Women who are experiencing menopause frequently suffer from a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats and depression. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a treatment meant to help with some of these symptoms and is associated with a number of benefits and drawbacks.
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Biomedical hormones are substances manufactured in a laboratory setting that are meant to mimic hormones that are found naturally in a woman's body.
Success with Estrogen-Related Symptoms
A Wisconsin-based study showed that 82 per cent of women who received bioidentical hormone replacement therapy experienced a lessening of symptoms related to a decreased level in oestrogen caused by menopause. These included hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and vaginal dryness.
Success with Progesterone-Related Symptoms
The Wisconsin study also revealed that 74 per cent of women who received bioidentical hormone replacement therapy experienced a lessening of symptoms related to a decreased level in progesterone caused by menopause. These included mood swings, increased irritability and water retention.
Lack of Research
The long-term effects of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy have not been studied thoroughly, and so it is not known if the treatment will prove to be safe in the long term. Synthetic hormone replacement therapy was shown to cause heart problems in patients and it cannot be guaranteed that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy will not have similar effects over time.
Because levels of the oestrogen hormone have been linked to breast cancer development, many doctors will not prescribe bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to those who have survived a previous bout of breast cancer or who have a family history of the disease.
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