Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES - Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)

A fountain of youth or a simply a cover up of your own natural rhythm?

Bioidentical hormones have become successful marketing buzz words. In 2006, actress Suzanne Somers first introduced the idea to the mass media and ever since, news of these seemingly safe, natural hormone creams has spread like wild fire.

Women are now regularly asking their doctors for bioidentical hormone therapy. Many doctors have built entire practices around prescribing bioidenticals, but did you know there is some controversy surrounding how safe they actually are?

What are Bioidentical Hormones?

The term, bioidentical hormone, refers to hormones that have the same molecular structure to the hormones found in the human body. Natural hormones, are hormones that are made by the human body. Synthetic hormones, are hormones that have been made in the laboratory and have slightly different chemical structures than natural human hormones. 

The controversy:

The term, bioidentical hormone, is controversial because it creates confusion. Marketing strategies use the term in ways that make you think they are natural and without side effects. The truth is, we don't know how safe they are because there is not enough research to support their long-term use. Interestingly, the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the North American Menopause Society have issued statements advising women that bioidentical hormone treatments carry the same risks as traditional hormone therapies.

What are Bioidentcal Hormones used for?

Bioidentical hormones are most often prescribed by medical doctors for symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause. They are effective for symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness and low libido. Often, bioidentical hormones are marketed for more than menopause relief. Women seek them out because they believe they will reverse aging, make their skin look younger, will help them lose weight and keep their hair strong and shiny. If you have seen advertisements that bioidentical hormone therapy can accomplish all this, then you may find yourself feeling mystified and wondering if bioidentical hormones will be good for you too. Keep in mind, bioidentical hormones are drugs.

How do Bioidentical Hormones work?

Bioidentical hormones are chemically similar to the natural hormones produced by your body and it is thought that your body treats bioidentical hormones like natural hormones. It's important to know that this has not been proven. The idea is that you are supplementing with hormones because your body is not making enough or the right amount. When a woman enters menopause, it is true, her body will be making less estrogen, however it is a normal stage of life.

How do you use them?

A prescription is required to purchase bioidentical hormones, which means you have to go to your doctor or work with a practitioner who has a medical license to prescribe them. Your doctor will send you for hormone testing, either blood testing or saliva testing or a combination of both. Based on the results of your hormone testing, you will be given an individualized prescription, which you can take to your pharmacist who will make you a custom-compounded cream, gel, patch or spray. Bioidentical hormones should be prescribed in the lowest dose for symptom relief and for only short periods of time.

No comments: