Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy: is it the right fit for you?
By: Kim Hansen, ND
The menopausal transition is unique to each individual woman. Some women experience minor symptoms while others suffer from a variety of different ailments. These symptoms can impact their wellbeing and quality of life from the beginning stages of menopause through several years after its onset. Menopause occurs when the body is no longer in “reproductive mode” and the amount of estrogen and progesterone produced by the body begins to decline. Not only can this drop in hormones lead to uncomfortable symptoms, but it also puts women at a greater risk of developing certain diseases, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety and/or depression, vaginal dryness, thinning skin, weight gain, and urinary changes. Now that women are living 30 to 40 years after menopause, these effects can last months to several years after menstruation ends. A common approach to treating these symptoms is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Bio-identical hormones (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA) are synthesized from plant-based sources (yams and soy) to have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by the body.
So what exactly are bio-identical hormones? Bio-identical means “identical in molecular structure.” Bio-identical hormones (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA) are synthesized from plant-based sources (yams and soy) to have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by the body. This process allows bio-identical hormones to carry out the same processes within the body as the natural hormones we produce, the body can’t tell the difference! Therefore BHRT can restore hormone levels to a desirable state and reduce or even eliminate the unwanted side effects of menopause.
So who would be a good candidate for BHRT? Any woman experiencing hot flashes/night sweats or other menopausal symptoms noted above, women with low bone density, and women with premature ovarian failure (menses stopped prior to age 40). Bio-identical hormones come in several different forms, including creams, pills, gels, skin patches, suppositories, and lozenges, and in some cases, injectables (testosterone only). Each form provides a different effect so be sure to discuss your options when initiating treatment.
Do any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you? Come in for a free 15 minute consultation to see if BHRT may be the solution for you. From there I will evaluate your current symptomology to determine an appropriate treatment plan designed with your individual risks and goals in mind. I look forward to helping you ease your menopausal transition so you can live a full and functional life.
Dr. Hansen is a naturopathic doctor who is interested in providing her patients with personalized health care using a mix of herbal and conventional modalities. Her practice focuses largely on women’s health with a specialty in hormone management. Dr. Hansen strives to help women rebalance their hormones, from regulating menstrual cycles to ensuring a smooth transition into menopause via use of herbal treatments as well as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
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