It is very important to understand the difference between synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy so that we can make informed decisions when looking at treatment options out there.
Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy closely mimics the normal physiology and metablosim of endogenous sex hormones. They are derived from plants and are identical both chemically and functionally to human hormones. Since these biologically identical hormones produce the same physiological responses as those that are actually made from the body, they can help to support the body and quality of life of an individual like a naturally occuring hormone would without increased risk factors, allergic reactions and/or sensitivites.
Synthetic hormones are not biologically identical to human hormones and therefore are recoginzed by the body as “foreign.” Many synthetic hormones have potentially dangerous risks that far outway the health benefits. Synthetic estrogens are often derived from a pregnant mares’ urine and because this is a foreign estrogen, the human body lacks the enzymes and cofactors it needs in order to metabolize it safely. Foreign estrogens are called xeno-estrogens and can be found in insecticides and plastic bottles. To further compare, see below the risks of synthethic progestin in relation to the many benefits of natural progesterone:
Synthetic Progestin risk factors:
- increased risk of birth defects if taken during the first four months of pregnancy
- sudden or partial vision loss, thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism and cerebral thrombosis
- can cause fluid retention
- can cause migranes, asthma, cardiac or renal dysfuntion
- may cause weight gain and/or contribute to depression
- may decrease glucose tolerance which could lead to diabetes in predisposed individuals
- can also cause acne, alopecia and hirutism
- may decrease T3 uptake and thyroid regulation
Natural Progesterone can have the following benefits since it is a precursor of other hormones (estrogen, testosterone, cortisone):
- natural diuretic
- helps to use fat for energy
- natural anti-depressant
- helps thyroid hormone action
- normalizes blood glucose levels and blood clotting
- restores libido as well as enhancing energy levels
- stimulates osteblast-mediated bone building
- protects against breast cancer and endometrial cancer
As women enter menopause their levels of progesterone and other sex hormones decrease. Progesterone is only one of the three types of hormones that can be prescribed for Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Androgens and Estrogen are other hormones that can also facilitate relief of menopausal symptoms as well as enhance libido, energy levels and improve overall mood.
Testosterone is an androgen hormone that plays an important role for health in men and women. It can protect against osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes. There can be many risk factors for men in particular when their testosterone levels get too low. They may be at risk for rising blood pressure, increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels which can lead to arterial plaque. A decrease in testosterone levels in men can also lead to increased estrogen levels which is often associated with higher stroke and heart attack rates and many other risk factors. As testosterone decreases in men they typically experience low libido, decreased overall energy, thinning hair, decreased muscle mass and increased abdominal fat.
Estrogen is a term used to refer to three main hormones that women produce: Estrone (e-1), Estradiol (e-2) and Estriol (e-3). The main role of Estrogen in Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is to relieve menopausal symptoms, reduce bone loss, Increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) while decreasing LDL (“bad” cholesterol), improves mood and energy levels, improves memory and cognitive function and reduces the severity or risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The most important thing about starting Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy is making sure that it is customized for you and your needs. Dr. David will make sure that you are getting hormone therapy customized for you and your body.
There is no time better then the present to be living your best life.
Call us to schedule your appointment today to discuss this further with Doctor David.