Understanding Bioidentical Hormones for HRT
For years, doctors have prescribed synthetic hormones such as Permarin for Hormone Replacement Therapy, also known as HRT. Now many other forms of hormones are available for patients seeking alternative and natural remedies.
What are Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are very similar to the hormones that are made in the body, much more naturally functioning than synthetic hormones. Bioidentical HRT is desirable because it reacts on a molecular level in the body the same way human hormones function.
Where do Bioidentical Hormones Come From
The source of the natural version of hormones is from plants and sometimes animals. Some people picture natural hormones as coming straight out of the ground, like an herb but in reality, most are processed in a lab or manufacturing facility.
Who Prescribes Natural Hormone Therapy
It used to be that the majority of doctors who prescribed natural hormones were considered alternative, natural or sometimes complementary, health care practitioners who embrace both traditional and alternative medicine. However, today, many mainstream doctors are also working with patients and compounding pharmacies for prescribing natural HRT.
A prescription isn’t the only alternative for obtaining bioidentical hormones. Many compounding pharmacists can test people for hormone levels and recommend specific products. Online self care is also available. Some sites offer ways for patients to check their own hormone levels with a saliva test. This kind of testing is a preferred method and is considered more accurate than blood tests. The late Dr. John Lee, authority and author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause Hormone and Balance Made Simple considered saliva testing the only viable option for evaluating precise hormone levels.
How to Use Natural Hormones like Progesterone and Estrogen, DHEA and Testosterone
There are many different options in strength and types of HRT. The best way to know what the correct type and amount of hormone needed is to either be tested by a health care practitioner or pharmacist who uses bioidentical hormones or research symptoms thoroughly and self-test. Most professionals diagnosing hormone replacement therapy use a combination of test results combined with patient symptoms to decide on treatment.
Natural HRT can be administered through creams, oils and gels, called transdermal, or as supplements, lozenges and even suppositories.The transdermal method is one of the most popular forms because it is easy to use and allows for rapid absorption of bioidentical hormones. Most are applied once or twice a day.
Natural progesterone is available prepackaged, without a prescription and can be used to balance a lack of progesterone orcounter estrogen dominance, having too much estrogen. Progesterone HRT can be used for perimenopause, menopause, PMS, and for male and other hormone issues. Progesterone can even be used to help with migraine headaches. Natural HRT cream is usually rubbed on locations where skin is thinner: the wrists, inner arms, stomach, thighs, ankles and neck. It’s important to rotate the location where transdermal hormones are applied to avoid building up a resistance at the site.
Estrogen is not one, but a group of hormones and is available in multiple forms as well. Natural Estradiol and Estriol are used in natural estrogen supplementation and are applied transdermally. Black cohosh is an herb with estrogen properties that is taken as a supplement in pill form. DHEA and testosterone usually come in cream form. A compounding pharmacist is a good source of information on the best way to use specific types of hormones for individual situations.
What’s Best in Natural HRT
Everyone is different and there is no one single “best” HRT. Because of the complexity of symptoms and possibility of individual hormone fluctuation, the most effective way to use natural HRT is to keep track of how a person is feeling and accurately test hormone levels. Sometimes trial and error is needed for success.