Bioidentical Hormone Replacement For Men and Women

Bioidential hormone replacement therapy
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy FAQ

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and the Effects of Aging.

As both men and women grow older, hormone levels decline and cause imbalance in your body along with uncomfortable symptoms such as diminished libido, low energy, increased body fat, declining levels of lean muscle, as well as problems associated with sexual health and mental well-being.

Through carefully administered programs of individually customized Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy, specific hormone levels in the body are restored to levels associated with youth, thereby reducing the effects of aging. Patients notice restored levels of energy, sex drive, libido, mental well-being and balance, as well as significant improvements in memory and overall mental and physical performance.

What are Bio-Identical Hormones?

Bioidentical hormone preparations are medications that contain hormones that are an exact chemical match to those made naturally by the human body," says Dr. Joann Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston and the Elizabeth F. Brigham Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical school. Some bioidentical hormones are made by drug companies, are approved by the FDA, and are sold in standard doses. Other bioidentical hormone preparations are made at special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies, which make the preparations on an individual case-by-case basis for each patient. Those custom preparations are not approved by the FDA.

What is the difference between Synthetic and Natural Hormones?

With the publication of Suzanne Somers’ book "Ageless," a great deal of attention has been given to the topic of hormone replacement therapy, resulting in an large amount of confusion and misinformation. As Ms Sommers' book stresses, it is important for people to recognize that there are two categories of hormones: synthetic and natural. What is meant by the term “natural” is actually more accurately described as bioidentical. That is, the chemical structures of these hormones are identical to those that occur naturally in our bodies, while synthetic hormones are formulas, which are patented by a manufacturer, and are therefore structurally different from naturally occurring hormones. It is because of the structural differences inherent in synthetic hormones that undesirable side effects, including an increased risk of cancer, have been linked to hormone replacement therapy. By contrast, because bioidentical hormones mimic those occurring naturally in the body, no such unwanted side effects occur.

Why aren't compounded bioidentical hormones FDA approved?

The FDA does not approve any compounded products, for any condition, because by definition compounded products are not standardized. That does not mean that compounding is bad. Compounding may be useful for patients who are allergic to an additive in an FDA-approved product, says Kathleen Uhl, MD, the FDA's assistant commissioner for women's health. But "the purpose of compounding is to do it on a patient-by-patient basis, so there is nothing that is submitted to FDA to evaluate, hence they are not FDA approved," Uhl explains. And because compounded products do not go through the FDA approval process, they don't bear the same warnings as other hormone therapy.

Does that mean Compounded Bioidentical Products are safer?

"There is no reason to think that these bioidentical compounded [products] would have a different safety profile than the FDA-approved ones," Uhl says. She points out that some compounding pharmacies have received warning letters from the FDA for false and misleading claims about safety and other benefits. Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, agrees. Schiff led an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) committee that reviewed the scientific evidence on compounded bioidentical hormone therapy in 2005. That committee concluded that there was no scientific evidence to support claims of increased efficacy or safety for compounded estrogen or progesterone regimens. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the Endocrine Society have issued similar statements.

When should I consider Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

In general, your body’s natural hormones begin to decline in your mid-20s and hormone imbalance symptoms may begin to occur by the time you are in your mid-30s.  Both men and women often start replacing hormones in their late 30s or early 40s.

Will my insurance cover Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

It depends upon your insurance company and the specific coverage provided by your insurance policy. It has been our experience that many insurance companies do cover treatment and lab testing is frequently covered.

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