As we age, our body’s ability to produce our own supply of hormones declines, resulting in more rapid aging and changes in our body that occur due to the lack of adequate hormones.
For women, aging means menopause, a natural biological process that marks the end of the menstrual cycle. Physical effects of menopause can include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disruption, vaginal dryness, and mood swings that drive many women to seek solutions for these troublesome symptoms. Although diet and other lifestyle changes can help, women with more severe symptoms often seek hormone replacement therapy.
The same group of symptoms in men is also known as testosterone deficiency, androgen deficiency, and late-onset hypogonadism. Male menopause involves a drop in testosterone production in men who are age 50 or older. … If you’re a man, testosterone is a hormone produced in your testes.
So, the question becomes, which are more effective – synthetic or bioidentical hormones?
What are hormones?
Let’s start by talking about hormones and their role in the human body. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers! There are actually over 50 different known hormones in humans and probably many more yet to be discovered. Hormones are made inside of different organs, called glands. For instance, the thyroid gland makes thyroid hormones, the adrenal glands make different adrenal hormones, and the ovaries, (or testicles in men), male sex hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. When you put all these different glandular organs together, they make up the Endocrine System. The Endocrine System secretes these hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to all the other organs, muscles, bone, brain and skin, interacting and delivering messages that help the organs and cells perform their particular functions.
How do synthetic and bioidentical hormones differ?
The most common forms of synthetic hormones consist of mixtures of urine from pregnant mares, known as conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), and progestin. Those synthetic treatments most commonly prescribed are made by pharmaceutical companies that have proprietary claims on these drugs. Synthetic drugs come with the potential for serious side effects – blood clots, high blood pressure, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Bioidentical hormones are identical in every way to the hormones our own body creates and secretes into our bloodstream to keep bodily functions running smoothly without the potentially negative side-effects of synthetic hormones. The distinction is that bioidentical hormones are identical in their molecular shape, make-up, and structure to hormones made in the human body.
Why are Bioidentical hormones better for you?
Our hormones are comprised of a solid steroid base (cholesterol), decorated with “arms,” “legs,” and “tails” pinned on here and there. These attachments are what turn hormones into specialized molecules, allowing them to plug into receptor molecules throughout the body, turning on and off much of the cellular behavior that makes us tick.
So bioidentical hormones are the perfect “keys” to unlock the body’s receptor sites. In other words, it’s the shape of the molecule not the source of the molecule that resolves menopause symptoms.
When we take hormonal replacement therapy that doesn’t fit the original design that our cells have evolved to recognize, the end result simply may not feel or act quite right. Hence all those side effects, ranging from annoying and uncomfortable to downright dangerous can occur.
Bioidentical hormones duplicate the structure of our hormones exactly as they are found in our bodies. This is why they work better in our bodies.
What should your next step be?
Contact Sarasota Specialty at 941-366-0880 for an assessment of your unique situation. We often recommend saliva testing as an easy and noninvasive way of assessing your hormone balancing needs. We are finding saliva testing to be the most reliable medium for measuring initial hormone levels and monitoring levels during hormone treatment.