Hormones and Menopause - What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
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Women lose hormones as they get older. While the menopause transition usually occurs
around age 50, perimenopause, the transition to menopause can start in the early thirties.
Hormones and menopause is an important topic because most if not all the premenopause and
menopause symptoms are due to hormonal imbalance.
With hormonal imbalance comes one of the most debilitating consequence: weight gain. But
there are also the other symptoms such breast tenderness, cravings, fatigue, depression. These
are all the results of hormonal changes.
Hormones regulate the biochemical reactions in your body. That's why when your hormones
are out of balance, you suffer from so many symptoms.
To replace the lost hormones, doctors usually recommend hormone replacement therapy
(HRT). For a long time, synthetic hormones were the hormone replacement of choice.
Synthetic hormones are drugs made from pregnant mares' urine. They are not natural to your
body. Traditional HRT has been found in studies to increase the risks of breast cancer, heart
disease and stroke.
In contrast, bioidentical hormones are plant- based and synthesized in a lab to replicate the
hormones found in your body. However, you will have to find the right doctor who is
knowledgeable about the hormonal system. Your doctor will have to work with a
compounding pharmacy to put together a special formula that will be unique to the hormone
levels in your body.
The result of proper replacement with bioidentical hormones will be a return to your normal
weight (providing you have a balanced diet) and an overall feeling of wellbeing.
There are two hormones in particular that are out of balance at the onset and during
menopause: estrogen and progesterone. The symptoms associated with progesterone
deficiency include: painful, tender breasts, anxiety, PMS, night sweats, trouble sleeping, low
bone density and excessive water retention. Symptoms of estrogen deficiency include
unexplained weight gain, bloating, night sweats and hot flashes, depression, trouble sleeping,
foggy thinking, low libido, fatigue and low bone density.
The benefits of bioidentical progesterone are numerous. Among them are improved energy
and stamina. In addition, progesterone is a natural antidepressant and is known to restore the
sex drive. It also protects against endometrial cancer and fibrocystic breasts.
You must be aware of the fact that bioidentical hormones are controversial with some doctors
as they are not regulated by the Drug & Food Administration. Because of that fact, doctors
are skeptical about their reliability and quality. As with all natural treatments, you must do
your research and weight the positives and the negatives.