Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Q & A

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Q & A
by Rashmi Gulati, MD

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Our bodies depend on an array of chemicals called hormones to function properly. But as we get older, our bodies begin producing fewer of some hormones that are important for good health. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, replenishes the body's natural supply of hormones to resolve symptoms that occur when hormone levels decline.

What's the difference between bioidentical hormones and other types of hormones used in HRT?

For years, HRT has relied on synthetic hormones to replace estrogen, testosterone and other hormones. These hormones have important structural differences compared to the hormones naturally produced by the body. As a result, they don't function in quite the same way, and they also aren't eliminated from the body as easily, causing side effects – some of which can be quite serious. Bioidentical hormones are also created under rigorous laboratory conditions, but they are designed to be structurally the same as our natural hormones. That means the body “recognizes” them, processes them and eliminates the in the same way as natural hormones, so side effects associated with the structural differences in other synthetic hormones are eliminated or significantly decreased.

What symptoms or issues can bioidentical HRT be used to treat?

Bioidentical HRT is used for many issues and symptoms surrounding menopause, including:

  • irregular periods
  • abnormal periods, including very heavy bleeding
  • mood swings and irritability
  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • depression
  • hot flashes and night sweats
  • weight gain
  • “brain fog”
  • sleep problems like insomnia
  • low sex drive

It can also be used in patients with other types of hormonal deficiencies or medical issues affecting hormones, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

How can I tell if bioidentical hormone therapy is right for me?

The best way to tell if you might benefit from treatment is to schedule an exam and consultation.

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