Hormonal replacement treatment is an important part of helping women take control of their bodies. As men and women age their hormones may become imbalanced in one way or another. This imbalance can contribute to a number of illness. A significant number of illness can be traced to the reduction of certain hormones. Today there are bio-identical replacement therapies that can help ease or even correct the issues experienced by those with imbalances. The choice of which method to use can be difficult with the number of hormonal treatments available both over the counter and through prescription. Most studies that have been conducted on hormone replacement therapy have used synthetic hormones which has led to some confusion on the benefits and risks of HRT.
WOMEN AND THEIR RISKS
Hormone replacement therapies and women have an interesting love-hate relationship. Women love the way that replacing the lost hormones feel, yet hate the potential of certain health risks. Long term use of hormone replacement therapies have been linked with higher incidence of breast cancer, stroke, and heart attacks.
Some research has been presented which may indicate hormonal imbalances are the culprit in the risks. Before menopause women do not experience the risks associated with estrogen. During women’s 30s they are protected by high levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, but these hormones are in balance. The risk for the health issues above increase once menopause occurs and the hormones become imbalanced.
WHAT HRT IS USEFUL?
While the long term studies on bio-identical hormones haven’t been conducted with enough frequency, there have been some interesting conclusions from those that have been completed. Hormones that have been started within a ten year period of menopause onset are beneficial to the protection of the heart and the brain. Delivery of certain bio-identical estrogens have a protective result compared to oral. The oral delivery forces medication through the liver before the hormone is made available to the body which causes clotting issues. Delivery through the skin has become popular in creams, patches, sprays, and gels.
COMPOUNDS VS PHARMACEUTICAL
There are methods of delivery preferred by patients and doctors. However, depending on one mode of delivery can cause a strain on the body and limit choices. At times a patient may need more or less of the bio-identical hormone. These differing amounts may be available in a compounded form whereas the pharmaceutical version is limited on the amount available.
Many doctors are now choosing to combine their prescribing methods of hormone replacement treatments. The lowered cost of compounded versions helps patients on a limited income or with insurance difficulties. Most creams can be found in one version or another at local drug stores.
Utilizing bio-identical HRT can be a protective agent in health, if used correctly. Transdermal delivery has been determined to increase the protective activity of the estrogens. Creams and other compounds combined with a transdermal delivery pharmaceutical may help balance the hormones in women who have passed menopause and need to avoid the bone weakening effects of lowered estrogen.