Does bioidentical hormone replacement really work?

Yes, they work for some people. The results will differ depending on your symptoms and health history. Talk to your healthcare provider about bioidentical hormones and what form might work best for you. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend that you not use bioidentical hormones and opt for a more traditional hormone replacement therapy option.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has the ability to closely match the chemical composition of its own hormones. This helps to reduce side effects and allows for a smooth transition. During menopause, a woman's body produces less of the hormone estrogen, which can cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and thin bones. The FDA is concerned that statements such as these mislead women and health professionals, giving them a false sense of security about the use of potentially dangerous hormonal products.

The term “bioidentical hormones” simply means that they have the same molecular structure as the body's hormones. These hormone preparations do not undergo the same safety, efficacy, or dosage consistency tests as regulated HRT.

Compound bioidentical hormones are advertised as a safer, more effective, natural and individualized alternative to conventional hormone therapy.

Both compound and FDA-approved hormones come in different doses and forms (pills, creams, gels, sprays, and vaginal inserts). I guess I have to tell my sister to ask her doctor about treatment options because she has been taking bioidentical hormones for 5 years and believes that this is the safest way to replace hormones.

The use of any type of hormone therapy is a decision made between you and your healthcare provider after carefully weighing the risks and benefits. Bioidentical hormones have been the subject of controversy, and many aren't approved by the FDA, but that doesn't mean your healthcare provider will rule them out as a treatment option. While personalized hormone combinations often include mixtures of the same ingredients found in FDA-approved bioidentical hormones, some include additional hormones. She specializes in many different issues affecting her as a woman, including hormonal imbalances and menopause.

Regulated bioidentical hormones are often referred to as “body identical hormones” (rBHRT) to reduce confusion with composite bioidentical hormones (cBHRT). Bioidentical hormones are processed hormones designed to mimic the hormones produced by glands in the body. If you use a patch, cream, or gel, you may feel itchy or red around the area where you apply the hormones. In particular, salivary hormone levels are known to fluctuate and have not been shown to be related to menopausal symptoms.