Bioidentical hormones are widely used in hormone replacement theory to relieve the symptoms of menopause in women. However, the side effects make their usage unsafe in some cases. This article provides some information on the same.
Hormones undergo a lot of changes at every phase of life, especially in women. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all have significant effects upon the hormones of the body. As women age, the balance of hormones in the body disrupts a little. Female hormones begin to diminish around menopause. As a result, women often experience some undesirable symptoms. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is recommended to relieve the women of these symptoms. HRT restores the balance of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, androgen in the body, so that it starts functioning normally. Until now, synthetic hormones were commonly used in HRTs, but these days bioidentical hormones are preferred over the synthetic hormones. Although bioidentical hormones have several advantages, they also have certain side effects.
Dependency is the biggest issue of concern with these hormones. Since, these hormones are exactly similar to biological hormones, the body takes them for its own hormones. Naturally, the presence of these hormones tricks the body into believing that it is producing enough hormones, whereas in reality it is producing less amounts of its own hormones. The prolonged use of these hormones makes the body lazy and increases its dependence upon these hormones.
Although these hormones are custom formulated according to the individual needs of a person, they are unable to undergo any alteration once inside the body. On the other hand, biological hormones undergo change according to emotions, stress, and other stimuli. Since, hormones and behavior are closely associated, this creates a state of confusion in the body. The biological hormones alter according to the stimuli whereas the bioidentical hormones retain their composition irrespective of emotional variations. As a result, the body is unable to take a decision and goes in a state of confusion. Some individuals may also go in a state of depression without a reason.
Physical Side Effects
These hormones also bring about certain undesirable changes in the physical characteristics of an individual. Weight gain and hair loss are some of the common side effects observed in both men and women. Besides, women may also experience unwanted facial hair growth and it may also cause fatigue while on bioidentical replacement therapy. Adjusting the dose according to one’s state of mental and physical health is very important. Hence, it is necessary to follow the physician’s instructions to the word.
Synthetic Hormones Vs. Bioidentical Hormones
Synthetic hormones are pharmaceutically formulated and are available under various brand names. They can be patented. In synthetic hormones, chemicals are used to mimic the biological hormones. However, these chemicals do not have the same molecular structure as the body’s own hormones. Hence, the body is almost always able to distinguish between its own hormones and those that are supplied externally. Besides, synthetic hormones also induce certain severe side effects, since the body is reluctant to accept these synthetic hormones. Synthetic hormones are produced on the basis of the formula ‘fit for all’, meaning, the same hormonal composition is made available to anyone who uses the hormones, irrespective of their individual needs.
On the other hand, bioidentical hormones are produced in compounded laboratories considering the individual’s personal needs. There is a difference between natural hormones and bioidentical hormones. The former is extracted from natural materials and then processed into various forms. They are not necessarily identical to biological hormones. Hence, the chances of body rejecting these hormones are quite high.
However, the latter are totally identical to the body’s own hormones. Hence, the body does not distinguish between biological hormones and bioidentical hormones. When one is on bioidentical hormones, the blood tests reveal the constitution of biological and bioidentical hormones as a single entity, due to their exactly similar molecular structure. Rejection issues are nil with bioidentical hormones and the body also responds well to these hormones. However, that does not mean that safety of these hormones is unquestionable.
The side effects of bioidentical hormones are less serious as compared to synthetic hormones. One should consult the physician in order to minimize these symptoms. If one knows how to cope with these side effects, one may actually be able to live a healthier and happier life.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.