Frequently Asked Questions about Hormone Therapy

What is BHRT and how does this differ from synthetic hormones?

BHRT stands for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.  Hormones are regulatory substances produced by the body and transported in tissue fluids such as blood to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. Biochemically speaking, the structure of a molecule determines its function and properties. The term bioidentical does not indicate the source of the hormone but rather the chemical structure. Bioidentical hormones are originally derived from a molecule called diosgenin in either soy or yam. Through a series of chemical processes the plant molecule, which is structurally similar to a steroid hormone, is converted to the specific human hormone molecule in a laboratory. The final product has no trace of the plant – just the pure biologically identical hormone. Bioidentical hormones convey the same action and effect, are metabolized into the same downstream metabolites, have the same binding affinity, and are expected to restore normal physiology.  It is the molecular difference between non-biologically identical hormones and biologically identical hormones that is responsible for their different actions in the human body.

What forms of BHRT do you offer?

We offer topical and/or oral preparations of progesterone, estrogen, and DHEA.  We also offer topical and oral testosterone and testosterone injections.  Additionally, we will give you an individualized supplementation protocol and specific diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management recommendations. For those interested in this support without taking extra hormones, we can focus on supplementation, diet, and lifestyle only. We do not offer pellets at this time and do not offer synthetic hormone replacement therapies.

Who benefits from hormone optimization and/or BHRT?

Any adult women or men experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance will benefit from hormone optimization and/or BHRT.

What are the benefits of BHRT?

BHRT has been shown to improve depression, anxiety, cognitive function, vasomotor symptoms, sleep, vaginal dryness, sexual health, sense of wellbeing, and chronic disease prevention.

Is BHRT safe?

Twenty-five years of research and hundreds of published studies conducted in the US and Europe have demonstrated bioidentical hormones to be equally or more effective than non-bioidentical hormones for symptoms. Published studies also indicate their safety. In the January 2009 issue of Postgraduate Medicine, Dr. Kent Holtorf published an article citing 196 research studies. He comments, “Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal derived counterparts. Until evidence is found to the contrary, bioidentical hormones remain the preferred method of hormone replacement therapy.”

Can I optimize my hormones without using bioidentical hormone replacement?

Yes, in fact we encourage focusing on diet and lifestyle support first as a root cause of hormone imbalances. You can do this with or without the addition of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. We will discuss your options in detail during your hormone optimization visits and help guide you on what is best for you and your health goals.

What other options are available for hormone optimization besides hormone replacement?

Based on lab results, your practitioner will also give you an individualized supplementation protocol and specific diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management recommendations. As stated in the previous FAQ, this option is available with or without bioidentical hormone replacement.