What Are Bio-identical Hormones? Explain the safety and applications
What Are Bio-identical Hormones?
Hormones are chemical substances secreted by the body that travel in the bloodstream to the tissues or organs; they are significant components for growth and development in the body. Bioidentical hormones are artificial hormones similar to the hormones produced by the human body.
They are artificial hormones that have a similar chemical composition as some hormones in the human body. These bio-identical hormones are made from plant steroids found in soy and wild yam and are called diosgenin, which has a similar look and effect as the hormone in the human body.
Using bio-identical hormones helps people who experience symptoms of unbalanced or low hormones. These symptoms are predominantly found in women in their perimenopausal or menopausal stage with a history of a blood clot, breast, ovarian, or womb cancer, people with liver diseases, or high blood pressure.
The process by which these low or reduced hormones are replaced in the body using artificial hormones is known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This procedure is mainly done to help women ease the symptoms of menopause, which come in different forms, such as mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and chills.
Types of Bio-identical Hormones
There are many types of bio-identical hormones, and these hormones work for different purposes, so patients must work based on the recommendation of their medical professional. These hormones include cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA; prasterone), thyroxine, etc. Hormone therapy treatments are administered using various methods; however, some of the most popular administration methods are injections, skin patches, rings, swallowing pills, and vaginal creams. In most situations, it’s given by a shot in the muscles, thighs, hips, or directly under the skin in the fatty part of the arm, leg, or belly.
Bio-identical Hormone Applications
Since both men and women experience symptoms of unbalanced or low hormones and aging, using bio-identical hormones is beneficial for both genders to maintain stability. The bioidentical hormones help:
Decreased Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Health Problems Related to Loss of Hormones:
Replacing low estrogen with bio-identical hormones in women tends to help them become calmer, happier, and more energetic, which improves their mood and other symptoms associated with menopause. In men, bioidentical hormones help regulate mood, weight, and libido, which allows them to wade off mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Unbalanced or low hormones can reduce sex drive because they affect the human sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), but when these sex hormones are replaced with bioidentical ones, it helps with the release of these hormones, which play an essential role in initiating sexual activities and desires in both men and women.
Improved Ability to Lose Fat and Build Muscle:
Hormone Replacement Therapy uses bioidentical hormones to replenish low or unbalanced hormones, regulates body metabolism, improves sleeping patterns, and increases the body’s energy level. This process enables weight loss, muscle building, toning, and balance.
Improved Sleeping Pattern:
Replacement for hormones such as estrogen enables better sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep, decreases the incidence of insomnia, and reduces vasomotor symptoms (also known as hot flashes and night sweats, often considered the cardinal symptoms of menopause).
Decreases Symptoms of Menopause:
Low or unbalanced levels of progesterone and estrogen lead to a lot of discomforting symptoms, some of which include low energy levels, night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, chills, sleep problems, weight gain, decreased libido, decreased ability to achieve orgasm, e.t.c.
- Reduced Bloating:
Menopausal bloating often comes with a lot of irritation to the bowels, primarily because of hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps relieve these irritations in the bowel.
- Thicker Hair:
Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen are responsible for producing thick, healthy hair; however, a deficiency of these hormones can cause hair loss. Taking a bio-identical hormone can help reduce the incidence of hair loss and improve the growth of thick, healthy hair.
- Healthier Skin:
Estrogen and progesterone hormones are responsible for the production of collagen, the oil gland in the skin, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. They ensure the production of skin thickness, reduced wrinkles, hydration, and elasticity. When these hormones are reduced or entirely lacking, it might be detrimental to the skin; hence, bio-identical hormone replacement treatment is highly recommended.
Side Effects of Bioidentical Hormones
As much as bio-identical hormones and hormone replacement therapies are highly beneficial, they adversely affect patients who consume them. For some patients, the symptoms are slight, while for others, they are highly severe. Some of these subtle side effects include:
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Facial hairs
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
In addition, bio-identical hormones and hormone replacement therapy users may be predisposed to high health risks such as increased blood clots, stroke, gallbladder disease, heart disease, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, inflammatory markers, and cardiovascular disease (including heart attack).
Are Bio-identical Hormones Safe?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health organizations have noted that bio-identical hormones may not be regarded as safe in light of some negative effects and high-risk conditions. However, the majority of doctors concur that bio-identical hormones can treat menopausal symptoms in the three stages of menopause in most women and some men. Therefore, if used in a suitable dosage for a brief length of time and delivered by qualified medical experts, the use of these hormones in hormone replacement therapy may not be too harmful.
Bio-identical hormones are lab-made hormones that have identical features to some of the hormones in the human body. Though highly beneficial to some men and women with certain health conditions, particularly menopausal symptoms, it has its side effects and risk factors. If you need a bio-identical hormone replacement treatment, you must seek your medical professional’s counsel.