For years, HRT has been the preferred option offered to women to help address their hormone imbalances and keep menopausal symptoms at bay. Dr Nyjon Eccles, The Natural Doctor® and a specialist in natural women’s health addresses other options that are now available to women and talks through the correct steps needed to help women get a full diagnostic picture before they make any decisions.
HRT for many women is no longer a preferred option whether this be due to the negative press and risks that have been attributed to talking it but suffering and soldering through the menopause is also not an option for many women as life can be horrendous and the emotional and physical symptoms often begin between the ages of 45 and 55.
Dr Eccles takes a look at an advanced hormone balancing treatment called Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, which works by supplying your body with adequate levels of key hormones like oestrogen and progesterone and testosterone. BHRT is suitable for both men and women and works by restoring deficiencies of the key hormones it needs by using compounds that have the exact same chemical and molecular structure as those naturally found in the body. Like HRT, Bio-Identical hormones relieve the symptoms of hormone imbalance and menopause and improve quality of life and well-being.
Dr Eccles says, “Each person must have a hormone assessment test before they begin BHRT treatment which involves a comprehensive baseline hormone test that includes a urine, blood, or saliva test so we can check the following:
Oestrogen, progesterone, pregnenolone, testosterone, DHEA, Vitamin D (a hormone not a vitamin). In addition, I also look at cholesterol, which is important for hormones, plus we look at cardiovascular risks and markers for inflammation and all of this then gives me a lot of useful additional information about the patient’s physiology. Once I know what all these hormone levels are and if they are deficient we look at ways of restoring these levels which will help improve positive physiological benefits.”
WHEN SHOULD YOU DO THIS TEST?
Timing of when to do the hormone panel test depends on whether a woman is still menstruating and if they are no longer menstruating then any time is fine but if they still have a regular cycle then they should do the test day 19 to 21 days into their cycle.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER BHRT /NATURAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
• Suffer from moderate to severe hot flashes
• Have reduced bone mass
• Have premature menopause (before the age of 40) or suffer from premature ovarian insufficiency
• Experience other menopausal symptoms
• Who have emotional symptoms and mood swings associated with menopause
• Have loss of libido
• Have poor concentration and brain fog
• Want to help support their skin collagen
HOW IS BHRT TAKEN/ADMINISTERED?
In bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, the hormones can be administered in different ways. The hormones are available as:
- Topical gels or creams (the preferred method)
- Vaginal creams, rings, and tablets
WHAT HORMONES ARE ACTUALLY USED IN BHRT?
Women’s bodies have many different hormones and estrogen is a group of compounds but BHRT focuses on key hormones such as:
Recognized as one of the primary female sex hormones, estrogens are a group of compounds that play a crucial role in women’s menstrual and reproductive cycles. As far as structural changes go, estrogens help:
- Accelerate one’s metabolism (always good for losing weight)
- Improve brain function
- Minimize bone reabsorption while increasing bone formation
- Keep the vagina moist and more youthful
- Keeps skin more supple and youthful
- And MORE
In bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, two types of estrogen are prescribed most of the time. They are:
For pre-menopausal women, estradiol comprises the majority of estrogen that the body produces. It serves as a growth hormone for tissues of the reproductive organs – adding more support to the lining of the vagina, fallopian tube, the cervical glands, and the endometrium.
Produced by the body during pregnancy but also an important estrogen in pre-menopausal women, this hormone has been used to minimize the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in pregnant women.
This hormone, which can be used orally or transdermally, has been approved by the FDA for treating endometrial hyperplasia and for relieving menopausal symptoms. Moreover, it has been proven to be extremely reliable in treating menopausal sleep problems.
WHY CONSIDER BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
- Safe and effective relief from menopausal symptoms like decreased sex drive, night sweating, hot flashes, mood swings, etc.
- Higher energy levels
- Better metabolism and decreased body fat
- Increased bone mass
- Enhanced immune system
- Better-looking skin
- Devoid of the side effects of synthetic hormones
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED TO TAKE IT FOR?
This really depends on what the reason is they are taking them for. Most women elect to keep taking them to get the functional and anti-ageing benefits afforded by being on them. Advantage – No known downsides as with the synthetic hormones. Yearly monitoring is important in any event.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Depending on what hormone you need each hormone is about £50 each and on average three to four are prescribed per month.
Dr Eccles believes, “The overall positives of natural hormones is they don’t have some of the downsides that synthetic hormones may have.”
Finally Dr Eccles says “Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can be an effective remedy against menopausal symptoms … but only if it’s administered in a way that suits the individual and that’s why the correct testing is needed and patients need to monitored and to get the levels optimal for that individual.”