Although hormone replacement therapy or HRT has been used for decades, this intervention has become much more prominent in the last few years.
While most people have heard of hormone replacement therapy, many still have questions about what the treatment is, how it works, and what benefits it provides. The entire subject can become even more mysterious when the phrase “bioidentical” is introduced to the conversation.
In order to shed some light on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the team at Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY, has created this guide to BHRT.
What Is BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that uses exogenous (external) hormones to correct hormone imbalances in your body. Hormones are responsible for regulating a wide range of biological processes, including:
- Muscle growth/retention
These various biological processes function properly as long as your hormones are present in adequate quantities. However, if even a single hormone is outside optimal ranges, you could experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Unintentional weight gain
- Difficulty building or maintaining muscle
- Mood swings
BHRT is designed to reduce the severity of or alleviate these symptoms by eliminating imbalances. While many different hormones can be replaced using BHRT, the treatment typically involves the hormones testosterone, DHEA, or estrogen.
Is BHRT the Same as Traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The basic premise of traditional hormone replacement therapy and BHRT is the same. These two therapies are intended to correct hormone imbalances in order to improve quality of life and alleviate the aforementioned symptoms. However, the way exogenous hormones are created is very different.
Traditional HRT uses hormones created by synthetic chemicals and the urine of pregnant horses. While these interventions can be effective, some people have concerns about introducing synthetic chemicals into their bodies.
BHRT addresses these concerns by deriving the hormones from plant-based compounds. The result is hormones that are bioidentical to those naturally produced in the human body. BHRT hormones are potentially easier for the body to absorb than synthetic alternatives.
Benefits of BHRT
BHRT can offer a wide range of benefits. However, the advantages of this intervention vary depending on several factors, including what hormones the patient is deficient in and their gender.
Male patients can experience benefits such as:
- Improved metabolism
- More energy
- Increased ability to maintain a healthy weight
- Easier time building or maintaining muscle
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- Less fatigue
Male patients are most likely to be deficient in testosterone or DHEA. Therefore, BHRT for male patients usually includes one or both of these hormones.
Conversely, female patients are typically deficient in progesterone or estrogen. BHRT for women can assist with hormone imbalance symptoms such as:
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
Generally speaking, BHRT can lead to an improved quality of life and reduce symptoms related to hormone imbalances. This is why bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is such an appealing treatment option for both female and male patients.
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Works
Every patient, and their needs, is unique. That is why optimal hormone levels are expressed in relatively broad ranges as opposed to specific numbers. You can experience a hormone deficiency or drop in levels without necessarily falling outside of the “normal” threshold.
For this reason, the first step to receiving bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a diagnostic blood test. This test will measure current levels of key hormones, such as DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Once you receive your blood test, we will schedule a follow-up appointment with you to review your results.
After going over your results with you, we will formulate a custom BHRT protocol that is designed to address your specific deficiency. The next step is to begin administering your exogenous hormones.
Bioidentical hormones can be administered in several different ways, depending on the severity of your deficiency and what hormones you are lacking. The most commonly used method involves in-office injections that are administered weekly or bi-weekly. Alternatively, you may be provided the opportunity to self-administer your BHRT multiple times per week via intramuscular injection.
A relatively new treatment method involves the use of time-release pellets. These pellets slowly disburse hormones into your body over a period of 3-6 months. Many patients prefer this method because they only have to receive treatment a few times per year.
While we strive to choose the most appropriate dosage for your needs, it may be necessary to adjust your protocols several weeks into treatment. Approximately 6-8 weeks after we begin your treatment, we will measure your hormone levels again to assess how your body is responding.
After your hormone levels return to normal thresholds, you should begin to experience some or all of the benefits mentioned above. Some of the improvements that exhibit the fastest onset include less fatigue, more energy, and an increased feeling of vitality.
You can remain on hormone replacement therapy indefinitely, as doing so will help you maintain healthy hormone levels.
Getting Started with BHRT
Do you live in or around Louisville, KY? Do you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance? Want to find out if BHRT is right for your needs and health goals?
If so, then the Medical Transformation Center can help you decide if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a good fit for you. To start your journey towards hormonal balance and improved well-being, contact us today. We will schedule your consultation and answer any questions you may have.