Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a new idea. For more than 30 years, some women who have undergone menopause have taken some type of hormone replacement pill.
Menopause is a physiological event in life and at this point in time, the ovaries stop making the natural estrogen and progesterone. The loss of these female sex hormones is associated with a number of disturbing physical and emotional effects. Thirty years ago, a varied combination of estrogen and progesterone were widely used to treat menopause. However, as medicine advanced many physicians became aware of the problems of prescribing sex hormones. Experimental work revealed that long-term use of these hormones led to the development of breast or uterine cancers. Soon many women were left with no treatment except for the occasional estrogen patch.
Well we are now back to where we started nearly 40 years ago. Today, there is a lot of hype about bioidentical HRT that are widely sought by many women. Bioidentical hormones are naturally occurring hormones extracted from plants. These hormones were initially easily available without a prescription but the concern for safety led the FDA to introduce a prescription for these plant derived hormones. Bioidentical hormones are available in many formulations. There are even some pharmacies that can tailor the exact dosages of estrogen and progesterone.
Bioidentical HRT is very useful for women who have undergone hysterectomy. The hormones can be delivered as a patch, pill, cream, gel, or even an injection. Currently there are two basic formulations- one formulation that has a constant does of estrogen and the other which comes with a varying dose of either estrogen or progesterone. There are even reports of some pharmacists adding testosterone to bioidentical hormones to boost libido.
In the short term, there is no question that bioidentical HRT can help strengthen bone, reduce fractures, improve mood and increase energy. There are many anecdotal reports, which claim that bioidentical HRT can help delay the onset of dementia and maintain cognition.
Bioidentical HRT, however, is not for everyone.