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Posted on 25 August 2017
Hormones regulate a variety of systems within the body. Metabolism, strength, mood, appetite and sex drive are all controlled through the balance of hormones. As we begin to enter midlife, a drastic shift in hormone production can negatively impact these systems. BHRT can help to ease the transition through menopause and other midlife changes.
What is BHRT? BHRT stands for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. It is the use of supplemental hormone doses that are chemically identical to the hormones that are produced naturally in the body. Most commonly used to treat the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause, it can also be used as a treatment for men who are experiencing midlife hormonal shifts.
Why is BHRT needed? As women reach midlife, significant internal changes take place that impact the production of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. As the ovaries begin to shrink in the stages of perimenopause, hormone production levels become imbalanced. This results in missed or irregular menstrual cycles along with unpredictable episodes of heavy bleeding. As menopause begins to set in, these hormonal imbalances can begin to impact daily life. BHRT can alleviate they symptoms associated with menopause and other hormonal imbalances.
How is BHRT carried out? A compounding pharmacy is equipped to create the individual hormone cocktails needed for BHRT. An individual treatment plan is created by working with a holistic pharmacist and a naturopathic or medical doctor to determine the correct combination and dosage of hormones.
Bioidentical hormones can be made available in the form of a: • Cream • Suppository • Injection • Pill or gel capsule A complete bioidentical hormone replacement therapy program should be accompanied by diet and lifestyle modifications that also work to remedy the hormonal imbalance. A complete integrative approach to managing menopause and other conditions brought on by midlife hormonal changes is the most successful way to restore hormonal balance within the body. What do hormones do? Estrogens play an important role in the menstrual cycle, female development and bone health.
There are 3 main types of estrogen in humans: estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estradiol is the strongest of the three major estrogens. Estradiol is the main hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and is responsible for maintaining the lining of the uterus, the endometrium. Estrone is the next potent estrogen and can be converted to estriol or estradiol when the body needs it. Estriol is the weakest of the 3 common estrogens. Estriol levels are very high during pregnancy. It is the estrogen that is least associated with hormone related cancers. Progesterone is essential for pregnancy maintenance and it is the main active hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone has receptors in the brain, bone, breast, bladder, blood vessels, thyroid gland and reproductive organs. One of its main functions is to oppose the growth effects of estrogen. Testosterone is produced in small amounts in women. It helps provide a general sense of well-being and improves sex drive. It is also involved in heart, skin and muscle health. Cortisol—also known as the stress hormone—plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy immune system, reducing inflammation, and in metabolism and hormone regulation. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol are just some of the hormones that work together as a team.
Complete balance between hormones is crucial. In the stages of mid-life, when hormone imbalance is common among women, BHRT offers a successful method to restoring those hormones to a healthy balance.
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