Menopause: What are Bioidentical Hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are chemicals that are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make naturally. When a woman reaches menopause, she begins to experience a natural decline in her reproductive hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Replacing these hormones with bioidentical hormones may help relieve some of the symptoms associated with menopause like hot flashes and cognitive changes (e.g., reduced concentration and trouble remembering).

Why are bioidentical hormones used?

In addition to helping with hot flashes and cognitive changes, bioidentical hormones are used to treat other symptoms associated with lower hormone levels, including:

  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Problems sleeping
  • Loss of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Weight gain
  • Emotional changes

What are the risks of bioidentical hormone therapy?

Many women take hormones to limit the symptoms of menopause, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also be used to treat bone loss and osteoporosis. While HRT has become a fairly common treatment, it may increase a woman’s risk of certain conditions including:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart disease

How are bioidentical hormones administered?

There are many ways doctors prescribe bioidentical hormones. Depending on your unique situation and personal preference, you and your doctor will find the method right for you. Most HRT medications are available as pills, patches, creams or gels, injections or as an implanted pellet.

Each woman’s individual risk largely depends on her health history and lifestyle. Before starting HRT treatment, you should discuss the benefits and associated risks with an experienced, knowledgeable health professional like the doctors and nurses at Bay Area Physicians for Women. If you’re in need of a skilled Mobile, Alabama gynecologist, call 251-344-5900 to find out how we can help you live your best life.