BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES: THE KEY TO A VIBRANT LIFE
For many women, navigating the twisting turns and sudden blind corners that can be the hallmarks of the journey we call "menopause" can be a daunting task. Especially with all the information, and more to the point, misinformation that's being thrown at us from so many different directions -- well-meaning friends and family, health care providers and of course the media. In this article, it is our intention to dispel the false and misleading information to help create a clear path to safely and effectively navigate the pre- and post-menopausal years. The hormonal changes that precipitate menopause begin earlier than you might think, usually at about 37 years of age.
In fact, perimenopause (pre-menopause) can occur at any age and is often associated with the cessation of menses but is usually associated with a slowdown in progesterone production. The resultant imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone (called estrogen dominance) can occur at any age and also cause symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, PMS, hot flashes, osteopenia, fibrocystic breasts, vaginal dryness, and memory lapses or "brain-fog". Some causes of hormonal imbalance that have nothing to do with age are common in today’s highly industrialized fast paced world including the use of birth control pills, exposure to environmental toxins, and chronic stress.
In addition, women who are actually experiencing peri-menopause and who are not taking replacement hormones have increased risks that have been reported in large studies such as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Follow-up Study (HERS-II Study). An increased risk of uterine cancer, heart attacks, breast cancer, and deep vein thrombosis has been identified with the use of synthetic hormones, such as Premarin and Prempro, both widely prescribed and derived from horse urine.
If you're shaking your head at this point, you are not alone. Given the choice of the debilitating symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances and the increased serious health risks associated with HRT as it is widely prescribed, what's a woman to do?
There is a simple answer: Bioidentical Hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are identical in chemical structure to what your body naturally produces. They are generally plant-based, often derived from soybeans or yams, and the body's response is the same as its response to its own naturally produced hormones, hence the term bioidentical.
Bioidentical HRT can provide effective relief from troubling menopausal symptoms (as well as other conditions related to hormonal imbalance) without the disruptive side effects common with the use of synthetic hormones. Just like the body's own natural hormones, bioidentical hormones help in the long-term prevention of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease and relieve the troubling symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
In response to the negative results of WHI and other studies involving only synthetics, the French completed a study in 2005 E3N French Women Prospective Study (you can see the details on our website), but the bottom line was, no increase in breast cancer for users of bioidentical hormones.
Because every human being is biochemically unique a natural hormone-balancing program must be individually designed for each woman to be effective and give the greatest benefit. Genetics, life style, and individual needs all play a part in determining the best treatment to support and maintain a high quality of life throughout a woman's entire life cycle - whether she is young woman dealing with PMS or a mature woman negotiating the ups and downs of the menopausal years.
A physician trained in the use of bioidentical hormones will use simple, accurate tests to determine the bioavailable hormone (what is usable) in your body and prescribe the precise ratio of single or combination hormones you need to leave you feeling healthier, stronger, and more vibrant...at any age.
Finally, for men the controversy is less than for women but symptoms of low testosterone begin at age 40 and hormone levels should be part of a yearly check up.