FAQs About Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

What causes aging & isn’t aging natural?

Sure aging is natural, if you live long enough! Death is natural too, so are wrinkles! But, who doesn’t fight the inevitable? Aging is caused by the slow and steady decline of our bodies’ natural hormones. Our hormones were at their peak when we were young healthy adults. The thyroid hormones, sex hormones and adrenal hormones all decline with age. This decline is associated with the onset of degenerative problems, such as, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, adult onset diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Numerous symptoms occur with hormonal decline as we age including: loss of energy, weight gain, decreased mental sharpness, depression, anxiety, irritability, joint and muscle pains, headaches, sluggish bowel function, hair loss, cold sensitivities, numbness and tingling in the extremities, insomnia, restless sleep, tiredness after sleep, afternoon fatigue, loss of stamina and endurance, decreased libido, loss of sexual potency, irregular menstrual cycles, fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, weight gain, and loss of resistance to infections.

These symptoms are so very common that they are considered normal by individuals and physicians alike. But they are not normal, rather they are a sign of a decline in bio-identical hormones that accompany aging. These symptoms are an indication that our bodies are transitioning from health and wellness to sickness and tiredness.

Since aging is caused by a decline in our natural hormones, it can be easily corrected by bioidentical hormone replacement. Think of hormonal decline as a drought. If your grass and plants are withering during the summer months due to a heat wave and lack of rain, then you can accept this as natural and normal, or you can water your yard to ensure that your grass and plants live. So too, when your hormones decline, as they inevitably will, you can replenish them with the same natural, bioidentical hormones, restoring your health, or you can suffer the drought of hormones with all the associated problems. It is your choice.

What are hormones?

Hormones are bioidentical chemical messengers made by the hormone producing glands in the body, known as the endocrine glands. The term hormone is derived from the Greek root hormaein which means to arouse to action or to excite. Hormones are secreted through glandular tissue into the blood stream which carries them to different areas of the body where they exert their effect.

The endocrine system allows the body to respond to both internal and external conditions in order to maintain the body’s internal equilibrium and balance. Ultimately the brain controls the hormonal production by sending messengers, called neurotransmitters, to the endocrine glands signaling them to action. The hormones are produced in minute amounts and are measured in picograms, parts per billion, yet they are very powerful. The influence of the various hormones on the functions of our body is profound. They regulate our growth, sex characteristics, reproductive capabilities and the energy production or metabolism which enables the cells of our body to perform their functions.

You have probably heard of the several of the glands that produce hormones, such as the thyroid gland, the ovaries, the testes and the adrenal glands. The hormones produced by these glands work together synergistically, enhancing one another’s function when they are properly balanced.

The difference between bioidentical & counterfeit hormones?

When our bodies no longer produce our hormones in adequate amounts to maintain good health, we should restore our faltering hormone levels with the same biologically identical hormones that our bodies currently make. The term bioidentical does not refer to the source from which they are derived. Because the supplemented bio-identical hormone molecules are exactly the same as those which we produce, then they are identical in action. The cells of the human body benefit from the supplemented bio-identical hormones in identically the same way they benefit from the hormones which the human body produces.

The cells of our body have receptors for each of our bioidentical hormones. When we supplement with bio-identical hormone supplementation, then we are replenishing the body with the same identical hormone molecules that our body has always made. Because these hormones are bioidentical they bind quickly to the receptors and cause the appropriate effect. Our body has enzymes which breakdown the bioidentical hormones quickly and metabolize them so that they can be excreted from our system.

Bioidentical hormones are derived from diosgenin, a plant molecule found in soybeans and wild yams. Diosgenin is extracted from these plants and converted into progesterone in the laboratory.

Progesterone can then be converted into the three human estrogen hormones, estrone, estradiol, and estriol, and also converted into human estosterone, cortisol, dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and pregnenolone.

Counterfeit hormones produced by drug companies have different molecular structures than the bioidentical hormones. They bind to the receptors in our cells in such a way that they are not easily broken down and removed by a woman’s body. It may take several months for the counterfeit hormones to be cleared from the body. This can cause an exaggerated hormonal effect, which can lead to a host of side effects.

Counterfeit hormones, including birth control pills, are produced by pharmaceutical companies and do not occur naturally in the human body. The counterfeit hormones are synthetically produced by making chemical changes to the bioidentical human hormones. The drug company counterfeit hormones are not biologically identical to naturally occurring human hormones. The counterfeit hormones include those hormones commonly used by mainstream medicine for hormone replacement therapy and for birth control.

They do produce some effects similar to the bioidentical hormones in a woman’s body but are also associated with numerous side effects, many of which are serious. The counterfeit hormones create a state of estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency. Common side effects of the counterfeit hormones are headaches, including migraines, breast tenderness, mood swings, fluid retention, weight gain, and loss of libido. They are also associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots to the lungs.

The numerous and severe side effects of counterfeit hormones are listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference. The counterfeit hormones also prevent the production of women’s own natural female hormones and pheromones making them less attractive to men. There is no reason for any woman to poison her body every day with counterfeit hormones when safe and effective bioidentical hormones are available.

Illness is seen as an opportunity to prescribe drugs. If you do not think that this is the case, then take a look in your medicine cabinet.

The difference between wild yam creams, phyto-hormones & Bioidentical Hormones?

Many health food stores carry wild yam creams which contain diosgenin. Diosgenin is termed a phytohormone, which means plant hormone. Often these products are claimed to contain progesterone or progesterone building phytohormones. Diosgenin is not progesterone and cannot be converted by our bodies into progesterone or any other hormone. While some women may experience a partial improvement of their symptoms using wild yam creams, you should not be misled into thinking that this is the same as bioidentical hormone supplementation or replacement.

Many different brands of over the counter progesterone cream products are available. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) limits the maximum amount of progesterone that can be present per ounce of these creams. The FDA only allows these products to be sold as skin care products. In many of these products the amount of progesterone present is not even listed. The purity of the progesterone in these over the counter creams varies greatly from company to company. Contrary to what some authors have written, progesterone is poorly absorbed through the skin. This is why we recommend slow release Progesterone which is released over a twelve hour period in the small intestine.

Are Bioidentical hormones approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)?

Because Bioidentical hormones are encapsulated at the compounding pharmacy from the highest grade FDA approved bio-identical hormone ingredients, no further FDA approval is required.

To learn more about natural hormone therapy, call Orange County Bioidentical Hormones Doctor, Janel Meric, M.D. of the Tustin Longevity Center in Tustin, California.