefits, enhancing our immune system function, regulating menstrual cycles, protecting our cardiovascular system, preventing heart disease, aiding in bone growth, improving muscle strength and body composition, or sustaining healthy sex drives (to name a few).
The normal aging process and certain medical conditions in the body can create imbalances in these hormones, which then lead to dysfunction. This is when we begin to experience symptoms. Whether they are symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, andropause, polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, migraines, or sexual dysfunction, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may provide relief.
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) has actually been around in one form or another for many decades. In fact, similar regimens were used in ancient China. It didn't start gaining popularity however, until around the turn of the twenty-first century. This is, in part, due to the increasing numbers of “baby boomers” that are reaching the age when hormone levels are declining, the desire of our society to stay young in how we look and feel, and the fact that we are continuing to learn the negative side effects of the conventional, synthetic hormone replacement therapies.
Some of these negative side effects were discovered during the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study. The WHI study was a 15-year, $725-million study that ended three years early in 2002 because it was determined that women taking conventional, synthetic hormones were at a higher risk for developing breast cancer, heart disease, and numerous other health problems. At that time, thousands of women were told to stop their hormone replacement therapy because it was harmful and risky, but they were not given any alternatives, nor were they educated about any other options. Since then, many women have been suffering needlessly from menopausal symptoms with nowhere to turn.
Now, with the advancement of Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, women have more options than ever.
Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are structurally identical to the hormones that we produce in our own bodies. Because they are identical, these hormones exactly mimic what your body produces on its own (or used to produce on its own), so there are much fewer (if any) negative side effects. Bio-identical hormones are prepared in a laboratory from natural sources, usually soy or wild yam. Because our bodies cannot change soy and/or wild yam into hormones directly, these steps need to be performed in the lab in order to produce hormones that are structurally identical to those found in our bodies. Once these hormones are produced, we can use them to replace the missing hormones in our bodies in the exact amounts that we naturally produce them, and in the correct rhythms and patterns that our bodies naturally produce them. This is what Bio-identical Hormone Replacement is.
BHRT is not limited to menopausal females. It is currently possible to produce bio-identical forms of estrogens (there are 3 main forms in humans), progesterone, pregnenolone, DHEA, cortisol, and testosterone. Because both males and females have differing amounts of all of these hormones in their bodies, BHRT is highly effective and beneficial for females and males.
BHRT is also not limited to treating the typical “hormonal” conditions that you know it is good for. BHRT can also be beneficial for treatment of many other health conditions, such as acne, headaches/migraines, fatigue, anxiety, depression, low libido, insomnia, osteopenia/osteoporosis, body aches/pains, memory/focus/concentration difficulties, hair loss, and incontinence.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
08-03-2007 - 11:51 AM
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