Once you have reached a certain age, hot flashes and mood swings might seem like an unavoidable result of aging. However, when you are facing menopause, your body will no longer produce certain hormones. If you would like to replace them and trick your body into thinking that you are still reproductive, you can go through either synthetic or bioidentical hormone replacement therapies. If possible, you should choose bioidentical hormones for several reasons.
Similarities Between Synthetic and Bioidentical Hormones
One thing both synthetic and bioidentical hormones have in common is that they are both created in a lab. While there are some products that are marketed as containing natural ingredients, they are still produced under laboratory conditions. They are extracted from plants and animals. It is impossible to simply extract the hormones directly from a natural source. However, bioidentical hormones are the exact molecular structure as those produced in the body.
Advantages of Bioidentical Hormones Over Synthetic Hormones
The downside of synthetic hormones is that they are made from chemicals that are not recognized by the body. As a result, they are not synthesized as efficiently. Also, some forms of estrogen found in synthetic hormones are more powerful than the estrogen that is produced in the body and this can lead to harmful side effects. Some of the synthetic hormones are simply excreted from the body because the human body does not have the enzymes necessary to break them down.
Another concern is regarding synthetic hormones is the connection that the Women's Health Initiative found between synthetic hormones and an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes. This has led many patients to switch from synthetic to bioidentical hormones.
In contrast, your body recognizes bioidentical hormones and treats them the same as the hormones that are produced naturally in your body. They interact predictably with the hormone receptors and can begin to have a direct impact on the symptoms you experience from low hormone levels.
How Bioidentical Hormones Work
The hormones are taken in the form of creams, tablets, patches, gels and injectables. For the bioidentical hormones to be effective, your saliva needs to be tested to determine the quantity of certain hormones in your body. Then your doctor will know whether you should take more doses of a particular hormone. One of the benefits of bioidentical hormones is that your doctor writes a prescription that allows for a compounding pharmacy to mix a custom treatment for your body.