BIO IDENTICAL HORMONES 101

BioIdentical hormones are hormones made that match (identical) the hormones in your body (bio). Bio-identical estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are made from soy and/or wild yam hormones, and can be used safely to help men and women with various symptoms. Alternatives are other hormones that are not matching your exact hormonal structure, but maybe similar. It is important to not use the word “natural”, as even non-bio identical hormones, can be “natural”. Premarin, conjugated estrogen, is made from pregnant horse urine, so while it is “natural”, it doesn’t match your biology, and therefore not bio-identical. 

Why do we need these hormones?

First, it starts with our biological reasons of procreation, but whether or not pregnancy occurs, there are many other uses for hormones in our body. While we generally think of female and male hormones, it’s important to realize we have all hormones within us, just in different amounts. Below will outline the uses of hormones outside it’s reproductive roles. 

Let’s start with what estrogen does at various receptor sites in the body.

  1. Brain: temperature regulation, memory, and mood
  2. Heart: protective, has effects blood vessels 
  3. Liver: regulates cholesterol production 
  4. Bone: density and strength
  5. Skin: collagen support, moisture (including vaginal)
  6. Urinary: can help reduce incontinence (inability to hold your urine)

Progesterone is another important hormone that helps: 

  1. Bone: helps make new bone
  2. Brain: aids in sleep and  memory, used in the treatment of traumatic brain injury
  3. Metabolism: increases body temperature, appetite, and energy
  4. Mood: antidepressant/anti-anxiety effect

Testosterone helps:

  1. Bone: helps density and strength
  2. Muscles: helps develop and strengthen
  3. Brain: may help boost confidence, may help energy
  4. Mood: antidepressant, may help cognition
  5. Heart: dilates coronary arteries 

How Do I Know if I need Hormones?

If you are suffering from hormonal changes, most often related to female menopause, or male andropause, hormones may help reduce the side effects of the drop in your body's ability to make hormones. You can get your hormones tested in blood, urine, or saliva to help determine where your levels are at, and potentially what you need. There maybe other reasons you need hormones, such in the case of a hysterectomy, or premature ovarian failure. 

Hormones and Cancer

The general risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 8 women. Risk factors that you can control, are smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, hormone use and alcohol use of more than 1 serving per day. The risk amongst women using hormones is approximately 8-9 women more per 10,000, which then is similar to as if a woman was drinking 2 alcohol beverages. Hormones can come in the form of the oral contraceptive pill, and other various forms. The risk is decreased approximately 2 years after stopping hormones. 

Where Do I get Bioidentical Hormones?

There are 2 types of pharmacies; one’s that sell manufactured prescriptions, or think of your  “regular” pharmacy, and ones that can do that, as well as custom make prescriptions, called compounding pharmacies. Both pharmacies can carry bioidentical hormones. Oral Progesterone is available in the manufactured form, but unfortunately is made with peanut oil. While peanut oil sounds harmless, if one has a nut allergy that can be problematic. Peanuts are a crop that has heavily pesticide use and is  commonly known to have a toxin, called aflatoxin. For these reasons, a compounding pharmacy is a better choice. 

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