Imbalanced hormones as a result of aging or disease can severely affect your overall health and well-being. Hormones control key bodily functions such as immunity, mood, libido, and appetite. As a result, many people, especially women, look to hormone replacement therapy to help regulate hormones and ease symptoms such as:
- Decreased libido
- Hot flashes
- Thinning hair
- Trouble concentrating
- Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
Conventional hormone replacement therapy is controversial due to potential risks including cancer and thromboembolism. Therefore, many naturopaths, including myself, opt for an alternative approach to hormone replacement with the use of bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) makes use of hormones that have chemical and molecular structures that closely mimic those found in the body. While bioidentical hormones are produced in a lab with naturally-derived chemicals, your body cannot tell the difference between its own hormones and bioidentical hormones, allowing you to benefit from increased levels rather quickly. If you’re suffering from hormone-related symptoms, bioidentical hormone replacement could play a key role in improving your quality of life.
One key condition BHRT has proven to help manage is inflammation. For example, hormone imbalances may cause inflammation in the joints, causing pain and physical disability. This is especially true for women with the fluctuation of estrogen during menopause. Research shows that bioidentical hormones can help reduce joint pain by protecting lubrication, function, and biomechanical structure, utilizing estrogen receptors in the joints and the anti-inflammatory properties of estrogen.
Inflammation also affects brain function and is present with depression as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help protect against degeneration while safeguarding memory and learning. Postmenopausal women who use BHRT have a lower risk of dementia than those who don’t. And new research suggests that starting bioidentical hormone replacement earlier helps maintain brain health better than if BHRT is used later in life.
Additional benefits of bioidentical hormones include bone health, muscle strength, regulation of unnecessary weight gain, and a renewed sex drive. For younger-looking skin, studies show that BHRT can increase the skin thickness by 30% and collagen by almost 7%, which combats wrinkles and dehydration. BHRT may even work to prevent chronic conditions in symptomatic women when started within 10 years of the beginning of menopause or before age 60.
The effects of inflammation and hormonal imbalance on all systems of the body can make you feel older than you need to. Thankfully, treating these imbalances with safe and natural bioidentical hormones can optimize your body chemistry so you can feel healthy, beautiful, and vital no matter your age.