WHAT IS BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as bioidentical hormone therapy or natural hormone therapy, is a term referring to the use of hormones that are identical on a molecular level with endogenous human hormones in hormone replacement therapy. It may also be combined with blood and saliva testing of hormone levels, and the use of pharmacy compounding to obtain hormones in an effort to reach a targeted level of hormones in the body.
- Estrogens (Estradiol, Estriol, Estrone)
- Thyroid Hormones (TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T3, Total T4)
- Adrenal Hormones (Cortisol, DHEA-S, Pregnenolone)
Hormones can be administered in a variety of ways, including percutaneous skin and vaginal creams, oral pills, topical gels, tablets, and transdermal patches. Pharmaceutical compounding is frequently used to modify the dose, form, and additives of the preparations, based on instructions from a health-care practitioner.
Saliva testing has been available to practicing physicians for over a decade. I have found that saliva testing is the most accurate measurement of the body’s availability of the steroid hormones cortisol and DHEA and the sex steroid hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Saliva testing correctly identifies the level of hormone within a cell in contrast to a serum test, which provides a direct assessment of circulating hormones available in the body. Serum test offer relatively accurate values of “free” or “total” hormone levels that indicate hormones that easily enter cells, or are attached to carrier substances in the bloodstream
Hormonal imbalances contribute to the risk of stroke, heart attack and even breast cancer and when used properly, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can reduce this risk. Critics argue that the safety of bioidentical hormones should be confirmed by the FDA, and in fact the FDA has approved over 20 natural bioidentical hormone products including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Compounding pharmacies that make bioidentical hormones are regulated by state and local government, not the FDA. To date, there have been no long-term studies of bioidentical hormones, but each short-term study shows positive results both in the relief of symptoms of hormonal imbalances like insomnia, cognitive problems, depression, anxiety etc. and in the decreased risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Meanwhile, both long-term and short-term studies show synthetic hormones to be less effective at treating symptoms and to increase the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Bioidentical hormones are effective when used properly and under the care and medical supervision of an expert physician trained specifically in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
If you are interested in BHRT we are able to schedule a consultation and order labs to help us determine the optimal treatment to balance your hormones. Please give us a call at (707) 942-1250 with any questions you may have or to set up a time for consultation. Thank you