If you’ve ever googled ‘bioidentical hormone replacement therapy’ you will have seen your search engine fill with ads from overseas websites selling cheap ‘natural estrogen’ and similar products. These websites are tempting with their low prices and to-your-door delivery, and if it’s ‘natural’ it couldn’t possibly harm you, right?
Wrong. Any kind of hormone replacement therapy, ‘natural’ or not, is potentially harmful if it’s the wrong kind and delivered in doses not suitable for you. When you order off the internet from an overseas website you have no guarantee that you’re getting what you paid for or even than it’s safe to use.
What are hormones and why do they need replacing?
Hormones are the like the internet of the body’s endocrine system – they send messages and control the dissemination of important information that can effect cellular changes. When you interfere with the balance and levels of hormones in the body it can have a major effect on your health.
During menopause a woman’s ovaries stop producing an important hormone called estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for regulating a woman’s reproductive cycle. When the ovaries no longer produce estrogen it causes a hormonal imbalance that can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, unexplained weight gain, irritability and mood swings, night sweats, dry skin and in particular vaginal dryness.
To counter these symptoms some doctors prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). These therapies seek to replace the missing hormones and reduce the symptoms of menopause.
What are the risks of hormone replacement therapy?
When managed responsibly by a medical professional HRT can provide many benefits to some menopausal women, however long-term use of estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases, stroke and blood clots, in clinical trials.
For these reasons it’s crucial to consult your doctor before starting any hormone replacement therapy. Your medical history and current health condition will play a big part in your doctor’s consideration of whether HRT, and what kind, is right for you. Your doctor will carefully consider whether the benefits of HRT out weight the risks in your unique situation and develop a treatment plan appropriate to you.
What’s the advantage of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is also created in a laboratory using pharmaceutical ingredients (some of which may also be plant derived), however some of these ingredients may not be chemically identical to those produced by the body.
The key advantage of BHRT is that your doctor can prescribe it in levels that are right for you. ‘Off-the-shelf’ HRT only comes in one dose strength – and it may be too strong, or not strong enough, for your specific individual needs.
With BHRT your doctor has control over the ratios and dosage. They will write a script which can then be made up by a compounding pharmacy.
Who should I speak to about BHRT?
National Custom Compounding has been filling BHRT scripts for over 14 years using only the highest grade ingredients approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. You can contact our friendly staff at anytime for more information on BHRT however we strongly advise that you also consult with an integrative doctor.
To find an integrative doctor in your local area who can provide you with practical advice on BHRT, and advise whether it’s the right treatment for you visit our Find a Doctor page.