What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has gotten a lot of bad press over the last 10 years.  In some studies, it has been suggested that HRT may cause an increase in hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer.  For example, The Women’s Health Initiative study that showed an increased risk of breast cancer, used Premarin (which is from horse urine) and Provera (medroxyprogesterone; which is a synthetic, progesterone-type  hormone).  As a result there has been a lot of discussion in the medical community whether HRT is safe and if the benefits outweigh the risk.

There are different ways to supplement hormones.  Capsules, tablets, creams, and patches can be used to deliver the medications.  There are also different hormones and doses that can be used.  Over the last few years many women (and men) have been choosing to supplement with hormones that are considered Bio-identical.  This means that the hormone is the same as what our bodies produce.  Some clinicians feel that bio-identical hormones used at the proper doses may be safer and more effective than “traditional” HRT that use synthetic hormones.  There are a few bio-identical hormone supplements that come premade but most need to be made at special compounding pharmacies.

Some clinicians now test hormones by blood and by a simple hormone saliva test.  This can give us information on which hormones are lacking and perhaps point us in the right direction to provide proper treatment.  Using symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and mood changes can also give important information to ascertain the proper hormone doses.  Hormone replacement is also helpful for men.  Low testosterone levels in can cause depression, low energy, and other symptoms.

Written by Randy Howden. Visit me on

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