Even though it’s been around for several decades, BHRT has been gaining a lot of press lately. Years ago, celebs like Suzanne, Oprah, Courteney Cox, and Sylvester Stallone helped bring the concept mainstream. The group of aging A-listers who have integrated BHRT into their health regimens is actually quite extensive. The male stars who retain their vigor and appearance with BHRT tend to be tight-lipped, but odds are, if you’ve seen a female star who has aged gracefully and doesn’t look like she’s been to a plastic surgeon, you’ll probably be able to find a mention of her online that ties her continued youthful looks to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Of course, BHRT isn’t just for the wealthy and elite anymore.
What is BHRT?
BHRT Definition: BHRT is the shortened name for bio-natural hormone replacement therapy, sometimes referred to as bioidentical hormone therapy or natural hormone therapy. It’s a broad term that refers to using plant-derived hormones to supplement people who have a hormone deficiency. The plant-derived hormones are molecularly the same as natural human hormones, though they generally come from either soy or yams. They may be compounded by a pharmacy or created in a lab by a pharmaceutical company and approved by the FDA.
What is BHRT Used For?
BHRT has a myriad of applications, most of which surround treating the reduction of hormones that naturally occur with age. For men, it’s primarily testosterone. For women, it’s estrogen.
- Treating the Symptoms of Menopause and Andropause (male menopause)
- Increasing Energy
- Assisting with Weight Loss
- Elevating Moods
- Sexual Health (desire/ feeling for women, desire/stamina/ ED treatment for men)
- Improving Cognition
- Bettering Sleep
- Reducing Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
- Lessening or Eliminating Depression and Anxiety
- Developing Muscle Tone
- Rejuvenating a Youthful Appearance
How Does BHRT Work?
Because our hormone levels decrease with age, and our bodies rely on them to function normally, reduced levels have a detrimental effect on overall health. Bio-natural hormone replacement therapy involves restoring hormone levels to the same levels you had when you were in your “prime,” so that total wellness can be achieved.
How is BHRT Different from Traditional HRT?
Traditional hormone replacement therapy and bio-natural hormone replacement therapy, although seem similar, have a number of differences, both in how they’re created and how they’re used.
BHRT is natural and uses hormones identical to human hormones. HRT is not and does not. To give a common example, the drug Prempro is often prescribed to help women suffering with menopause symptoms. The estrogens contained in it come from the urine of pregnant mares, which is considered natural, and fits the bill if the concept doesn’t disturb you, but the progesterone in it is medroxyprogesterone. This is a substance not found anywhere in nature. It’s totally synthetic.
The dose prescribed for BHRT is customized for each patient, but HRT is often a one-size-fits-all approach. Some HRT medications offer a handful of dosages. Looking at Prempro again, there are four strengths, ranging from 0.3 mg conjugated estrogens to 0.625 mg, and no, you cannot get it without the medroxyprogesterone, nor can you choose your dose of it. It’s premixed in the tablets with the estrogen. With BHRT, the goal is always to customize the dose to the patient’s needs, not just medicate and hope for the best.
Balance and wellness are the goals of BHRT. Stopping symptoms is the goal of HRT. This is probably the biggest difference you’ll note in how the treatments are performed. If a woman goes to her OBGYN and complains of menopause symptoms, the OBGYN will probably offer her Prempro or something similar, starting at a low dose. If the woman’s symptoms are extreme or they don’t dissipate after starting HRT, the doctor ups the dose. That’s it. Done. Doctors who use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy are more concerned with total wellness. They pay attention to each hormone, how they work together, and obtain a baseline reading of hormones to determine if BHRT is the right course of treatment, establish an ideal dose, and then monitor the patient after treatment to make sure the levels stabilize and that the patient responds well to the dose. They aren’t just treating symptoms; they’re treating the cause.
How Can I Tell if BHRT is Right for Me?
Generally speaking, if you’re a man over 30, and you’re “feeling old,” and you think improving any of the things listed in the “What is BHRT Used For?” section would benefit you, you might be a good candidate. Women may start dealing with perimenopause as early as their late 30s or may have menopause hastened by procedures like a hysterectomy. It’s these phases that typically coincide with a reduction of estrogen. Because BHRT is not a one-size-fits-all program, it’s always important to have testing done, as well as to have a doctor perform an exam and review your medical history to ensure there aren’t any contraindications. If you’d like to find out if BHRT is right for you, call us at 314-300-9199 to schedule today.