Due to the popularity of bioidentical hormones, I have men and women from late teens to late seventies asking if the use of these substances is right for them. As with any treatment, we need to focus on what kind of outcome we are looking for.
Bioidentical hormones are useful for helping with symptoms of menopause, PMS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, Andropause (low hormones in males), Hypothyroidism, and Adrenal dsyfunction to name the most common.
An important concept to keep in mind is there are many other non-hormonal therapies that can help all of these symptoms. Sometimes these just aren’t enough to optimize quality of life and that is when bioidentical hormones can be most useful.
Menopausal women are the most common recipients of bioidentical hormones to manage sleeplessness, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, memory deficiency, fatigue and weight gain. Bioidentical hormones can sometimes help with bone protection and cardiovascular support, but typically this is not sufficient reason alone for bioidentical hormone use.
More men are using bioidentical hormone replacement when discovering testosterone and DHEA levels at low levels. Low levels of these hormones can cause fatigue, weight gain, mood swings and muscle mass reduction.
Any women who have a strong family history of breast cancer or have a personal history of breast cancer should think very hard about using any hormone therapy. This risk varies depending on the type of cancer, who had it, at what age it was discovered and the kind of health care maintained. Hormone use, natural or not will increase the risk of incidence and recurrance. The question is how much risk is increased? Now there are some instances where the need for quality of life trumps the risk involved. This needs to be discussed very thoughtfully with your Naturopath or other provider.