What’s the Difference Between Bioidentical and Synthetic Hormones for Women?
Do you know the difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic ones? If you do, you are ahead of many health care practitioners, who couldn’t tell you the difference. Bioidentical hormones are created to be an exact match in molecular structure to a woman’s body. That is what makes them “bioidentical.”
In contrast, non-bioidentical (synthetic) estrogen, such as the estrogen in Premarin, is bioidentical only if your native food is hay. That’s because it is made from the urine of pregnant horses. Hence the name Pre (pregnant) Mar (mares) in (urine).
Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone that is derived from bioidentical progesterone. The reason for this is that you can’t patent a bioidentical hormone that naturally occurs in nature. And so—to make progesterone marketable—it was changed into a compound not native to the female human body.
For about two decades, Premarin (just estrogen) and Prempro (Premarin plus Provera, a synthetic form of progesterone) were the gold standard for many doctors. And the one-pill-fits-all-women approach was the only option women were given. Then, in 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative Studies showed that women who supplemented with synthetic estrogen or Progestin had more incidences of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, and blood clots than those who were given a placebo. Once thought to confer heart health and other benefits, women suddenly became wary of these drugs.
The best approach for hormone therapy is one that is unique to you. Women can have their levels of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and other hormones tested. Or simply pay attention to how you feel — which we find is a far more accurate way to assess hormone balance than testing your levels. The results (and how you feel) allow you and your doctor to customize a treatment plan that is right for you.
Start with the lowest dose possible and see how you do.
Better yet, change your diet to a low sugar, organic food approach. Add a natural herbal remedy such as Pueraria mirifica, maca, black cohosh, ground golden flaxseed, or chasteberry. And if that doesn’t work, then try the bioidenticals.
Remember that hormone therapy can take a few trials and errors. It’s a work in progress — just like you are at menopause.
Before you take any medications regularly, make sure you are informed about all the risks and benefits. Does the drug cause nutritional deficiencies? Are you increasing your risk of cancer or heart disease? If so, seek out some alternatives that won’t put your health at risk.
Give Dr. Kellie Seth or Dr. Lindsay Briggs a call at Healing River Chiropractic and make an appointment to discuss your unique health needs. They can be reached at (651) 439-3737.
Dr. Kellie Seth, D.C.
Restoring Your Health Naturally