Answers (2)

Kathleen Bundy, MS RD CLT (Registered Dietitian) answered
Pros: can make a world of difference for many women when it comes to symptoms of peri-menopause. Cons: can act like a band-aid in some cases. Not addressing underlying causes of hormone imbalance will ultimately be counter-productive. It does not make sense to look at and treat only one indicator, balancing the whole person is essential for true wellbeing. Excessive stress response and chronic high cortisol are one factor that can decrease levels of progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormone and imbalance the delicate symphony of hormones
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Shira Miller, M.D. (Menopause and Anti-Aging Physician) answered
Most women wonder about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) when they are either approaching menopause or already in menopause.

Menopause causes PERMANENT hormone deficiencies of both estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone.  This double hormone deficiency causes havoc in women's bodies for the rest of their lives, unless they obtain bioidentical hormone replacement with estradiol and progesterone, and sometimes testosterone.

Menopause symptoms may be any of the following: 
  1. Hot flashes
  2. Night sweats
  3. Insomnia
  4. Fatigue
  5. Irritability
  6. Brain fog
  7. Urine leakage
  8. Mood swings
  9. Depression
  10. Anxiety
  11. Feeling invisible
  12. Arthritis/ Joint aches
  13. Accelerated skin wrinkling
  14. Heart palpitations
  15. Weight gain
  16. Itching
  17. Headaches
  18. Osteopenia (bone loss)
  19. Vaginal dryness
  20. Irregular menstrual periods
  21. No menstrual periods
  22. Painful intercourseLow libido/low sex drive
Also, menopause increases the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and dementia.

Unfortunately, although beneficial to optimizing health, nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, herbs, or supplements CANNOT bring menopausal ovaries back to life to produce estrogen and progesterone. Although some of these treatments may help some of the symptoms, none address the primary underlying hormone deficiencies which affect the entire body.  You don't want to just disconnect the engine light, you want to figure out and address the primary problem.

If you are in menopause, the pros of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) are a relief of your symptoms so that you feel like yourself again, and a reduction in your risk of developing chronic diseases. The cons are that you may have side-effects if your doses aren't optimized, you may have side-effects if estrogen is taken orally, and you may have side-effects if your doctor is not an expert in BHRT.  Also, BHRT does cost money, and it is a "medication" you have to take every day.

In conclusion, the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy far outweigh the risks.

Shira Miller, M.D.
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