Bioidentical Hormone Replacement

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy presents an emerging treatment option for the symptoms of menopause. For some patients, it may be a path back to symptom-free living without the side effects of conventional hormone treatment. Dr. Mirela Mircea and Dr. Vivian Lugo-Eschenwald of Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia are well-versed in BHRT and can advise you if it’s an option you should consider.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Q & A

Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria

What’s BHRT?

In 2002, a study of hormone therapy for treating menopause halted prematurely due to evidence that risks of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and strokes was statistically higher for those undergoing this therapy. Many women and clinicians stopped therapy due to this, choosing to endure menopause symptoms without relief.

Hormone therapy remains the best treatment for relieving these symptoms. However, the search for a safer replacement found bioidentical hormones as an option. These are hormones that are biologically identical to hormones manufactured in the body. The theory is that a bioidentical hormone won’t have the same side effects as hormones that the body metabolizes from synthetic hormone treatments.

Does BHRT work?

Bioidentical hormones have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, though clinical testing isn’t as extensive as for substances used for conventional hormone therapy. However, it’s likely that BHRT medicines address symptoms at least as well as conventional therapy counterparts. It’s possible that BHRT treatments work more efficiently. Where research is lacking is in the determination of BHRT side effects, if these are the same, better, or worse than the drugs used in conventional hormone therapy. On a case-by-case basis, any drug may vary in effectiveness, so working with Dr. Mircea and Dr. Lugo is the best bet for finding a management plan that deals with your menopause symptoms.

What are the potential side effects of estrogen therapy?

While it’s not yet proven that bioidentical hormones present risks as severe as conventional hormone products, many medical organizations recommend proceeding as though these do, until clinically confirmed. Conventional estrogen therapy products may increase the risk of:

  • Pulmonary embolism – blockage of the arteries in the lungs
  • Deep vein thrombosis – blood clots in veins throughout the body, frequently in the legs
  • Cardiovascular disease – hardening of tissue in the heart and blood vessels
  • Stroke – loss of blood flow to the brain
  • Breast cancer
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