What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Can It Really Help You Look Younger?
As researchers learn more about what factors influence the way we age and how our bodies work, it’s more apparent than ever the role hormones play in staying healthy. So what is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and how can it help you stay healthy and young?
Hormones are molecules your body produces to control most of your basic functions. They send messages throughout your body that keep everything running as it should. Hormones play a role in your immune system, sex, digestion, growth, and brain function. If your hormones are out of balance, you can experience negative symptoms in your health and well-being.
One of the options to rectify out-of-balance hormones is to get bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, otherwise known as BHRT for short. BHRT is when you replenish hormones your body no longer produces at normal levels.
What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
First, it’s important to know that different types of hormone therapies exist.
Most often, they are categorized as traditional hormone replacement therapy or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Both use hormones to bring your body’s hormone levels back into balance. But BHRT is man-made hormones that are almost identical to the hormones produced by your own body.
In BHRT the hormones introduced to your body are still man-made, but special care is taken to make them as identical to those in your body as possible. They are derived from plant estrogens that are chemically identical to the estrogens created by your body. These hormones derived from plants are still manipulated in a lab and altered to suit human use.
The most common BHRT treatments are done to raise levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone when their levels fall too low.
When is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy typically prescribed?
Doctors commonly prescribe to help women in menopause and perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause. During these times, women notice and change in their natural hormone levels. These changes lead to a range of symptoms and changes in their health and well-being such as:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Trouble concentrating
Similarly, as men age, up to 20% may notice their testosterone levels drop. Lower testosterone in men causes many common symptoms of aging, such as:
- Lower muscle mass
- Decreased sex drive
- Hair loss
- Mood changes
- Impaired memory
BHRT to replace low levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in men and women can prevent and improve already existing signs of aging that interfere with daily life. Your doctor prescribes BHRT after a consultation, and after they consider of a wide range of potential causes for your changes in health.
But BHRT also helps address health concerns like adrenal and thyroid disorders, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.
How does it work?
There are a variety of ways to get bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
- Creams and gels
- Injections and pellets
Whichever BHRT option you use, it is important that your doctor regularly monitors your health and progress. Your doctor tracks how your body responds to the treatment, can change the dosage as needed, and ensure that you aren’t experiencing severe side effects.
Does bioidentical hormone replacement therapy help you look younger?
In addition to helping improve health and well-being, many seek BHRT to slow and prevent signs of aging. There is research that supports the importance of estrogen in maintaining youthful skin. As a result, BHRT to increase lowering estrogen levels in aging women is often sought as a means to improve the health and elasticity of the skin.
But how is estrogen helpful for your skin?
Estrogen is important for healthy skin in a number of ways and lower estrogen levels is associated with:
- Hair loss
- Skin pigment changes
- Impaired wound healing
- Increased wrinkles, dryness, and oxidative stress
- Less collagen production
- Decreased skin elasticity
Research has found that skin aging can be delayed by receiving additional estrogen if levels are too low.
Are there any side effects?
While BHRT helps prevent aging, there are side effects. The side effects of all hormone therapies vary. The side effects someone experiences on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy depend on an individuals’ health history. For BHRT specifically, some people experience temporary side effects as their bodies adjust to the hormones. Some BHRT side effects include:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
The potential for side effects means that BHRT won’t be the best option for everyone. This is why it’s important to have a consultation with your doctor before doing hormone replacement therapy. Your doctor can learn your health history, review different options based on your symptoms, and give you all the information you need for your individual circumstances.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor because they can determine if your symptoms are a result of changing hormone levels. There is a range of reasons that your health changes as you age. Your doctor will consider all the potential causes of your health concerns when you meet with them and help you figure out if hormone replacement therapy is what you need to improve your symptoms.
How to book your first BHRT consultation
At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we offer bioidentical hormone replacement therapy overseen by our knowledgeable doctors. BHRT is an option for a range of conditions and can provide a variety of improved health outcomes, especially as you age. If it’s an option you have been considering, we can help you determine whether it is right for you or if there’s another treatment option for your health concerns.
When you book a BHRT consultation, our doctors can go over the following with you in your consultation:
- What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
- Should you do BHRT or traditional hormone replacement therapy?
- Is BHRT right for you based on your health history?
- How does your doctor monitor you for BHRT?
- How long does it take to notice the effects of BHRT?
You can get these questions, and more, answered in detail to help you determine if BHRT is the right choice for your needs.
To book your consultation, contact your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.
By Jodi Jaffe
November 20, 2021