The Difference Between Hormone Replacement Therapy and Bio-identical Hormone Replacement

For women, menopause is a natural part of the biological aging process. The physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can disrupt a woman’s sleep, decrease her energy, and trigger feelings of not being whole. Menopause can also cause women to lose the joy of life and patience for others. Many women consider these negative experiences as unavoidable effects of the onset of menopause, but for over nine years Envizion Medical has shown that these symptoms are not merely “facts of life” a woman must accept; rather, these effects caused by hormonal imbalances within the body can be eliminated. Many women are choosing to seek beneficial treatment for the unnecessary discomforts that can periodically occur during menopause, leading them to learn more about the various treatments offered by their physicians, such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). Although these treatments have similar aims, there are important differences that the informed patient must be aware of before making a decision on which option is best for her health and well-being needs. It can be confusing because both terms are so similar and are often used incorrectly but they cause very different outcomes for patients. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment in which hormones are given to prevent or treat health conditions common in menopausal women, such as moodiness and hot flashes. The hormones used in HRT are synthetic hormones, which means that they are created and developed in the laboratory and are not produced naturally by the body. They were created by big pharmaceutical companies in hopes of acting as natural hormones once inside the body.  Doctors primarily prescribe HRT because its quick and easy and is one size fits all. A typical hormone replacement therapy treatment from a primary care or gynecologists’ is an estrogen patch with only one dosing strength available. They focus primarily on the fact that the patch can end hot flashes for their patient. However the body does not entirely recognize them as real hormones and most patients develop side effects from them, most often weight gain while trying to treat menopausal issues. This is due to the fact that when estrogen is given to the body, two estrogens must be given in balance. Estradiol and Estriol. Balance for each patient is different based on blood work to see where their levels are before treatment. The patch only has one type of estrogen in it and while solving some menopausal symptoms, it creates an imbalance in 80% of the users and the body sends unpleasant signals to notify the body that something is wrong. Hormones are more complicated than just giving one hormone. Five to Six hormones must be tested, and a doctor must also know how they need to be in balance with each other.

Because of the synthetic nature of the hormones used in this treatment, HRT may pose potential risks. Hence, it is important to talk to a HRT doctor about these treatments, learn the facts about possible risks and side-effects, and explore the information available about new alternatives, such as Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, or BHRT, is growing in popularity among the medical community because it is considered to be a more biologically harmonious option than standard Hormone Replacement Therapy. Bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced within the human body, and they are less likely to be rejected by the sensitive human endocrine system. In BHRT, Envizion Medical is able to replicate the balance in the patient because there is a wider range of hormones available. A patient can be dosed small amounts of estradiol, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, T3, and T4, all which are tested though a blood test beforehand.  For 30-40 years compound pharmacies have been able to access BHRT ingredients derived strictly from organic material and unaltered, as opposed to the standard HRT which uses pharmaceutical materials manufactured in laboratories derived from manipulating chemicals into compounds similar to those found in human body tissue. For the last few decades it is widely known in the hormone community that the natural substance are much more tolerated by women long term. Doctors and Medical Practitioners whose specialties are primarily hormone replacement would never treat a patient with a synthetic hormones. The goal is to eliminate symptoms and increase energy without causing new issues. BHRT in menopausal-age women helps to decreased the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, thyroid disease, and some forms of cancer. In addition to its preventative effects on many illnesses, studies show that Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy dissociates fat mass and increases bone mass and tends to reduce weight gain in women.

The greatest advantage BHRT has over its traditional HRT counterpart is the flexibility that the technology provides during a specific patient’s treatment. HRT hormones are manufactured by the drug companies in standardized doses which limits the private physician’s freedom in adjusting the amount and type of hormones administered to the patient. Almost every patients labs test come back at different levels. BHRT hormones, on the other hand, provide the physician and the patient a greater degree of autonomy in determining the amount and type of hormonal supplements administered because each specific treatment is customized to each woman’s specific needs. Hence, a physician can determine what factors pose the most discomfort to his or her patient (such as obesity, hot flashes, night sweats, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and so forth), and then customize the BHRT treatment plan based on these assessments and the personal feedback received from the patient. Some patients also absorb hormones at different rates, BHRT allows the doctor to increase and decrease as needed.

To learn more about hormone replacement therapy and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in Tampa, contact Envizion Medical at (813) 680-4868 to set up an appointment to discuss if BHRT is right for you.


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