Bioidentical Hormones vs. Synthetic Hormones
Natural, biologically identical hormones are derived from plants, such as the wild yam or soybean plant, and are chemically and functionally identical to human hormones. Because of this, they produce the same physiologic responses and are processed by the body in the same way as endogenous hormones (those made by the body).
Synthetic, or non-bioidentical hormones are those that are manufactured with a different chemical structure to those normally produced in the human body. As the body works to metabolize these foreign substances it can produce toxic by-products, which cause a wide array of side effects like bloating, mood swings, water retention, and more serious problems such as cancer and heart disease. Synthetic hormones have been shown to produce harm and side effects that are not seen with bioidentical hormones. Another issue with conventional hormone replacement therapy is that only standard doses are available. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach to prescribing.
At Bayou MD, we use an individualized approach to hormone replacement therapy. We assess each patient’s individual hormonal status using their medical history, symptoms, and lab work. We then implement a protocol individually tailored for that particular person. Therapy is then carefully monitored, and if necessary, modified or titrated in accordance with clinical and laboratory results.
Testosterone is vital to the health and well-being of BOTH men and women. In women, testosterone is produced in both the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Testosterone contributes to muscle mass, strength and endurance, decreased fat, increased exercise tolerance, enhancement of the sense of well-being and psychological health. Testosterone protects against cardiovascular disease and reduces blood sugar. It leads to improved lean muscle mass, increased bone density, decrease in cholesterol, improved skin tone, improved healing capacity, and increased libido and sexual performance. It enhances the quality of life for women by decreasing the health issues caused by deficiencies. Because many providers only treat patients based on lab results, many don’t receive the treatment they need for optimal health.
Estrogen refers to a group of similar hormones produced in the body. Like Testosterone, Estrogen is a required hormone for the health of BOTH men and women. The main three are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrogens are believed to be protective against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory disorders. In women it also protects against vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, and prevents symptoms of menopause, including poor temperature regulation (i.e. “hot Flashes”). Estrogen deficiency is linked to: increased skin wrinkles of the face, fatigue, depression, mood swings and decreased libido.
The vast majority of women we treat need only testosterone supplementation as their body, like men’s, makes all the intracellular estrogen it needs from testosterone, thus avoiding the serious problems that can occur with high circulating estrogen levels in the blood. If estrogen supplementation is required, it can be done via capsule or cream. Non bio-identical synthetic estrogens bind nearly 20 times stronger to your cell’s receptors than natural hormones and have been proven to be harmful. Because of this, we only use bioidentical hormones.
Progesterone is primarily produced in the ovary just prior to and after ovulation. It is also produced in large quantities by the placenta during pregnancy and in small quantities by the adrenal glands. If you are on bio-identical estrogen, you should be on this hormone as well. It protects against uterine and breast cancers, fibrocystic disease and ovarian cysts. Progesterone counteracts the fluid retention, as well as other symptoms, seen in estrogen dominant women. Additionally, it potentiates estrogen’s cardiovascular and bone benefits.
Unfortunately, most women in the USA are prescribed a synthetic progestin (Provera), which can cause side effects such as bloating, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, and heart disease. Because of this, we only use bioidentical Progesterone, compounded in a strength specifically for you. The delivery system is by capsule, troche, triturate, or rapidly dissolving tablet.