Is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Natural?

Synthetic hormones are manufactured in laboratories rather than within a biological organism. This is why the molecular structure of synthetic hormones is different from that of hormones naturaly produced by the body. On the other hand, the hormones prescribed by bioidentical hormones doctors are natural hormones, extracted from plant sources, and thus are chemically the same as the hormones your body naturally makes.

Bio identical hormones are extracted from plant sources like soy and wild yams. They possess a molecular structure that is identical or “bio identical” to the hormones produced by our bodies. This is why they will not produce the unwanted side effects caused by synthetic hormones, nor do they increase the risk of any kind of cancer. On the contrary, they are extremely beneficial to the female body undergoing menopause because they provide relief from the uncomfortable symptoms experienced at this stage.

Compounding pharmacies use some of the same ingredients that are made into FDA-approved products, but their products are not FDA-approved or regulated. A compounding pharmacy is one where they mix the ingredients for medication right there in the pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies make specific doses and mixtures of ingredients specifically balanced based on the needs of a particular patient.

Before the 1950’s, most pharmacies were compounding pharmacies, but when big pharmaceutical companies began producing mass amounts of medication, this relegated most pharmacists to dispensers of pre-maid products. Recently, there has been a resurgence of compounding pharmacies due to shortages of popular medications and an increased need and desire for individualized medication regiments.

Hormones Found in the Body

Estrogen is thought to be the most important hormone for women. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries and uterus helps regulate normal brain functioning, cardiovascular health, and the prevention of osteoporosis.

Symptoms of low estrogen include:

  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Cold chills
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Mental fogginess
  • Water retention

Low levels of estrogen can lead to increased fat accumulation in those with low levels of testosterone, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Bhrt can improve or eliminate many of these symptoms including weight gain, mental fogginess, cold chills and dry or wrinkled skin.

Testosterone has long been thought of as a male hormone, but testosterone is vital to women’s health as well. Testosterone is responsible for the changes experienced during puberty like the development of lean muscle and strong bones. In addition, testosterone is responsible for libido (i.e., sex drive) and appropriate sexual functioning in both sexes. Women experiencing perimenopause or menopause can be affected by loss of libido.

Symptoms of low testosterone in women include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular periods
  • Hair loss
  • Sore breasts
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Low libido
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of muscle and strength
  • Loss of menstruation
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased weight around the midsection

Testosterone replacement has been shown to alleviate many of these symptoms, with the biggest change noticed being a decrease in anxiety or depressive symptoms.

Progesterone is the precursor to both testosterone and estrogen (e.g., testosterone is made from progesterone and estrogen is made from testosterone). Sex drive, hair loss, fatigue, bone loss, and depression. Progesterone counteracts estrogen in the male body and scientists are now starting find that high levels progesterone, like testosterone, can reduce the rates of estrogen related cancers like prostate cancer in men and breast and uterine cancer in women. Progesterone levels are also associated with lower blood pressure, improved sleep and in addition to having a sedative like affect.

Symptoms progesterone imbalance include:

  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Appetite changes
  • Low libido
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Change in menstruation
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Painful intercourse
  • PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome; lack of ovulation, increased infertility)

Progesterone replacement has been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer, reduced risk of osteoporosis healthy bones, muscle and skin.

Commonly referred to as the stress hormone, cortisol is best known for being secreted during times of stress as a way to combat the effects of stress on the body, but it also helps break down sugars and convert them into energy. When under constant threat, the body releases too much cortisol, which can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue, or the body not producing enough cortisol to keep up with demand. When levels of cortisol are too high, serious health risks may ensue. For example, high levels of cortisol have been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), cardiovascular disease, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of high cortisol levels include:

  • Low sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Fat stores around the mid-section
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Bone loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Impaired judgment

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the hormone the body uses to make androgens and estrogens for both males and females. DHEA levels peak at about age 25, then go down steadily as you get older. DHEA is thought to be the “youth hormone” due to the fact, that in older people, lower than normal levels of DHEA have been associated with osteoporosis, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, and breast cancer. In contrast, according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, there’s no proof that low levels of DHEA cause these conditions, or that taking DHEA can help prevent them. We do know that without DHEA, there would be no testosterone, estrogen or any of the other steroidal hormones produced by the body. DHEA, more so than testosterone, is thought to be what gives men their energy, drive and focus. Though the results aren’t clear, studies have shown that giving patients DHEA led to lower levels of depression, less irritation and flare-ups from lupus, less adrenal fatigue, improved mental functioning for those with HIV. In addition, some findings not yet supported, showed that giving patients DHEA improved memory and learning in older adults with low levels of DHEA.

Symptoms of low levels of DHEA include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Decrease in bone density
  • Depression
  • Aching joints
  • Loss of libido
  • Lowered immunity
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced well-being
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Low stamina

Increasing DHEA levels have been associated with better mood, reduced anxiety, increased libido, higher energy levels and healthy youthful-looking skin.

Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced by the pituitary gland and helps spur growth in children and adolescents, but it also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly, heart functioning. As we get older, the pituitary gland produces less and less HGH. HGH is prescribed for people that suffer from short stature due to known and unknown causes. Many athletes use HGH to increase mass and strength, while taking off excess fat, but also to impede detection of steroids.

Symptoms of low HGH include:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased fat in midsection
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Muscle loss
  • Decrease in bone density
  • Decrease in stamina
  • Decrease in strength
  • Changes in blood cholesterol
  • Heat or cold intolerance
  • Feelings of isolation

Supplementation of HGH can have great benefits including better metabolism in addition to healthy pituitary, heart and cardiovascular functioning.

Bioidentical hormone doctors can provide you with all of the safety information, answer all your questions, clear up all of your doubts, inform you about symptoms, hormone testing and provide the general guidance you need.

A qualified doctor can provide the possibility of enjoying an active, happy and healthy life, by fighting all of the uncomfortable effects of menopause.

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