Menopause can be a tough time in a woman’s life, bringing with it changes that can have a serious impact on her overall well-being. From sleep-interrupting night sweats to weight gain, the transition through menopause can be wrought with difficulty and life-altering consequences. As you cast about for solutions, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may have hit your radar screen.
As providers of this innovative treatment, Dr. Tim Martin and our team have pulled together everything you need to know about what BHRT can and cannot do to offset the more troublesome side effects of menopause. Take a look.
Are bioidentical hormones the real thing?
Menopause happens when your ovaries begin to shut down, signaling the end of your reproductive years. Along with this shutdown comes a precipitous drop in your female hormone estrogen, which is produced by your ovaries.
So when you’re feeling the effects of this deficit, the obvious solution is to replenish your dwindling supply of hormones. Traditionally, this was done by harvesting hormones found in unlikely places, such as the urine of pregnant horses.
With bioidentical hormones, we’re able to extract the necessary resources from yams and soy to create hormones that are identical in molecular structure to your own. So yes, they are, for all intents and purposes, identical.
Is it all natural?
Not necessarily. As we pointed out above, the source is natural, but the hormones are synthesized using extracts from these plant sources.
Will bioidentical hormones address all of my issues?
BHRT is a very effective treatment that can offset many of your menopausal symptoms, such as:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Mood swings
Many of our patients report that BHRT brought about the relief they needed to restore their lives.
But BHRT shouldn’t be considered a magic bullet. Menopause is nature’s way of shutting down your reproductive system, and that still happens. What BHRT is effective at accomplishing is easing this transition for women. In other words, BHRT isn’t a fountain of youth, nor does it turn back your biological clock, but it does smooth out the inevitable aging process.
Does BHRT increase my risk of cancer, blood clots, or stroke?
In 2002, a study came out that linked hormone replacement therapy to an increased risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular issues, such as stroke and blood clots, which prompted a large backlash against the practice. But this research only studied one estrogen and one progestin — Premarin® and Provera®.
Since this time, many other studies have been conducted that prove these risks may have been overstated. These studies found that when hormone therapy is administered in low doses and not as a long-term treatment, the risk of these health complications isn’t necessarily cause for alarm.
Of course, there are circumstances in which a woman shouldn’t turn to this therapy, and we review each case carefully before we suggest BHRT.
Every woman’s journey through menopause is different, and our goal is to help you find a solution that’s fit for you. To find out whether BHRT is a good alternative, please give us a call at our office in Abilene, Texas, to set up a consultation. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.