For Men and Women
The Women’s Health Initiative study of 2005 brought risks of heart disease and cancer with the use of synthetic hormone replacement (HRT) to the forefront. As a result, more and more women are now looking for alternatives and turning to bio-identical hormone replacement. Bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT) is gaining fast popularity in treating menopausal symptoms, balancing hormones, and slowing the aging process. More recently, men are becoming aware of the benefits of bio-identical male hormone therapy. Many men using bio-identical hormone therapy are finding improvement in their general health, mood, wellness, strength, muscle tone, and sexual function and libido.
- What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are plant derived and are identical to the structure of the natural hormones found in our bodies. Bio-identical hormones are compounded at special compounding pharmacies into different forms of application. Because they are identical to the structure of hormones found in the body, adverse side effects and risks for cancer and heart disease are significantly reduced.
- What is the difference between Bio-Identical and Synthetic Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are plant-derived and identical to the body’s hormones. Because they are natural they cannot be patented by pharmaceutical companies and must be compounded by the pharmacy. They can be compounded into any form of application and any strength of dosage to accommodate each individual’s uniqueness and requirement for hormone therapy. Bio-identical hormones are personalized to the patient’s needs.
Synthetic hormones such as Prempro and Premarin are similar but not identical to the body’s hormones. The chemical structure of these synthetic hormones is changed slightly in order for the substance to be patentable. This slight chemical shift creates a mismatch between the body’s receptors and the synthetic hormones leading to adverse reactions and long-term health risks. Synthetic hormones are also standardized to few dosages and can not be individualized to the needs of each patient.
- Are Bio-Identical Hormones Safe?
When bio-identical hormones are used at doses to match the individual’s needs, they are safe. However, when these hormones are over-dosed, the safety of these hormones declines. More studies to evaluate the long-term effects of high dose bio-identical hormones are still needed. Progesterone (bio-identical hormone) has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer while progestin (synthetic hormone) increases the risk of breast cancer. Several recent studies have shown that bio-identical testosterone therapy for men reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Those with prostate cancer also do not have an increase risk of progression of their cancer from the use of bio-identical testosterone therapy. In fact, recent studies have indicated that men who have low testosterone levels are at higher risk for prostate cancer.
- What are Homeopathic Hormones?
Homeopathic hormones are extremely diluted natural hormones that act either as stimulants or suppressants. If you are producing a low level of hormones, your physician may suggest homeopathic hormones to allow your body to naturally stimulate its own production without taking hormone replacement. If your hormones are high, homeopathic hormones may also be prescribed to bring down the levels naturally. Homeopathic hormones are powerful and effective and do not shut down your body’s natural hormone production. They support rather than replace hormones.
- What is the difference between Bio-Identical and Homeopathic Hormone Therapy?
BHRT replaces your body’s hormones and if dosed highly, it can suppress your own production of that hormone. As such with any hormone therapy (whether bio-identical or synthetic) you can become dependent on the hormone therapy and weaning off can be difficult, causing a number of menopausal-type symptoms. Homeopathic hormone therapy does not replace the body’s natural hormones. They either augment or reduce the natural hormones produces in the body. As a result, you do not become dependent on these hormones and can wean off of them very easily.
- How do I know if Bio-Dentical Hormones are for me?
Our physicians at Holistique will run urinary, blood or saliva tests to evaluate the level and function of your hormone production. Estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, DHEA-S, testosterone (free and total), TSH, FT3, FT4, cortisol, pregnenolone, SHBG are some of the basic hormones that may be checked for both men and females. Your family history, medical history, and current symptoms will be evaluated along with the findings from diagnostic tests. Options for bio-identical hormones or homeopathic hormones or herbs, vitamins and lifestyle and diet therapy will be discussed with you and together with your physician you decide which route to take.
- Can I still use Bio-Identical Hormones if I am using Synthetic Hormones?
Yes. Your physician can switch you from the synthetic to the bio-identical hormones after evaluating you. The switch may initially cause a recurrence of menopausal-type symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia and mood swings until your body has detoxified the synthetic hormones and the proper dose of bio-identical hormone therapy is found.
- Are Holistique Physicians experienced in Bio-Identical Hormones?
Our physicians are well versed in bio-identical hormone therapy and the evaluation of hormones. Dr. Darvish has over 15 years experience in treating hormone imbalances and using bio-identical hormones as replacement or augmentation.