In one of our first articles, describing the different types of hormone therapies, we went over different application methods to get your HRT. These forms include pills, creams and gels, injections, and pellet therapy. Each one has its pros and cons, but there’s something more you need to look into.
What Kind of Hormones Are In Your Therapy?
Originally, when hormone therapy became popular in the 1940s, it was absolutely fantastic. Women going through menopause were able to stabilize their mood swings, feel better, and many were able to transition much more smoothly. They all used synthetic hormones, which were supposed to be the miracle that kept women as young, happy women, rather than old crones.
But, in the 80s and 90s, horror stories came out regarding hormone therapy.
An increased risk of breast cancer and bone loss caused many women to stop using hormone therapy. As the effects became better known, so did the downsides.
Unfortunately, this is the only type of HRT most women know.
Progestin was a synthetic hormone used to replace the natural hormone progesterone. It combines with oestrone, the synthetic version of estrogen. Women who had their uterus took a combination of both of these synthetic drugs, while menopausal and post-menopausal women only had progestin prescribed.
In 1992, the Women’s Health Initiative ran an extensive study tracking women using hormone therapy, particularly the combination of estrogen and progestin. The study was supposed to run for 15 years; however, in 2002, the study was terminated. What shocked the medical community was this:
The excess risk of breast cancer facing women taking the drugs
makes continuing the study unethical.
Since then, numerous studies show an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, dementia, gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence increases using synthetic hormone replacement therapy. However, hip fractures, colorectal cancer, and hot flashes decreased.
Still, today, synthetic hormones are the drugs of choice of many doctors. They tend to be cheaper, easier to obtain, and much better marketing budgets to influence thinking.
And, despite the problems, the FDA and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists refuse to endorse using bioidentical hormones to reduce the risk of these problems. It all comes down to money.
BioIdentical – The Next, Better Generation
Bioidentical hormones are compounded primarily from plant origins. Molecularly, bioidentical hormone therapy is indistinguishable from what the body would naturally produce. Bioidentical hormones are active on more biological pathways than synthetics, and the exact structural replica produces fewer side effects.
The amount of hormones prescribed varies on a person-to-person basis, dramatically reducing the risk of overprescribing a particular hormone or leaving a person deficient. But, the most noteworthy benefit of bioidentical hormones is that prescription is unique for each patient. That means that it can be dosed precisely to a person’s need, rather than being a standard till that’s mass-produced.
However, because bioidentical hormones are more expensive to produce and not approved by the FDA, most insurance companies and doctors are reluctant to prescribe them. Plus, bioidentical hormones cannot be patented because they are from a natural source, making them less profitable.
When you start looking for the types of HRT for your needs, money is a factor, which you can read about here.
You should also factor in the side effects. Synthetic hormones can cause long-term disability and early death in some people. However, this is not the case with bioidentical hormones. In fact, hormones protect against some of the same problems, such as colorectal cancer and fractures, without impairing the function of the heart or other organs.
While the medical community is greatly influenced by what the FDA and large pharmaceutical companies say, more people are taking the advice of individuals who are using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The benefits of precisely and uniquely dosed treatments combined with nearly no side effects tend to outweigh the cost.