Difference Between BHRT and HRT
Menopause, or the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, is a natural part of the female biological process. The physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can disrupt a woman’s sleep, decrease her energy, and in some cases trigger feelings of sadness and loss. Many women consider these negative experiences as unavoidable effects of the onset of menopause, but new research has shown that these symptoms are not merely “facts of life” a woman must accept- rather, they are preventable effects caused by hormonal imbalances within the body. 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 Bioidentical 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 wellbeing needs.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment in which hormones are given to prevent or treat health conditions common in menopausal women, such as osteoporosis. 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. However, they act as natural hormones once inside the body. Doctors primarily prescribe HRT because they hope that it could help guard against certain diseases that menopausal-age women are at increased risk: heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, thyroid disease, and some forms of cancer.
In addition to its preventative effects on many illnesses, studies show that Hormone Replacement Therapy dissociates fat mass and bone mass and tends to reduce weight gain in early postmenopausal women. However, because of the synthetic nature of the hormones used in the treatment, HRT may pose potential risks to a woman’s overall health. Hence, it is important to talk to your doctor about HRT, learn the facts about possible risks and side-effects, and explore the information available about new alternatives, such as Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Bioidentical 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, a factor that can lead to significant and sustained success in the treatment goals. Because bioidentical hormones have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced within the human body, they are less likely to be rejected by the sensitive human immune system. Medical scientists on the forefront of BHRT research derive all of the material for the new treatment from strictly organic material, 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.
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 limit the private physician’s freedom in adjusting the amount and type of hormones administered to the patient. 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 risk to his or her patient (such as obesity, 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.
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