Wilmington North Carolina HRT Specialists
Bioidentical hormone therapy, when used for the first time, has potential side effects as the body is not used to the new level of hormones. Most of these side effects are also linked to dosage, and it is advisable as your hormones improve, you adjust and in the case of further changes you should contact your physician. One should not confuse side effects with risks common to those who take hormones especially hormone therapy (HT). In older women, the consistent use of hormone therapy can lead to heart diseases and breast cancer while in other people mainly in a youthful state; risks are blood clots, stroke, and gallbladder disease. Below are common side effects of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
• There is increased aggressiveness in both men and women during the first time of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but problems are resolved as levels become balanced
• There are side effects in women related to breast tenderness, cramping, bloating, and spotting in the body. This side effect is tied to the treatment of hormone estrogen, but it is resolved as hormones are balanced
• Patients commonly complain of itching and redness at the injections, but symptoms disappear as the body adjusts to treatment.
Natural Hormonal Replacement Therapy
The economics of bioidentical hormones
Why doesn't modern medicine use bioidentical hormones (hormones identical to what our body makes) to "replace" what is missing? It's sad to say, but the main reason is that there is no money in it.
Pharmaceutical companies can only patent what they invent in a laboratory. They are not able to patent what Nature makes. And its only through holding a patent on a drug that they can mark up the price enough to make a good profit.
(The mark up on drugs like Premarin and Prempro is very high, with mark up on many drugs upwards of 10,000%. Premarin is available in Europe for $8.95/100, in Canada for $22.46/100 in the United States for $55.42. Price variations for Prempro are $5.75/28 in Europe, $14.33/28 in Canada and $31.09/28 in the United States). These price variations begin to reveal the profit margins pharmaceutical companies have with these drugs. They are really a cash cow for these companies.
Other placebo controlled trials did not find any efficacy of soy extract for hot flashes. Therefore I do not recommend use of soy extract for hot flashes. However there are no major safety issues with soy so if you want to try it that is fine. Placebo controlled trials have not shown Dong Quai or Evening Primrose Oil to be effective in the treatment of hot flashes.
Alternative medicines that are commonly promoted for symptoms related to menopause include St. John's wort, flaxseed oil, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, red clover, ginseng, rice bran oil, wild yam, calcium, gotu kola, licorice root, sage, sarsaparilla, passion flower, chaste berry, ginkgo, and valerian root. None of these have been studied with controlled trials. However since they do not have major health risks associated with them it is OK to try them.
Heidi Nelson, M.D., a Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues recently reviewed the literature for nonhormonal therapies for hot flashes, looking at the reduction in the number of hot flashes per day with different treatments. They found that hot flashes were reduced with SSRIs by 1.3 per day, with clonidine by -.95 per day, and gabapentine -2.5 per day (all statistically significant). By comparison, HRT reduces hot flashes by 2.5-3 per day. There was no effect of red clover extract, and results were mixed for soy. Other natural remedies for hot flashes were found to lack sufficient controlled trials to make a determination.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy - Do You Need It?
There is also medical evidence proving that hormone replacement therapy reduces the risk of developing cancer of the rectum or colon also known as colorectal cancer. The risk of coronary heart disease is also reduced when estrogen replacements are taken soon after menopause occurs. Maintaining normal levels of estrogen hormone reduces the risks of heart disease in these women. A combined prescription of both progestin and estrogen hormones is needed to avoid the risk of cancer of the uterus which may increase with the use of estrogen hormones alone. Replacement hormones are indeed the most widely used treatments used for symptoms associated with menopause.
Replacement hormone therapies not only help to solve problems related to menopause but they also facilitate graceful aging in women. Most of the ingredients which make these hormones are extracted from plants and are 100 percent identical to the hormones produced by the human body. It is important for women to have balanced hormone levels after menopause to avoid the aforementioned nagging symptoms. The replacement hormones come in different forms such as pills, creams, and oral supplements. Proper tests should however be done first to determine one's specific needs and thus help to identify an appropriate replacement therapy approach. Really this is a very interesting topic.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormones are often touted as the natural alternative to HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) which is the synthetic version of a female's hormones. Bioidentical refers to the progesterone and estrogen that is supposedly identical to the hormones a female's body produces. When a women enters menopause or experiences some other hormonal depletion, many doctors will prescribe hormone replacement therapy as a treatment to the varied symptoms that can accompany hormonal deficiencies.
Because of the dangers associated with HRT, many women have searched for an alternative, which to date, has been bioidentical hormones. This type of hormone compound is usually made in pharmacies that specialize in producing compounds that are regulated for each woman's identical hormone level. Pharmacies that process these compounds are not federal or state regulated so it's never certain as to the quality and consistency of dosages.
The baby boomer generation of women has been the biggest reason for the demand of a more natural way to replace depleting hormones at menopause. Also, this generation is more demanding of natural alternatives to synthetically derived treatments and want a more natural approach that may promise less side effects. The celebrity driven bioidentical conversation has also fueled the demand as many women see famous people who look 20 years younger than their real age.
Some issues to think about when considering the use of natural hormones is the fact that even though bioidenticals are naturally derived, they are still hormones that can affect the body in not only positive but negative ways as well. Also, for women who are impressed with various celebrities who recommend these treatments as a new fountain of youth, remember that celebrities have unlimited access to cosmetic surgeries and other physical assistance to help them achieve the illusion of looking younger.
It is true that natural hormones do not have the synthetic makeup of HRT compounds, but there are still risks as well as benefits associated with their use. Before making your decision about hormonal issues, it is wise to consult with one or more healthcare professionals who can provide a detailed plan for your best health.