In recent years Bioidentical hormones are receiving increasing interest from researchers and users alike. They were first discovered with a view to help relieve women suffering from pre-menopausal, peri menopausal and menopausal symptoms. They were found to relieve symptoms to a great extent and thus became quite famous. It was first discovered by a researcher by the name of James Collip who was of Canadian origin. He developed a method to aid extraction of estrogen from the urine of a pregnant woman. Estrogen thus extracted was marketed as Emmenin and was used to treat menopausal syndrome – which is a complex of symptoms consisting of mood swings, irritability, hot flushes, headache etc.
Over the years newer and easier ways were discovered to manufacture the same product and it was later marketed as Premarin. Premarin was accepted widely and at a point was one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the United States.
Nowadays many women are using bioidentical hormones as they approach menopausal age. Even males suffering from Low androgen levels, adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout are using bioidentical hormones. These hormones resemble the ones that are produced in the human body and are readily accepted by your body.
Bioidentical hormones are synthesized in the lab from natural sources. For example, soybeans are used to manufacture estrogens and testosterone, wild Mexican yam is used to manufacture progesterone and occasionally testosterone as well. It is then processed in the laboratory to form a chemical composition which is closest in similarity to the hormones naturally occurring in the human body.
The most commonly known bioidentical hormones manufactured are Estriol, estrone, estradiol, testosterone, proge sterone and occasionally dehydroepiandrosterone.
The various estrogens in the body can be converted from one type into another. In premenopausal women estradiol is produced by the ovaries and is the chief form of estrogen circulating in the blood stream. Women, who have achieved menopause, have estrone as the chief form of estrogen in their blood stream. Synthetic estradiol when taken orally is converted into bio-identical estradiol following absorption in the gastrointestinal system and it then circulates in the blood stream. Estradiol is available in oral as well as transdermal forms.
Progesterone is another such bioidentical hormone which can be used either orally or transdermally similar to estradiol. It binds to progesterone receptors in your body. It is administered orally in order to treat endometrial hyperplasia which means excessive thickening of the endometrium.
The question that arises now is how safe are these bioidentical hormones. There is no convincing research as yet which tells you how safe or harmful these hormones are. But it side effects do not appear to be as harmful as those due to the hormones used in the standard hormone replacement therapy. However it is best that you do not use these hormones on a regular basis, unless they are extremely necessary. You must visit your doctor if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms. Most women experience menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, headaches, mood changes etc. but they vary in severity in all. Hence depending on the severity of your symptoms your doctor will be the best to judge whether or not you are likely to require bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
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