BHRT stands for Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. It is the practice of giving a person natural sex-hormones to achieve what the body would naturally produce in the 'prime of life'. As the title above implies, there is some controversy over whether it is safe and natural to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Since the discovery of human hormones, the development of hormone drugs, and usage of bio-identical hormones have gone through many changes since HRT first began to be used by doctors after 1943, when Premarin was developed. This provided some relief for women suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately this came at a price. Not until 2002 did studies get publicised showing HRT can increase a woman's risk for cancer. Now another 15 years later, we can now say that BHRT has developed to the point of being very safe and life-changing by improving the health of women and men.
There are three main issues I'd like to cover in this brief overview of bioidentical hormones. First, let's define the difference between conventional HRT and BHRT. HRT, primarily Premarin, is a synthetic analog of estrogen. It is not the same as human estrogen. It acts like estrogen to a degree, but it's clear it has more unintended effects and risks. Similarly, the progestins (progesterone analogs) used in HRT are not bio-identical. I won't go into the details of the pharmaceutical, financial and political reasons why doctors would start using un-natural hormones on humans, but thankfully there are natural alternatives that mimic nature and provide safe support.
Secondly, the key to effective BHRT is to determine a person's individual needs. The right testing is key. Many doctor's don't test at all before putting women on HRT. Sometimes blood tests are used to monitor therapy. However, it is clear that blood testing is not adequate to measure a person's endogenous (produced inside the body) hormone levels. Instead, it needs to be combined with urine testing to determine the full picture of hormone status. A 24-hour urine collection hormone test is the Gold Standard for prescribing and following BHRT. This simple test provides a wealth of health information across the endocrine system. This includes sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and thyroid hormones.
The third issue for effective BHRT is how to take the hormones... ie, what is the best way to get them in the body? Turns out, after years of challenges to consistently get hormones into the body we have arrived at a very simple and effective way to do that. There are oral, injectable and topical methods, all with varying success. The problem has been these methods either are inconvenient or lose effectiveness over time. Thankfully it turns out trans-mucosal application is very effective in most cases. When hormones are applied to mucous membranes they can be effective for long periods of time. For women, this is applied to the inner labia or vaginally. For men, on the anus. Although sounding inconvenient, compounding pharmacies put the hormones in a very tiny amount of cream that is quickly applied with no fuss or mess. The hormones are absorbed safely and quickly.
Now you might be thinking 'why bother?' What health problems are you having that might be caused by your low hormones? In all seriousness... all of them! The widespread effects of hormones in the body means that signs of aging and other ailments are often caused by a deficiency in life-sustaining hormones. This can include fatigue, sleep trouble, weight gain, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, allergies, frequent colds, blood pressure and blood sugar problems......
Lastly, to get the best results, there needs to be follow up testing and supportive natural strategies to make sure one is getting the right balance of hormones in the body. To learn more about BHRT and it's powerful benefits, contact Naturopathic Med!