Millions of women in Canada experience troublesome and debilitating menopause symptoms (eg – hot flashes, fatigue, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood changes). It is so prevalent – the World Health Organization has released estimates stating that by 2030, 1.2 billion women worldwide will be postmenopausal, as 25 million women go through menopause every year (1). For several years, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was a great help to many suffering from menopause symptoms. Recently it was discovered that HRT could increase the risk of serious health events, like breast cancer and strokes. Fortunately, today there are bioidentical hormones available.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bioidentical Hormones
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are sex hormones (such as estrogen and progesterone), that are structured exactly the same at the molecular level as the hormones produced in your body. While the traditional hormones used in HRT are usually isolated from animals, bioidentical hormones typically come from soy and yam plants. They are used to lessen the risks of hormone therapy while still providing relief from menopause symptoms.
Are bioidentical hormones effective?
In a word, yes. A 2016 study provided evidence that BHT reduces hot flashes (3), and two separate studies in 2014 and 2011 showed that BHT helped with mood swings, night sweats, and irritability (4, 6). BHT is also widely used. An Australian study showed that 15 percent of Australian women in their fifties and sixties had taken or took bioidentical hormones (2).
How are bioidentical hormones taken?
BHT can be taken as a pill that you swallow or dissolve under your tongue. It can also be administered as a cream, patch, spray, or vaginal ring. While there are some name-brand bioidentical prescriptions available at pharmacies (Prometrium, Vagifem, Vivelle Dot, etc.), you may require the services of a compounding pharmacy for some of your bioidentical hormones (5).
Fact 1: Bioidentical Hormones Are Not an Absolute Necessity
While BHT has helped millions of women, only you and a knowledgeable doctor experienced in the use of BHT can decide if they’re right for you. Your decision should be based on an educated assessment of the risks versus the benefits. Under the guidance of Dr. Lynne Murfin, you may choose to use herbs and supplements, traditional HRT, or nothing at all to help with menopausal symptoms and transition.
Fact 2: BHT Can Be Stopped
Adverse events from BHT are rare. One study in 2013 found zero adverse events in a group of 75 women undergoing BHT (1). If you do have an adverse event, or simply decide to go completely natural with your menopause plan, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to stop BHT at any time. It is always advisable to do this under Dr. Murfin’s guidance who will monitor with exams and blood tests and gradually wean you off BHT.
Fact 3: There Are a Number of Good Bioidentical Hormones Available
As mentioned above, you may sometimes need to get your bioidentical hormones from a compounding pharmacy, though there are still many available from conventional pharmacies (both estrogens and progesterones). Dr. Murfin will guide you to find the right fit for you.
BHT is made more effective with lifestyle changes. These include factors like increased activity level, good diet, and nutritional support in the form of supplements. Counselling and support are both available at Dr. Murfin’s practice in order to help you maintain and strengthen your health, transition through menopause with minimal symptoms, and thoroughly enjoy these happy years of your life.