(Photo credit: Sally Howard)
Hormone replacement understandably, (but needlessly), scares women to death.
Should we worry? Should we suffer from peri, pre or menopausal symptoms (or from surgical menopausal symptoms?)
When women ask me if bioidentical hormones are safe and if they’re safer than synthetic hormones (Premarin, Provera, birth control as hormone replacement (HRT) etc.) my answer is that hormones just need to be respected.
They’re powerful. Medterms defines a hormone as:
A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.
Cells and organs pretty much cover the gamut of the body.
But, once you test (saliva or blood spot testing? It depends) I urge women to use bioidentical hormone replacement NOT synthetic as I was instructed by my doctors to use for 20 years (due to a pituitary disorder I have called empty sella syndrome.).
Synthetic hormones are radically different than bioidenticals in their molecular makeup and in how your body uses them — and reacts.
“Unlike synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones are structural replicas of endogenous human hormones. Bioidentical hormones are derived from soy, yams and other plant extracts, which are modified in a lab to identically mimic the molecular structure of your hormones.” (“Bioidentical Hormone Therapy.” BodyLogicMD.com, 2002)
Synthetics = more side effects.
Any HRT however, needs to be monitored. Unopposed estrogen of any kind (not balanced by progesterone) can be dangerous.
Consider this: A piece of apple and a piece of apple-flavored candy might have a teeny, tiny amount of taste in common but in reality what an apple IS down to it’s organic molecular properties and how your body USES the apple is RADICALLY different than how your body uses the apple candy. That’s how I view bioidentical hormones vs. synthetics.
Here’s the science behind my statement:
(From Women in Balance)
The science behind bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Int J Pharm Compounding 2002;6(2):142-6
“Differences between synthetic progestins and bioidentical progesterone in terms of their effects on breast cancer risk, estrogen dominance, and vasomotor symptoms are discussed. The review also covers the use of testosterone for postmenopausal women who have androgen deficiency because of surgically induced menopause. Androgen deficiency is also seen in women receiving estrogen replacement therapy, which reduces bioavailable testosterone because it increases levels of sex hormone binding globulin in the blood.”
The author concludes that bioidentical hormones are more effective and safer than the synthetic alternatives, but hopes that large trials will soon be conducted to confirm their promising effects.
Link to Abstract