Menopause can be an uncomfortable time in a woman’s life. I would know this, as I’ve been going through perimenopause and it has been challenging to say the least! For those who are going through menopause, the symptoms can be quite unpleasant. Between the night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, and decreased libido, there are also a few serious side effects such as brittle bones and an increased risk of heart disease.
In the past, doctors would assist women by treating menopause with traditional hormone therapy. However, around the turn of the century, doctors began to worry about the effects of hormone therapy. Using these hormones long-term increased a woman’s risk of breast cancer, developing blood clots, having a stroke, and developing heart disease.
With the worries of the safety of traditional hormones, women began looking for other ways to get the same relief from the symptoms of menopause without suffering the devastating side effects. One alternative method that rose to the surface was bio-identical hormone therapy.
This type of therapy included using hormones that are the same chemically as the ones already produced inside the body. While they are made inside a lab, they mimic the body’s natural hormones in such a way that the body is unable to tell the difference between the real thing and the lab made hormones. These lab-made hormones are created from plant and animal sources.
Some of the major brands of bio-identical hormones include:
These medications are made by pharmaceutical companies, and they are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. There are some compounding pharmacies that produce their own bio-identical hormones, but these are not regulated by the FDA.
There are many potential benefits for starting bio-identical hormone therapy for the menopausal woman. Many of the difficult symptoms of this stage of life are reduced or eliminated. Many women notice a reduction in fatigue, an increase in their sex drive, a reduction of the hair thinning, and a reduction in hot flashes. The skin tends to be less dry, and sleeping habits improve. In addition to those improvements, many women also notice that they are less bloated and have a better memory.
Just like any other type of medication, there are a few risks involved. Any medication can cause a multitude of side effects, and bio-identical hormones are the same. There are a few side effects that have been reported in the past. These include:
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Gallbladder disease
- Changes in the skin
- Mood swings
- Changes in vision
- Increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and breast cancer
If you are suffering from the effects of perimenopause, and you are interested in trying a bio-identical hormone therapy, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor. He or she will help you decide if this is the best treatment option for you after considering your symptoms and medical history.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always follow the advice of your physician, and never delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on this website.