Standardized pharmaceuticals transform and save lives every day. Their role is so central in our lives that it is easy to forget just how powerful these medications can be, whether they’re treating a headache, regulating mood, or destroying cancer cells. But despite the tremendous promise of standardized medications, they aren’t right for everyone, particularly when it comes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT can be prescribed for any number of unique conditions—to treat thyroid problems, to restore balance after surgery, or to aid recovery after certain cancers. But perhaps the most well-known use for hormone replacement therapy is the treatment of menopause and andropause. For decades, HRT has helped men and women find relief from the symptoms of the natural aging process. But conventional medications are limited to standardized doses and formulations, which can leave patients with suboptimal results or unacceptable side effects. Now, a growing number of individuals are turning to custom-compounded hormones to better suit their needs.
Custom-compounded hormone medications, also known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), are widely available and commonly used as an alternative to standardized hormone medications. If you have not had success with conventional HRT or want a more personalized approach to menopause or andropause treatment, the potential benefits of compounded hormones may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Positive Outcomes Associated With BHRT
Depending on which symptoms you currently experience, the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can vary significantly. However, research consistently supports the following positive outcomes:
|Benefits For Women||Benefits For Men|
While these are the outcomes associated with BHRT in general, there are also additional benefits that come from taking custom-compounded hormone medications. If you currently struggle with hormone-related symptoms, these benefits could be life-changing for you.
Understanding the Benefits of Compounded Hormone Medications
Compounded hormones are derived from plant sources (soy and yams) and designed to be completely identical to the hormones produced naturally by the human body. These bioidentical hormones are then formulated into a custom dose according to the prescription you receive from your hormone health specialist. As a result, custom-compounded hormones have several distinct advantages over standardized medications:
Because bioidentical hormone medications are compounded on an individual basis, these medications can be formulated to exclude any ingredients to which you have an allergy or sensitivity. This opens up hormone replacement therapy to individuals who may have been unable to receive treatment due to ingredients found in standard medications.
One of the most compelling features of compounded hormone medications is that, unlike standardized medications, they can be created in personalized dosages. Your specific dose can be fine-tuned by your hormone health practitioner to ensure you receive treatment that effectively supplements your hormone levels and relieves your symptoms while maintaining excellent tolerability. As your natural hormone levels change over time, your medication can change with you for optimal results.
Flexible Preparation Options
Conventional hormone medications tend to be limited in terms of preparation. Compounded hormones, however, can be administered using a wide variety of preparations. Can’t stand shots? Don’t like the smell of creams? Struggle with swallowing pills? Do you feel safer using a particular preparation? No problem—you can choose an administration method that works for you.
Prescribed by Hormone Health Experts
While any primary care physician can prescribe standard hormone medications in standard doses, only hormone health practitioners tend to have the training necessary to prescribe compounded hormones. As a result, patients who seek bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may feel more confident in the level of care they receive.
Why the Benefits Of Compounded Hormones Outweigh the Risks
The benefits outlined above are enough to inspire many individuals to give bioidentical hormone replacement therapy a try—especially those who may have had negative experiences with conventional hormone medications or other pharmaceuticals in the past. However, some patients are hesitant to use compounded hormone medications due to perceived risk. After all, if custom-compounded hormones aren’t regulated the same way that conventional hormones are, doesn’t that mean they are less safe?
Research has yet to definitively determine that compounded hormones are more or less safe and effective than conventional methods. According to existing data, it’s safe to assume that the two methods are likely comparable for most patients. One meta-analysis of 14 studies, for example, found that “conjugated equine estrogen and 17beta-estradiol have consistent and comparable effects on treatment of menopausal hot flashes and may have similar short-term adverse effects.”
But while the safety and efficacy of compounded hormones are equal to those of conventional medications, it’s worth noting that the treatment experience may differ significantly between BHRT and conventional hormone replacement therapy. Patients who are interested in BHRT are often seeking a more personalized, concierge-style experience with modern medicine—and this may be the biggest benefit that differentiates BHRT from other methods. As a 2017 study investigating why women choose compounded hormones notes:
Women are not only seeking alternatives to conventional pharmaceuticals, but alternatives to conventional care where their menopausal experience is solicited, their treatment goals are heard, and they are engaged as agents in managing their own menopause.
In other words, BHRT practitioners give patients the personalized attention and high-quality care experience they want, potentially making treatment compliance and positive outcomes that much more likely.
Finding the Best Hormone Health Practitioner for You
Of course, not every practitioner who offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is going to offer the same level of care or be the perfect fit for your needs. You’re more likely to experience the benefits of compounded hormones if you partner with an expert practitioner who you trust to work with you in an ongoing manner for months or years into the future.
The practitioner-patient relationship is especially key when you choose to treat your symptoms with custom-compounded hormones. To get the most out of treatment, you need to feel comfortable sharing the details of your symptoms with your practitioner and discussing how they’re changing over the course of treatment. You need to feel prepared to ask for potential changes in your treatment plan. And you need to feel confident in your practitioner’s level of expertise as they continually fine-tune your care to address your evolving needs.
Reaching optimal hormone levels can take a fair amount of medication adjustment, and you should undergo that journey with a practitioner you respect and enjoy working with. By partnering with the best hormone health practitioner for your situation, you’ll be able to reach your wellness goals more quickly and experience the comfort of having an expert by your side at every step of the way.
If you’re looking for an alternative to standardized hormone medications, BodyLogicMD can help. The practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network are experts in hormone health and use an innovative combination of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling to help each patient achieve optimal well-being. To learn more about compounded hormones and the benefits they might have for you, contact a local practitioner or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.