• Publish Date: June 7th, 2023
  • Hormone Therapy

Technological advances and years of clinical study have enabled the development of many effective therapies for various health conditions. One such therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), has gained considerable attention for its potential to help menopausal women address some of their most common and challenging symptoms. Many have experienced relief, while others may still be wondering if BHRT is right for them.

Reflections Medical Spa offers BHRT services for women going through menopause. Our experienced healthcare professionals aim to help you achieve optimal health and wellness, creating personalized treatment plans that include BHRT. However, trying something you’re not familiar with can be intimidating. Let’s discuss BHRT so you can make a well-informed decision!

What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?

Your hormones, the chemicals your endocrine glands make, are an internal communication system between cells, coordinating everything from digestion to sleep to weight and libido. When your hormones become unbalanced and depleted due to age or any other external factor, it’s important to identify this as soon as possible as the symptoms can be challenging to manage.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help restore balance, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, also known as BHRT, uses hormones extracted from a plant source identical to the hormones your body produces.

BHRT boosts low hormone levels and is frequently used to ease menopausal and cancer treatment symptoms. Some also use BHRT to treat insulin resistance, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and adrenal and thyroid disorders.

What Are Bioidentical Hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are lab-processed hormones that mimic the hormones made by your body’s glands. They’re derived from plants and chemically identical to many human body hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Depending on your needs and preferences, bioidentical hormones can come in the form of pills, creams, patches, gels, or injections.

What Are the Components of BHRT?

Drug companies make some bioidentical hormones, while pharmacies provide custom-made compounded bioidentical hormones. Compounding is the process of combining or altering ingredients to meet a patient’s individual needs. Because everyone is different, compounding offers the opportunity to customize therapies and doses to fit the needs of each individual.

For example, instead of using a single standard dose of a bioidentical hormone, healthcare professionals can customize the therapy to use different combinations and ratios of hormones, depending on each patient’s unique needs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some manufactured bioidentical hormones, but any custom-compounded products are yet to receive approval.

Traditional or Bioidentical: Which One Is Better and Safer?

Hormone replacement therapy has two forms: traditional and bioidentical. Both treatments aim to restore hormonal balance, but they use different forms of hormones. Traditional hormone replacement therapy uses urine from pregnant horses and other non-bioidentical hormones, which is why many BHRT supporters believe that BHRT is “safer” and more “natural.” However, experts say the risks of both forms are similar, meaning neither is necessarily safer than the other.

Generally, HRT, whether traditional or bioidentical, poses risks, especially without adequate scientific evaluation. But on the one hand, BHRT is produced in doses and forms different from FDA-approved products, which can be advantageous because of compounding. It can also be custom-made based on a saliva test that assesses your unique hormonal needs.

Understanding Menopause

Now, let’s talk about menopause to understand the need for BHRT. Menopause is a life stage for women that marks the end of reproductive years. You lose your ovarian follicular function and go through a decline in estrogen levels. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, and you can no longer become pregnant. Some women also go through menopause because of surgical or medical procedures.

Menopause begins with the “perimenopause” period, when you first observe the signs and changes in your menstrual cycle. Perimenopause can last years and ends a year after your final period. Ultimately, the natural part of biological aging can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Symptoms of Menopause

Those who haven’t gone through menopause may not understand the effects it brings. On the other hand, those who have gone through it can share experiences that are similar to the following:

  • Hot flashes. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, and they usually start in the face and chest. It’s a sudden feeling of heat combined with dizziness and palpitations. Hot flashes also cause night sweats and physical discomfort and can come in waves.

  • Insomnia. Women going through menopause can also have difficulty sleeping, which the mentioned hot flashes can cause.

  • Irregular menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle becomes irregular, and it can sometimes last longer or be shorter than usual. This symptom culminates in the final menstrual period.

  • Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness is another common symptom of menopause because of decreased estrogen levels. You may feel pain during sexual intercourse and have difficulty lubricating.

  • Mood swings. It’s normal to have a roller coaster of emotions, but during menopause, these mood swings can become severe.

  • Depression and anxiety. Menopause can also make you irritable, anxious, and even depressed. The hormonal changes can affect your mental and emotional health.

Women going through menopause can also have changes in body composition. The pelvic support structures weaken, and loss of bone density contributes to osteoporosis and fractures. Moreover, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) can still be contracted and transmitted, especially when the thin vaginal wall increases the chances of tears and lesions.

Why Should You Understand Menopause?

Menopause is a natural process; every woman will eventually go through it. Therefore, understanding it is essential to helping you manage and accept the changes in your body. Additionally, knowing the symptoms can help you quickly recognize something wrong and seek medical attention.

Women aged 50 and over counted for 26% of all women and girls worldwide in 2021, meaning there are more women in advanced age than ever before. With that comes the need to understand menopause and its effects so more women can live healthy lives during and after this transition.

Your health during and after menopause depends on your lifestyle and environmental factors. You also have to learn about your prior health and reproductive history. Remember, menopause can affect your personal and professional lives, and caring for yourself promotes healthy aging.

When you see menopause as an opportunity to reassess your life, you can find new ways to enjoy it. Understanding menopause helps you take control of your quality of life and set the foundation for a healthy future.

BHRT for Menopause: How Does It Help?

Menopause is a type of hormonal imbalance, and BHRT can help restore that balance. BHRT increases the levels of hormones that have dropped, alleviating the menopause symptoms mentioned above. When you take bioidentical hormones through injections, implanted pellets, or other recommended methods, they can work in the same way as your body’s natural hormones.

Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, BHRT also improves the following:

  • Memory problems. Your memory can decline when aging. BHRT can help you improve mental clarity and focus by providing hormones that help support the brain’s function.

  • Weight gain. Estrogen deficiency is associated with increased body fat, especially around your midsection. BHRT helps restore hormone levels and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Interest in sex. Low hormone levels can reduce your libido, but BHRT helps restore hormones and lubrication for more satisfying sex.

  • Risk for diabetes, tooth loss, and cataracts. Your risk for diabetes and other medical conditions decreases with balanced hormone levels.

  • Skin thickness, hydration, and elasticity. Lastly, BHRT helps improve your skin’s appearance, making it look youthful. It can help reduce wrinkles!

The symptoms of menopause bring a unique set of challenges to women, so it’s important to seek help from experts when needed. Various non-hormonal and hormonal interventions can help you manage the symptoms, and BHRT is one of the options your healthcare provider may suggest. Women need these treatments to enjoy a healthy life and see menopause as a beginning of a new, more enjoyable stage, not an end.

BHRT Side Effects and Risks

There are FDA-approved BHRT products, but it’s crucial to know that it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Moreover, no compounded bioidentical hormones are regulated for safety or effectiveness, meaning you should proceed with caution when considering them. Since BHRT works by restoring hormones to their natural levels, it can also cause side effects related to that.

  • Weight gain. As mentioned above, hormone levels affect your weight. If you take BHRT, be aware of the potential side effects of weight gain.

  • Fatigue. It’s common to feel tired during or after taking BHRT, so monitor your energy levels.

  • Bloating. BHRT can cause bloating and water retention, so if you experience this as a side effect, talk to your healthcare provider about how to ease the symptoms.

  • Spotting. If you take BHRT, it’s possible to have light spotting or bleeding between periods.

  • Cramps. Along with spotting, you may also experience cramps due to changes in hormone levels.

  • Changes in the facial skin. Some women experience changes in their facial skin while taking BHRT, such as acne or increased oil production. It’s also possible to notice increased facial hair.

  • Headaches and mood swings. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience headaches or mood swings while taking BHRT. They may suggest changing the dose or an alternative treatment.

The side effects of BHRT can be manageable or even beneficial in some cases. However, another vital thing to note is that BHRT carries a risk for certain serious conditions, such as blood clots and stroke. Women using BHRT also have a higher risk of gallbladder and heart disease. Clinical trials have examined cardiovascular outcomes associated with estriol therapy, meaning no definitive research is available on the complete safety of BHRT.

Lastly, tenderness in the breast as a side effect of BHRT has been reported. This side effect may signify tumor growth, which can be associated with breast cancer. BHRT isn’t recommended for those with breast cancer, blood clotting disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke.

Tips for Taking BHRT

Yes, BHRT works, but taking the necessary steps for a safe and successful treatment is also important. Here are five crucial tips for using BHRT safely:

Learn About Menopause

The first and most crucial step is to learn about menopause, mainly how it affects your body. This way, you understand the changes you experience and why you need interventions. The more you know about menopause, the better you can manage it.

Evaluate Your Needs

You know your body best, so evaluating your needs is essential. Take time to observe and document your symptoms, which will help you determine the best treatment for them. Take note of your body’s reaction to the changes and communicate this information to your healthcare provider.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

Another vital thing to consider is seeking medical advice. Talking with your healthcare provider about menopause symptoms is essential for finding the proper treatment. They can provide more information and determine which type of hormone therapy suits your case. Healthcare providers also know the options for addressing any side effects you might experience.

Understand Your Options

There are different types of hormone therapy, including BHRT. Research different approaches to know which works best for you and your body. HRT isn’t the only way to address menopause symptoms. You can also practice lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and diet changes, to reduce the severity of your symptoms.

Ask the Experts

Lastly, never hesitate to ask questions to the experts. Whether it’s your healthcare provider or other experts, feel free to seek advice and opinions to help you make an informed decision. It’s also a great way to alleviate any doubts or hesitations you have when it comes to using BHRT. Whenever you feel uncertain or need guidance on hormone therapy, ask those who are more knowledgeable.

By following these tips, you can ensure your BHRT journey is safe and successful. Exhaust all the resources available and make sure you understand everything before starting. Remember that taking charge of your health is essential for achieving hormone balance!

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy at Reflections Medical Spa

Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life. Some go through it without any problems, while others need medical intervention. Reflections Medical Spa understands all the sides of menopause and how it affects every woman differently. If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to handle menopausal symptoms, consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).

Our team has extensive experience in providing BHRT, and we use only the highest quality products to ensure your safety and satisfaction. We have helped countless individuals achieve hormone balance through BHRT, and we are prepared to do the same for you. Our goal is to help you transition into menopause smoothly.

At Reflections Medical Spa, we strive to provide the best care possible. We understand that your menopause journey is unique, and we want to help you in any way we can. Our medical professionals are dedicated to getting to know you and your needs to create a customized treatment plan. With us, you can rest assured that you are in the best hands for BHRT!

Menopause can be a difficult time in a woman’s life, but with the proper support and treatment, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for an effective and safe way to handle menopausal symptoms, Reflections Medical Spa’s bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is the answer. Contact us today to book your appointment and start your journey toward hormone balance.