Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
If you suffer from a hormonal imbalance that is causing you discomfort and you’re considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, San Diego clinicians at Aspire Regenerative are here to help. This innovative therapy can help alleviate symptoms of menopause and andropause, help reclaim youthful energy levels, help you get a better night’s sleep, and much more.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormones are essentially the chemical messengers of the human body. They transport instructions throughout the body which stimulate different cells to carry out an array of functions necessary for our survival.
Hormones control if you feel hungry or full. They tell your body when to store fat and when to burn those fat cells for energy. In women, estrogen hormones are what prepare breasts to produce milk after giving birth. As we age, the production of certain hormones begins to naturally decrease. A reduction in estrogen, for example, starts a woman’s transition into menopause.
Unfortunately, sometimes the hormonal levels within a person’s body can become imbalanced or start to decrease too rapidly, and when this happens it can cause great discomfort. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy helps treat these hormonal imbalances. By supplying the body with hormones that are chemically identical to the ones the body itself produces, this therapy works to correct hormonal imbalances.
How Are Bioidentical Hormones Different From Synthetic Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones, which are typically made from plant estrogens, have the exact same molecular and chemical structure as native hormones found within the human body. Synthetic hormones are not biologically identical and because of this, the body reacts to them differently. This reaction can cause side effects, including an increased risk of contracting blood clots, heart disease, breast cancer, and having a stroke.
Doctors have begun using bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT), sometimes called “natural hormone therapy,” as an alternative to synthetic hormone therapies (HRT). One of the primary reasons for this is that clinical studies have shown BHRT to be more effective than HRT. In addition, BHRT is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease than HRT.
What Are the Benefits of BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is an effective treatment for both men and women. BHRT doctors may recommend this treatment to help with a wide range of ailments, including:
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Low libido
- Hair thinning
- Weight gain
- Insulin Resistance
BHRT can also help women who are suffering from the following symptoms of menopause or perimenopause:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
BHRT is sometimes used as an anti-aging treatment. It has shown promising results as a means of increasing skin thickness, elasticity, and hydration, while reducing wrinkles. In addition, BHRT can help reduce the side effects and symptoms of certain cancer treatments.
It is important to note that there can be side effects associated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. You should provide your doctor with a full medical history and address any concerns before beginning this or any new therapy. Some of the known side effects of BHRT include irritability, nausea, soreness or pain in the breasts, acne, and hair growth.
How to Treat Low Testosterone with BHRT
BHRT is often associated with women’s health, but men can also use it to boost testosterone levels. This hormone plays several vital roles, governing bone and muscle mass, sex drive, and red blood cell production, among other functions.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease as men get older, and that decline is typically steepest in middle age. It can cause the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Disrupted sleep (which may include night sweats)
- Decreased muscle mass
- Diminished sex drive and/or erectile dysfunction
- Mood changes, such as increased irritability
- Feelings of depression
- Hair loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Issues with memory
- Difficulty urinating
Men with any of these symptoms may want to consider bioidentical testosterone as an effective way to make up for their decreased production of this hormone. Several benefits of testosterone replacement therapy have been reported, including:
- Increased energy levels and vigor
- Enhanced lean muscle mass and an overall boost in strength
- Lower body fat
- Improved sexual function
- Lower stress and anxiety levels
As with other forms of BHRT, testosterone therapy may cause side effects. These can include acne, minor water retention, a lower sperm count, and a higher red blood count. Talk with your healthcare provider about your medical history or any concerns before starting bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy.
How Are Bioidentical Hormones Administered?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy doctors tailor this treatment to each individual patient. You will need to be monitored closely while you are undergoing this therapy, so that your doctor can make sure you are on the lowest dose of hormones possible to achieve the intended results.
Bioidentical hormones can be administered in a variety of forms, including implanted pellets, injections, patches, gels, and creams. Your doctor will determine which form is best for you.
Interested in learning more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? Book a consultation with one of our BHRT therapy San Diego doctors. Our clinicians can answer any questions you may have and even suggest other treatment options based on your specific health and wellness goals.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) FAQS
Answers to frequently asked questions about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)
Is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy safe?
In general, yes. A 2014 study showed bioidentical hormones have a better safety profile than synthetic hormones and a 2017 phase III study, the REPLENISH trial, produced an excellent safety profile. As with any therapy, there are risks of side effects but these can be mitigated with a personalized risk analysis based on personal and family history along with a regimented monitoring system.
Does insurance cover bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
Generally, insurance does not cover the cost of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. A patient can use a HSA/FSA to cover the cost of bioidentical hormones and may also request a superbill for submission to their insurance for reimbursement. Cost can also be controlled by placing 90 day medication orders and when appropriate combining multiple agents into one cream or capsule.
What is the cost of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
On average, the cost of bioidentical hormones is $35-85 per month. Many factors influence price including, geographical region, individual pharmacy prices, quantity of hormones needed, formulation (oral vs injectable vs pellet, vs topical), and the number of months the prescription covers.
Can bioidentical hormone replacement therapy help with weight loss?
Yes, but not all hormones. Testosterone, growth hormone, and growth hormone releasing hormone have the greatest evidence burden for reducing fat mass and increasing muscle mass. However, there are many factors that determine the appropriateness and safety of these therapies for any individual patient.
How long should you stay on bioidentical hormones?
There is no concrete answer to determine the duration of a bioidentical hormone therapy regimen. This should largely be determined by a healthcare provider using a shared-decision making model considering patient goals and risk tolerance.