Are Compounded Hormones Better?
What is Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy treats hormone deficiencies in both men and women. Estrogens, progesterone, and androgens, or testosterone, are hormones that may be given to treat deficiency.
Forms of hormones are either considered synthetic or bioidentical. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter?
Synthetic hormones are hormones that are created or made in a lab setting. They may be look-alike replacements for your body’s natural hormones, but they are often not exact replicas. These hormones are chemically altered. An example is a commonly prescribed medication Premarin. This medicine is often used to treat menopause symptoms like hot flashes. It is made from the chemically altered urine of pregnant mares.
Synthetic hormones come in standard doses and are not easy to customize to the patient’s needs.
On the other hand, bioidentical hormones are created from natural plant-based materials. Bioidentical hormones are just that – identical to the hormones made in our bodies. They are an exact match for our own hormones and replicate the exact molecular structure of natural hormones. Bioidentical hormones are created from phytoestrogens in plants and can be turned into estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Bioidentical hormones can be formulated into pills, creams, injectable solutions, transvaginal creams or tablets, and implantable pellets. The variety of formulas makes it easier to customize the dose of hormone to exactly what is needed.
Risks of Synthetic Hormones
Because synthetic hormones are not an exact match to replace your natural hormones, they come with risks. In particular, synthetic hormones have been implicated in the development of breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Other risks of synthetic hormones include:
- Increase in heart attack and coronary artery disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Increased risk of dementia
The good news is that many of these risks are decreased or even go away with the use of bioidentical hormones. Many of the risks mentioned above don’t happen with bioidentical hormones. This is because they are a perfect match for our body’s receptors.
Why Would I Need Hormone Therapy?
Decreasing hormone levels are part of the normal aging process, but in some cases, low levels can cause unpleasant symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Lack of sex drive
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
Both men and women can benefit from bioidentical hormone therapy. If you think you might have symptoms of a hormone imbalance, the first step is to have your hormone levels checked with laboratory testing. Our hormone specialists can determine if you have a deficiency and what treatment can help you feel better. Hormone therapy is not a one size fits all approach; with bioidentical treatment, we have many treatment options that can be customized to your situation.
Are There Side Effects to Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
While bioidentical hormone therapy is considered a safer alternative to synthetic hormones, no treatment is completely without risk. Reasons your healthcare provider may ask you to avoid bioidentical hormone therapy include the following:
- Blood clotting disorders
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
Most people tolerate bioidentical hormone therapy without any ill effects, but side effects you could experience if levels are not appropriately monitored include:
- Weight gain
- Increased facial hair
- Breast tenderness
- Spotting and cramping
- Mood swings
Discussing your symptoms and treatment goals with your healthcare provider is the best way to create a treatment plan that meets your needs and keeps you feeling your best. Contacting us at Vitality Aesthetic and Regenerative Medicine is the first step on your journey to balancing your hormone levels in the safest, most effective way.