Bioidentical hormones have the exact same molecular structure as those produced in our bodies. The body is able to utilize, metabolize and excrete supplemental bioidentical hormones naturally. On the contrary, synthetic hormones, like those found in FDA-approved birth control pills and non-bioidentical hormone replacement drugs, are different in structure and activity to the hormones naturally produced within the body. By now, we are all aware of the health dangers associated with synthetic HRT drugs including increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. But what about the safety of bioidentical hormone replacement?
Are bioidenticals superior?
Studies so far suggest bioidentical hormones are safer. Interestingly, multiple studies suggest bioidentical estriol and progesterone not only appear to be safe, but may actually offer protection against the very diseases synthetic hormones cause. The safety and positive health outcomes were seen in women who initiated treatment less than 10 years from menopause. While synthetic progestins have been associated with increased risk of breast cancer, bioidentical progesterone has not been shown to increase risk. In fact, several studies have indicated a decreased risk of breast cancer in women using bioidentical progesterone. Research on bioidentical progesterone demonstrates a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health including reducing risk of blood clots, lowering risk of atherosclerosis and optimizing HDL (good) cholesterol. Research on bioidentical topical estriol has not shown an increased risk of breast or uterine cancer as the synthetic estrogens have. Bioidentical topical estriol has been shown to improve bone density, promote youthful skin texture, and improve sexual and urinary health. Overall, research indicates a major difference in the health outcomes of bioidentical versus synthetic hormone replacement. Still, researchers recommend additional studies for accurate safety assessment.
Dr. Gandre’s Approach:
Dr. Gandre uses a comprehensive treatment plan including dietary protocols, lifestyle changes, herbal medicine and bioidentical hormone therapy to treat hormone imbalance, perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Hormone testing may be conducted. Bioidentical estrogen is only given as a topical cream and only to women less than 10 yrs from menopause. Bioidentical progesterone is usually given as a topical cream but may also be prescribed in oral form.