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Over the past several years, the topic of “bioidentical hormone replacement” has been very popular, appearing on top rated talk shows and in bestselling books; yet there is still much confusion about what these hormones are, and what they are not.  Bioidentical hormones are by definition hormones that have a molecular structure that is identical to the hormones that are produced by the human body.  They are usually derived from yam or soy, but our bodies do not have the capability to create hormones from these plants, it must be done in a laboratory.  It’s very important to understand though, that bioidentical hormones are not the same substances as are found in birth control pills, or that were studied in the now infamous WHI (Women's Health Initiative) study.


Hormone replacement is a highly individualized therapy.  Each patient has their own unique needs to balance their hormone levels and curtail any symptoms they may be experiencing.  There are a number of hormones that may be prescribed including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA, and  a variety of ways that hormones can be administered including topical creams, oral lozenges, intramuscular injections and subcutaneous pellet implants.  I believe that when used in reasonable dosages, appropriate combinations, and by replacing only the hormones that are needed in each individual, these therapies can be very effective at treating existing symptoms as well as maintaining optimal health and preventing many conditions related to hormone imbalance.


Over the past century, the average life expectancy of men and women has been extended by decades, leaving most people living 30+ years beyond the age related decline in their hormones.  Bioidentical hormone replacement during this time allows for an extended quality of life, providing cognitive support, energy and vitality.  Age related decline is only part of the picture however, as chronic stress, poor diet and hormone disrupters in the environment can often cause hormone dysfunction at all ages.