Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement

June 17, 2010

Most people have heard something about the controversy of menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). You might have heard that it causes breast cancer. There is research that supports that. There is also research that refutes it. And there is also research which suggests that hormone replacement therapy has NO bad effects if you use the bio-identical hormones instead of synthetic hormones or “natural” hormones from animals. I really don’t know the ins and outs of the research and the science on all that. Here’s what I DO know:

With my condition the health risks are GREATER if I DON’T do HRT. So that’s kind of an easy, no-brainer decision to make. I need the hormones – without out them I am at greater risk for some not so nice conditions – like osteoperosis for example. And heart disease. With the hormones I will almost certainly avoid those conditions and research is, at best, inconclusive about the risks for women my age (those studies were all done on older women with a natural decline in hormones).

The other thing I know is that anything natural is likely preferable to anything synthetic if it’s going in my body. And I’d rather it be a human hormone than a horse hormone even if that’s also “natural” (as opposed to synthetic). Some people say that HRT is the devil even if you use bio-identical hormones. Others, like my cousin, claim that as long as you use bio-identical hormones and keep them in balance then there’s zero risk. Because the hormones are exactly the same your body would make if it still could. There’s a logic in that that I just can’t refute (although I’m not sure about continuing it until I’m 90). Unfortunately science was never my strongest subject and even if it had been the intricacies of how hormones work are quite complex. I just know that it seems logical to me to use bio-identical hormones if they are available.

And so I choose the Vivelle patch for my estrogen instead of Premarin or Prempo. Regular birth control pills are also an option for some women but I still have hot flashes while on BCPs so I need something more. If anyone is nervous about wearing a patch instead of taking a pill I can tell you that, for the most part, it’s super easy. Here are some drawbacks:
– It is a little annoying to remember to change it out every 3-4 days (a daily pill is more easily incorporated in to a schedule).
– Sometimes my skin gets a little irritated if use the same spot too often
In the 4 months I’ve used it it has never come off in the shower. It stays in place and mostly you don’t notice it’s there. It’s clear so it’s not that noticeable to others (it is summer after all and we’re all showing a bit more skin). Although I usually place it somewhere on my back so it’s hidden.

And I choose Prometrium instead of Provera for my progesterone. I think I need to get my doctor to adjust the dosage a bit. The pros and cons of Prometrium are the same for me: It knocks me out. I actually wait until I am in bed to take it because I am completely out within 15 minutes of swallowing that pill. It’s a pro that it helps me sleep (and it’s some GOOD sleep). But it’s a con that I can barely get up the next day. I think a lower dosage will help that.

There is also another benefit to using the bio-identical hormones. If I stop doing fertility treatments and go back on the bio-identical hormones I can still try for a natural pregnancy. The bio-identical hormones will not harm a fetus while the synthetic ones might. Obviously the odds of that happening are much lower and that’s exactly why I’m trying the treatments. But it’s nice to know that it could still happen naturally and none of the drugs would harm the baby.

UPDATE: I just found this link that has an excellent explanation of all the misinformation out there about Bioidentical hormones.

I’m not sure if this information will remain at this url for long however so I’m going to also post the full text of it here: Controversies of Hormone Replacement Therapy.


4 Responses to “Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement”

  1. […] I finally got a post up about bio-identical hormones […]

  2. heyme Says:

    What is the difference between Bioidentical Hormones and Hormone Replacement Therapy?

    • Stolen Eggs Says:

      Using bio-identical hormones in hormone replacement therapy is a somewhat new thing. When you read about hormone replacement therapy it traditionally means replacing hormones with synthetic hormones or animal derivatives. Bio-identical hormones are the exact hormones found in the human body. They are not synthetic. They are not taken from horses. Their chemical makeup is exactly the same as what your body produces (or used to produce) on its own. In essence, using bio-identical hormones is a form of hormone replacement therapy. But as far as I can tell, the term “hormone replacement therapy” is generally only used when referring to the use on NON bio-identical hormones.

  3. Jeffrey Says:

    “It is a little annoying to remember to change it out every 3-4 days”

    Can’t you do pellet therapy instead, which only requires a replacement once every 4-5 months? Either way, I have begun hormone therapy 3 months ago and I have felt my energy levels shoot back to normal after 2 months. My sleep got better, my libido increased, and my overall feeling improved and I am thankful that you have found it useful as well.

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