Bioidentical Versus Natural Hormone Replacement

By Wendy Melton

  • Overview

    Bioidentical hormones were created as an alternative to synthetic hormones. These hormones have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by the human body. The only difference is they are constructed with steroid components. They may be identical to the hormones in the body, but they are synthetically made.
  • What Does Bioidentical Mean?

    Bioidentical means these hormones have the same molecular structure as hormones that are found in the human body. They are chemically manufactured as steroid hormones that can be easily assimilated by the body. These bioidentical hormones are made of natural molecules and cannot be patented. What can be patented is the form of delivery. Many of the hormone patches contain bioidentical hormones.
  • Bioidentical vs. Natural

    Natural estrogens and progestins are considered to be carcinogens. Some research implies that the bioidentical hormones have fewer risks. They have the same molecular structure of natural hormones and work in almost exactly the same way, but because of their steroid makeup, they do not seem to cause cancer. One of the drawbacks is that they are chemically made of natural components. This may hinder the breakdown and assimilation of the hormone in the human body.

  • How Do I Know Which is Which?

    Natural hormones will have "natural" on the label. Bioidentical hormone therapy will either have the word "bioidentical" or the letters "BHRT" (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) somewhere on the label. They may also use the word natural, but if they are bioidentical, it must be specified on the label. If you have any questions, consult the manufacturer.
  • Will Bioidentical Hormones Work the Same as Natural Ones?

    Because they have the same molecular structure as naturally occurring human hormones, they will work in generally the same way. Bioidentical hormone supplements can be tailored to an individual's symptoms and needs. Bioidentical hormones are essentially natural because they come from plants or animals, but they have been chemically altered to match those that are found in the human body.
  • Warnings and Considerations

    Consult a physician and a natural health practitioner before beginning any new hormone replacement program. Never assume that because something is natural, it is safe for you as an individual. Discuss your options with your physician and find out what your body needs and what it will be able to use most efficiently. There are many forms available as well. The patch, creams, tablets and capsules are just a few of the ways they can be used.
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