“Bioidentical” is a buzzword in the field of hormone replacement therapy. People think of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as of the best tool to combat hormone deficiency, and they are right in many ways. However, there is a confusion when it comes to “real”, “natural” and “bioidentical” hormones, and not everyone is aware what the difference is. Let’s try to clarify this and some other questions, associated with bioidentical hormone therapy.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a wide term, covering treatment of various hormone imbalance conditions, such as testosterone imbalance, menopause-related imbalance, and human growth hormone deficiency. Bioidentical hormone therapy was created to reduce the risks associated with hormone treatment and provide the body with hormones, identical to those it produces naturally. Based on their blood test, patients are prescribed the dose of the hormone their body lacks. Bioidentical hormone therapy is believed to be a more natural way to replenish the hormones, since their molecular structure is identical to that of the real hormone.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for men involves treating the patient with bioidentical testosterone, which is an effective way to combat symptoms of testosterone deficiency, observed in aging men. These include muscle mass loss, mood swings, poor cognitive and sexual abilities, and many more. Bioidentical testosterone is known to not only effectively eliminate these symptoms, but also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and blood clots. Bioidentical hormone therapy for women can effectively treat symptoms of menopause by normalizing the levels of sex hormones that decrease with age.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
In the early days of hormone replacement therapy, many patients suffered from negative effects of the treatment, caused by the fact that the hormone they received was different in molecular structure from that their body naturally produced. As a result, the hormone delivered with the injection was not perceived by the body as expected.
In pursuit of more natural, effective and safe hormone treatment that would have fewer side effects, scientists started producing hormones, identical to those that the human body makes. These are known today as bioidentical human growth hormone, testosterone bioidentical, and so on.
So, what are bioidentical hormones and why does bioidentical hormone replacement therapy work so much better? Bioidentical growth hormone or testosterone are synthesized from plant chemicals (often soy) in a way that makes them exactly like natural hormones in structure, behavior, and the way they influence the body. As a result, they are perceived by the body just like its own hormones are and have much fewer complications or side effects. Not every hormone made from plants is bioidentical though, so if you prefer bioidentical human growth hormone or bioidentical testosterone injections, you will need to clarify this with the supplier of your medication.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Used for?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has a number of positive effects on the human body, and, depending on the particular hormone, can be used to treat hormone imbalance, sexual dysfunction, symptoms of menopause, and many other health issues.
Bioidentical human growth hormone is normally prescribed for patients, diagnosed with Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency as well as HGH deficiency in children. HGH deficiency in adults has a number of symptoms, such as weight gain, hair loss, unstable mood and depression, poor sleep, and many others. Bioidentical HGH treatment successfully combats these symptoms, helping the patient return to normal and healthy life.
Bioidentical testosterone injections are often used to treat abnormally low testosterone level in men, also called Low T. Insufficiency of testosterone in a man’s body leads to loss of libido, weight gain and loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and other alarming symptoms.
If the medical examination confirms these symptoms appear because of low testosterone, the patient can be prescribed bioidentical testosterone therapy.
Other hormones, like those used to treat hormone imbalance in women, can also be bioidentical, and are believed to have fewer unpleasant side effects than synthetic hormones because of their similarity to naturally produced ones.
Pros and Cons of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are certain risks and benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, just as it is with any other kind of hormone treatment. Bioidentical hormones are a controversial issue. Its benefits and effectiveness in treating menopause and andropause are obvious and proven by patients. One of the main advantages of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for women is better response of the body: while synthetic progestins sometimes don’t have the desired effect, bioidentical hormones are more effective. However, opponents of the therapy say there is no long-term clinical evidence of its safety and associate bioidentical hormones with the same risks synthetic hormones present.
Is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy Safe?
Conventional hormone replacement treatment uses hormones, fully synthesized in a lab or produced based on animal hormones. These cannot fully imitate the structure of the real hormones, produced by a male or female body. Unlike conventional hormone medication, bioidentical hormones are a biochemical replica of naturally produced male or female hormones, which is the main argument in favor of the safety of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. However, no therapy is 100% safe, and there definitely are certain bioidentical hormone therapy risks. That is why your treatment must be medically supervised to minimize the potential dangers of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical Hormones and Weight Gain/Weight Loss
Weight gain and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy: what is the connection? As many women who did conventional hormone treatment experienced weight gain, the question of weight is one of the most frequently asked ones in association with bioidentical hormones. Besides, hormone imbalance is one of the key reasons why women and men tend to gain weight with age. This is where bioidentical hormone therapy can help. By replenishing testosterone level in men and normalizing the levels of estrogen and progesterone in women, bioidentical hormones help restore normal metabolism and, as a result, normal weight. Bioidentical human growth hormone, too, can be effective for weight loss by restoring the level of metabolism a young body has and helping you get rid of accumulated belly fat.
What Is the Cost of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
There is no straight answer to the question “how much do bioidentical hormones cost”, because different hormones can be more or less expensive. When you need to buy bioidentical testosterone or purchase bioidentical human growth hormone, the cost cannot possibly be the same. All in all, the average bioidentical hormones cost can be around $200 per month, but you should realize the cost of your individual therapy depends on many factors. These are the cost of your doctor’s services, the hormone and dosage prescribed to you, the brand you choose to purchase. In general, bioidentical hormones tend to be more expensive than synthetic ones, but the final cost of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for you can be determined only after you consult the doctor.
Other Questions About Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Q: Who should go for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? A: Men and women, suffering from hormone deficiency, associated with aging, will surely benefit from bioidentical hormone treatment. If your symptoms include hair loss, low energy, weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia, you might want to get a medical examination to identify your level of hormones.
Q: How soon will you see the effects of bioidentical hormone treatment? A: The first signs of improvement are normally felt within the first several weeks of therapy. Most patients eventually get rid of their symptoms within the first months, but some results take longer to achieve.
Q: Do you need a prescription for bioidentical hormones? A: You do, just like for any other kind of hormone treatment. Bioidentical hormone therapy is custom-tailored, so you will need the doctor to customize your treatment based on your medical condition.
Q: At what age is bioidentical hormone therapy recommended? A: Normally, people are affected by hormone insufficiency after 40 or 45, but some younger patients may also suffer from hormone imbalance. There are no age recommendations for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but for natural reasons, it is most often needed by middle-aged and aging adults.