Friday, February 27, 2009

Bio identical hrt – Hormone Replacement Therapy

Bio identical hrt is not a new concept. For the past 50 years, women have been taking some type of hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause. During menopause, all women stop making the natural estrogens and progesterones. The loss of these sex hormones is associated with a myriad of physical and emotional effects. In the 70s and 80s, estrogen and progestins were widely used to treat menopause. However, as research evidence began to accumulate, most physicians stopped prescribing these hormones for fear of inducing growth of breast or uterine cancers.

Well, now we have now come full circle. Today there is bio identical hrt which is widely used by many women. Bioidentical hormones are naturally occurring hormones found in plants and then synthesized in a lab. They are widely available and do require a prescription. The formulation can be adjusted so that one can have the right amount of estrogen or progesterone that the individual needs.

Bio identical hrt is very useful for women who have undergone hysterectomy and can be delivered as a patch, pill, cream, gel or even injection. The two basic formulations are ones which have a constant dosage and those which have a varying dosage of sex hormones. Bioidentical hormones can also be compounded with or separately with testosterone to provide a boost to libido.

One other benefit of bio identical hrt is that they strengthen bone and reduce fractures.
Bio identical hrt is meant to be used only for shorten period of time (usually anywhere from 2-5 years). Younger women who have premature ovarian failure or have undergone a hysterectomy may take bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for many more years. Short term studies of bioidentical HRT has revealed that these drugs are very useful and do help women avoid the ravages of osteoporosis and also reduce the risk of heart disease. These bioidentical hormones work exactly like the natural estrogen and progesterone in the body..Other recent studies indicate that bioidentical HRT taken soon after menopause protect against early dementia.

Bio-identical HRT is not suitable for women who have liver disease, have a history of blood clots or have vaginal bleeding which has not yet been diagnosed.

Because there is always a potential for side effects, all women who intend to take bio identical hrt should be followed up regularly by a health care professional to have their hormone levels checked.

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