Traditional HRT vs. BHRT: Which is Right for You?
Is BHRT a welcome-upgrade to the common, conventional method of HRT? Here are some fast facts you need to know.
While some medical experts swear by traditional HRT, others prefer the natural, more holistic approach of newcomer BHRT. Your body’s entire physiology is controlled by hormones, serving as an internal communication system between cells that coordinate and regulate everything from digestion, appetite, libido, immunity, growth, metabolism, and more. And, if there’s even a slight imbalance or decline of any of the body’s hardworking hormones, it can have a negative impact on one’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Luckily, there’s help – and options.
What is BHRT?
BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) uses man-made sources derived from plant-based estrogens that are chemically-identical to the hormones produced by the human body. The most popular replicated hormones used in BHRT are testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen and are usually administered to treat the adverse effects of perimenopause, menopause, and andropause, including:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
- Sleep disorders/insomnia
- Low libido
- Skin thinness, wrinkling, laxity
The most common forms of BHRT include pills, patches, creams, gels, injections, and pellets. While some bioidentical hormones are manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies that are FDA-approved, others are produced by compound pharmacies that customize a very specific dosage and unique cocktail formulation to meet the specific needs of an individual. Since BHRT uses a more natural approach to hormone replacement with hormones that identically rival those produced by the human body, users feel BHRT is safer, purer, and of higher quality than its HRT counterpart. When administered in pellet form, the time-released pellets are conveniently inserted just below the skin’s surface, usually near the hip area, freeing the patient from the hassle of remembering to take a shot, wear a patch, or lather a cream. The process is quick, easy, and virtually painless. It usually doesn’t need to be repeated for a few months, depending on the needs of the patient.
What is Traditional HRT?
Traditional HRT uses substances like animal urine, along with other synthetic hormones. While estrogen is derived from the urine of pregnant mares, the progesterone portion is typically composed of medroxyprogesterone acetate, a synthetic form of the hormone. HRT is FDA-approved and is administered through creams, gels, pills, patches, and injections. While most bioidentical hormones used in BHRT are made-to-order by a compounding pharmacy, traditional HRT dosing is standardized and manufactured by all the major pharmaceutical corporations. Patients are not routinely given a blood or saliva test to determine dosage, as treatments are based solely on symptoms.