Now that you have decided to journey down the HRT path, the immediate decision you face is “Do I select traditional HRT or Bioidentical HRT?”
You may want to quickly reach for your cell and call your mom to ask what she recommends, but we wouldn’t suggest that. Like so many other health treatments in our marvelous tech world, the practice of hormone replacement therapy has evolved and improved rapidly in the past few years, and today’s HRT “ain’t your momma’s HRT.”
Let’s take a look at the two branches of hormone replacement therapy – Traditional HRT vs Bioidentical HRT – and shed some light on which path is best for you.
What Is Traditional HRT?
Traditional HRT products are synthetic estrogens that have an identical structure to those produced in our bodies and thus can mimic our naturally produced hormones. The most prescribed synthetic HRT combination for women are estrogen and progesterone. The estrogen is made from conjugated equine estrogens extracted from the urine of pregnant mares, and the progesterone is made from medroxyprogesterone acetate which is a synthetic form of progesterone.
What Is Bioidentical HRT?
Bioidentical HRT products are made from naturally occurring plant sources, such as yams and soy, and are compounded by a pharmacist. These hormones have the same molecular structure as those created naturally in the human body, such as estrone, estradiol, estriol progesterone, and testosterone. Additionally, they act exactly like the ones the body naturally produces, and in fact, the body is not able to distinguish between bioidentical hormones and those that the body produces.
What Are the Differences Between These Two Types of HRT?
- Compounding Effectiveness. Bioidentical hormones are uniquely compounded for each individual’s body, allowing for a custom-made approach to treatment. Traditional, synthetic hormones only come in predetermined doses and formulations and are not ideally matched to the human body. This can result in the synthetic hormones not effectively reacting in the body to produce the expected results in the same way as natural hormones compounded to the patient’s specific hormonal needs.
- Side Effects. Traditional HRT does not provide complete symptom relief for all patients and may have unwanted side effects, including bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, stomach cramps, and headaches. According to an abstract published by the National Library of Medicine regarding the “efficacy and tolerability of compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy,” the risks associated with traditional, synthetic HRT have not been associated with bioidentical hormones. “Overall, 57.7% of the women surveyed reported fewer side effects and 71.8% of the women had better relief of menopausal symptoms when using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.”
- Flexibility. The greatest advantage BHRT has over its traditional HRT counterpart is the flexibility that the technology provides during a specific patient’s treatment. HRT hormones are manufactured by the drug companies in standardized doses which limits the private physician’s freedom to adjust the amount and type of hormones administered to his patient.
Bioidentical HRT hormones, on the other hand, offer the physician and his patient a greater degree of autonomy in determining the amount and type of hormonal supplements administered because each specific treatment is customized to the woman’s specific needs. Hence, the doctor can determine what factors pose the greatest risk to his patient (such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, for example) and then customize the BHRT treatment plan based on these assessments and the personal feedback received from the patient. Under the capable and intuitive care of Dr. Fliedner, this ability to carefully monitor and change dosages is a huge advantage to his patients.
According to the National Library of Medicine:
“Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts. Until evidence is found to the contrary, bioidentical hormones remain the preferred method of HRT. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to delineate these differences more clearly.” [source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19179815/]
The Benefits of Both BHRT and HRT
The best benefit of hormone therapy, bothTraditional HRT or Bioidentical HRT, is relief from menopause symptoms and improvement of overall health. Studies show that hormone replacement therapy reduces the risk of many health issues including heart disease, osteoporosis, and brain diseases such as dementia.
We recommend hormone therapy for all women experiencing severe menopause symptoms. Are menopausal symptoms creating havoc and upset in the rhythm of your life? Are you ready for relief from sleep disturbances and hot flashes?
Contact our office to schedule an appointment by calling 469-455-1665, or Contact Us if you have any questions! Dr. Fliedner can determine the best type, dosage, and delivery method to relieve your problematic symptoms.