Hormones are best described as carriers of messages from glands to cells to maintain chemical levels in the bloodstream that achieve homeostasis. The name ‘hormone’ comes from a word that means, ‘to spur on.’ This goes to show how the presence of hormones acts as a catalyst for other chemical changes at the cellular level necessary for growth, development, and energy in the body. Bioidentical hormones can play an important role in menopause.
Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones: How Hormones Work
As a part of the endocrine system, glands produce these hormones. Hormones flow freely in the bloodstream, waiting to be accepted by a target cell, which is their intended destination. The target cell has a receptor that can only be activated by an explicit type of hormone. Once this cell is activated, the cell starts a certain task within its walls. Genes might get activated, or energy production resumed. As special categories, autocrine hormones act on the cells of the secreting gland, while paracrine hormones act on nearby, but isolated, cells.
Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones: Types
Hormones are categorized into classes like steroids and peptides. In general, steroids are sex hormones related to sexual maturation and fertility. The placenta makes steroids from cholesterol either when we’re in the womb, or by our adrenal gland or gonads known as the testes/ovaries in layman’s terms, after birth.
Cortisol, an example of a steroid hormone, breaks down damaged tissue so it can be replaced. Steroids determine physical development from puberty on to old age, as well as fertility cycles. If you are not synthesizing the correct steroidal hormones, you can sometimes supplement them pharmaceutically as done with estrogen and progesterone. This has become a popular therapeutic practice to treat certain menopause symptoms.
Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones: Treatments
Hormonal Replacement Therapy or HRT is practiced on many women for various reasons, including early menopause, hysterectomy, and perimenopause. However, this treatment has some serious side effects, which include fluid retention, depression, headache, dizziness, insomnia, raised blood pressure, and migraines.
To counter this, the medical community has come up with treatment to substitute the hormones with plant compounds, known as Bio-identical Hormones. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, BHRT, has become a popular alternative to traditional HRT. BHRT is prepared from plant compounds and is identical in formation to human hormones.
Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones: Advantages of BHRT
Studies reveal that BHRT is more effective than HRT in relieving the symptoms for which it is prescribed. It is also much easier on the body’s delicate system and has minimal side effects as compared to HRT. BHRT may just leave behind the annoying side effects of HRT.
Bioidentical hormones get their start in a plant and are rich in molecules that can easily be transformed into hormones. Natural hormone therapy such as bioidentical hormone functions precisely like those the human body produces and the chemical construction matches that of the hormone it is intended to substitute. The molecular structure of these hormones is impossible to differentiate from that of natural hormones produced in the body.
The best thing about bioidentical hormones is that they are natural, and our bodies can metabolize them as it was intended to do, minimizing side effects. This is the advantage of using bioidentical hormones because in contrast, synthetic hormones are strong and often produce intolerable side effects
The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.