For years medical doctors have prescribed synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for perimenopause related symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood changes, vaginal dryness and as a preventative measure in osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. With time, researchers discovered that the risks outweighed the benefits of these interventions as women treated with conventional HRT are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes and life-threatening blood clots than those who have not used HRT (Women’s Health Initiative Studies 2002-2006).
Bioidentical hormones are defined as man-made, plant based hormones that are very similar to the hormones produced by the human body. Common hormones that are matched are estrogen, progesterone, DHEA-S and testosterone. These hormones are believed to be metabolized in a way that is similar to ones own hormones and studies have suggested that they may be more efficacious than conventional HRT and may potentially be a safer alternative (Holtorf, 2009). Research in this area is ongoing but BHRT is frequently being used to support perimenopausal symptoms, fertility, hormonal imbalance and andropause.
At AWH Dr. Sarah Wilson, ND has passed her therapeutics prescribing exam and has access to a select list of pharmaceuticals that she can prescribe. This includes bioidentical progesterone and estrogen.
Holtorf et al, 2009. The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179815