Sunday, February 8, 2009

About Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are essentially hormones which are very similar in structure and activity to the natural sex hormones produced by the body. The two common bioidentical hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Bioidentical simple means that these hormones are naturally occurring and not synthetic. All bioidentical hormones are derived from plant sources. Over the years, various plants like the Yam have been known to contain high amounts of these bioidentical hormones which are then synthesized in a lab.

Natural bioidentical hormones have been widely used in Europe and South America by women to treat both menopause and causes of ovarian failure. In North America, bioidentical hormones have just caught on. One of the chief reasons why bio identical hormones are preferred by women is that they are natural and do not contain any synthetic preservatives or additives. Unlike synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones have a lesser chance of side effects.

Most people believe that bioidentical hormones are only used by females- while this was true years ago, it is not true today. Middle aged men also take bioidentical hormones. Of course, the bio-identical hormone men take is not estrogen but testosterone and progesterone. Why do men take bioidentical hormones? Men reach the 40s and often find that they are getting tired, are unable to sleep, feel depressed and have no energy. Many other men find that they have lost an interest in sex and have no libido. Unlike women, men do not have a true menopause but certainly do develop very similar physical and emotional effects because of the decline in testosterone levels. This is known as andropause. Synthetic testosterone formulations are often prescribed by health care workers for some men to improve these side effects. But why should one take synthetic chemical hormones when one can take natural bioidentical hormones?

Bioidentical hormones have identical actions to either testosterone, progesterone or estrogen. Bioidentical hormones are available in various formulations- such as tablets, capsules, gels, creams, and even injections. The topical preparations of natural bioidentical hormones are useful because they avoid the system side effects like formation of blood clots and bloating which come from chemical hormones.

All consumers should understand that just because they take bio identical hormones does not mean that they will not have side effects. All hormones have side effects but one can decrease the risk by taking prescribed dosages for a short time. In addition, it is essential to get the levels of hormones measured in saliva or blood tests to ensure that the therapy is working.

When taking bioidentical hormones like testosterone, men should notice an improvement in their feelings of wellbeing and health. One of the greatest benefits of bioidentical testosterone therapy is that it can restore libido.

To date, bio identical hormone therapy is used to treat symptoms of menopause or andropause. Individuals can easily get levels of these hormones measured in the saliva or by blood test, and depending on the degree of deficiency; a formulation of bioidentical hormones can be made. The majority of bioidentical hormones are compounded or mixed to provide an individualized therapy.

One of the problems with bioidentical hormone therapy is that not all physicians have enough knowledge about hormones needs for aging men and women to prescribe it. The chief reason for this is ignorance about the hormones is that medical school does not provide a great deal of information to doctors about menopause and andropause.. So the most difficult part of bio-identical hormones therapy is to find a physician and a compounding pharmacy to make up the prescribed formulations. There is some controversy regarding compounding of these hormones but the hormones themselves are not banned by the FDA.

Before one buys bio-identical hormones, it is essential to discuss the matter with a health care physician. In the last few years, many professionals have gotten involved in bioidentical hormone therapy. Cyberspace is inundated with everyone trying to sell bioidentical hormones. Remember, there have been a few cases of fake and counterfeit hormones. So never buy these bioidentical hormones from the internet. Talk to friends, colleague or a health care professional. Ask questions and if in doubt, get a second opinion. While the hormones may be cheap, the quality and the quantity can never be verified.

While the cost of a real bioidentical hormone from a reputable pharmacy in North America may be slightly expensive (about $50 a month) you can rest assured that the hormone is not only safe, will remove your menopausal symptoms, and help balance your hormones.

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