In this article, we will learn what bioidentical hormones are, benefits and risks of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
There are different types of hormones in our bodies. They are special chemicals produced by the parts of the body called glands and hormones control most of the basic bodily functions. They tell the other parts of the body how and when to work.
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are similar to the hormones produced by the human body. Their only difference is that bioidentical hormones are defined as man-made hormones. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement is often used as treatment for those whose own hormones are low or out of balance.
It is most frequently used to reduce the symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause and other chronic conditions such as:
Bioidentical hormones can be made from a variety of sources like plants and animal products and they come in various forms, including:
How commonly are bioidentical hormones used?
As a matter of fact, these hormones are commonly used in the US, especially by women in menopause. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), around 1.4 million women are said to be using this treatment. Out of these, 40% of the prescriptions are provided to the women in their menopause.
Are bioidentical hormones safe?
Well, the hormones that are completely approved by the FDA are been tested for safety, and are considered to be safe. FDA tests the bioidentical hormones on strict standards. However, the compounded hormones have not undergone the rigorous testing, and not much research is done on them.
They are not fit for use, and major medical groups do not support them because of the long term risks they might be associated with.
Risks posed by bioidentical hormones
According to various studies, women who take hormones through hormone therapy are at risks. They might suffer from stroke, blood clots and gallbladder disease. Further, senior women who use hormone therapy for prolonged periods are at an extended risk of breast cancer and other heart diseases.
A lot of doctors who provide bioidentical hormones argue that these hormones are better than the regular hormone therapy. But then again, the subject still lacks proper research.
Are there any side effects of bioidentical hormones?
When a drug is approved by FDA, the drug company needs to report any side effects associated with the drug. But many times, this doesn’t happen and leads to a misconception that bioidentical hormones are safer which is not the case. A lot of people might notice certain side effects when first dose is given. This is because the body is not used to the new hormone levels.
Certain side effects people might suffer from include mood swings, cramping, headaches, weight gain, blurred vision, indigestion and so on.
If you face serious side effects, it is recommended to consult your healthcare provider.