Bioidentical Hormones—An Overview
by Rashmi Gulati, MD
What many patients are surprised to learn is that all of the below are classic signs of hormonal imbalance—and yet all can be treated safely and effectively at Patients Medical, where we specialize in bringing your hormones back into sync with bioidentical hormone therapy and other natural interventions.
- ...Have irregular periods or heavy bleeding?
- ...Suffer mood swings, irritability, or worsening PMS?
- ...Experience anxiety, depression, or panic attacks?
- ...Struggle with hot flashes or night sweats?
- ...Lie awake half the night, then feel exhausted and like you have brain fog the next day?
- ...Find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight (no matter what you eat)?
- ...Wish you had fewer wrinkles and a smoother complexion?
- ...Develop frequent headaches
- ...Respond poorly to stressful situations?
- ...Worry about your low libido?
Today there's a lively and ongoing debate surrounding bioidentical hormones. Suzanne Somers has long been an advocate, authoring several books about her wellness journey that tout their benefits. Even Oprah has become a believer, frequently featuring the topic on her show, and inviting such notable guest experts as Christiane Northrup, MD and Lauren Streicher, MD.
But why all the controversy? What exactly are hormones, and is it safe to replace them? How is a synthetic hormone any different from a bioidentical one? Why is hormonal balance all that important to wellness? And if it is, what is the best way to achieve it?
If you're curious about hormones, you are in the right place. Patients Medical has a wealth of experience in addressing our patients' questions and concerns about their hormones. Let's take a closer look at hormones, and how balancing them holds the key to unlocking long-term health and wellness.
Many of our physiological processes are regulated and mediated by an elegant but complex, interconnected network of hormones and signaling pathways known as our endocrine system. Should these pathways be perturbed by the effect of our modern lifestyle, aging, disease, or medical treatments, then hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended to reset the system, rebalance the body's chemistry, eliminate symptoms, or reduce the risk of developing complications.
Although some naturally derived hormones are in use today, the vast majority of patients are still being treated with manufactured hormones that are not bioidentical. Both types of hormone molecules are chemically synthesized and purified in laboratories, allowing dosages to be standardized. But most drug companies design synthetic hormones to have subtle structural differences from natural hormones. Biological molecules cannot be patented, so some aspect of their structure or delivery must be changed in order for drug companies to patent and profit from distribution of the hormone product. The alterations are typically made to portions of the hormones deemed unimportant to their function. Some hormones used in replacement therapies are instead derived from animal tissues and product, then chemically modified.
In contrast, "bioidentical" hormones are synthesized such that they are structurally identical to their natural counterparts. Thus, these hormones offer the efficacy of manufactured hormones but with the advantage of being identical, at a molecular level, to what the body would normally produce. For these reasons, bioidentical hormones potentially offer the safest, most natural options for those undergoing hormone replacement therapies.
While perimenopause is a normal body transition for women, it can sometimes be fraught with physical and emotional struggles, and with very complicated symptoms, some of which may be confounding others. At Patients Medical, hormonal imbalance is our number-one health specialty priority. Dr. Rashmi Gulati devotes a considerable portion of her practice to interacting with women who seek relief from the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Every woman deserves to know what it feels like to be healthy and hormonally balanced—and to enjoy life fully—no matter what her age.
Begin Your Journey to Wellness with Patients Medical
Our job at Patients Medical is to listen, to connect the dots between a woman’s medical
history and her symptoms, hormonal imbalances, and their underlying causes. Patients Medical
is a superb place for women to secure integrative and holistic health care from providers
who give personalized care, partnering with the patient to focus on the root causes of hormonal
imbalance, and to support her recovery of balance.
Connecting the Dots of Hormonal Imbalance
1. Complete Form
Complete this simple form so that we can contact you to learn how Patients Medical
can help you on your health and wellness journey.
2. Meet and Partner With Your Physician
Spend quality time partnering with a highly-trained integrative Patients Medical physician who specializes in hormonal health.
You and your physician will engage in a detailed consultation, physician examination, and diagnostic testing.
3. Follow-Up Consultation
At a follow-up visit, meet with your Patients Medical physician to discuss your test results and learn of your customized hormonal
health treatment plan developed specifically for you. Your physician will evaluate your progress during each follow-up visit,
modifying the plan to help you attain maximum health and hormonal balance.
Date of Publication: 09/05/2005
Article Last Updated: 08/24/2012