Understanding Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)3 min read
The human body is certainly a very complex, fascinating and very efficient piece of machinery. Over the years, man has tried to discover the constituent components that make the body work the way it does. Needless to say, there are many different and very important components that medical scientists have discovered over the years, one example of these components are hormones.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones have been defined as chemical messengers that are secreted by endocrine glands in the body directly into the blood stream for onward transportation to a specific organ of the body where it controls the operations of such an organ. From this definition, we can infer that if and when these hormones fail to do their job for whatever reason, the body experiences some form of malfunction and this causes problems in the body.
There can be a deficiency of hormones, over production of hormones or even a total lack of hormone production. With each case comes certain challenges. Having laid this background, we want to focus on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) with a special emphasis on Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Since this article is meant for the average reader who has little or no prior medical background, we will need to explain the difference between HRT and BHRT which obviously is the “B” which stands for Bioidentical.
HRT simply stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy. According to Wikipedia, “Hormone replacement therapy refers to any form of hormone therapy wherein the patient, in the course of medical treatment, receives hormones, either to supplement a lack of naturally occurring hormones, or to substitute other hormones for naturally occurring hormones.” With Bioidentical Hormone Replacement, the supplemental hormones used are those that have the same molecular structure as those naturally produced in the body.
To summarize the above, we can safely say that the difference between HRT and BHRT is that in one case, the supplemental hormone used does not have the same molecular structure as those produced in and by the body while in the other case (BHRT), the supplemental hormone used has the same molecular structure as those produced in and by the body.
Is the above difference significant? Yes! it surely is. Prior to the introduction of BHRT, HRT was the only treatment available. A study was carried out by Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) which was published in 2002. In this study, about 16,000 postmenopausal women were involved and below are some of the findings:
* The combination of non-bioidentical estrogen and progestin significantly increased the risk of breast cancer and heart attack
* The use of non-bioidentical estrogen increased risk of stroke.
* The use of non-bioidentical hormones in HRT resulted in a 25 percent increase in the risk of invasive breast cancer.
This is by no means a full report of the findings. These are just a few bullet points that should give us an idea of the significance of the difference between HRT and BHRT.
You do not need to be a medical practitioner to assume that the body would be more receptive of hormones that have the same chemical structure as the ones produced naturally, as opposed to ones that are of a totally different molecular structure. It is almost like having a blood transfusion and using blood of a different group from that of the recipient. Despite all good intentions, the result could be disastrous, as can be seen from the report above.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is something that has been of great help to many women experiencing menopausal symptoms. In fact, on Jan. 15, 2009 Oprah Winfrey (who said menopause caught her unawares) admitted that she is taking bioidentical hormones and that they have made a big improvement in how she feels.
Bioidentical hormones are better processed by the body and are therefore safer. Women and indeed men all over can now live life to the fullest without worries of menopausal symptoms or other symptoms arising from hormonal imbalance. Needless to say, you need to consult a qualified BHRT physician for proper administration of this therapy. Talk to an expert today and start enjoying life again.