What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are man-made hormones designed for use in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and other hormone therapies. Unlike conventional synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones are manufactured using plant extracts. This results in a hormone with a molecular structure that’s closer to the original hormones being replaced.
What are the advantages of bioidentical hormones over conventional HRT?
Tolerance. There’s evidence to suggest that the molecular structure of bioidentical hormones makes them easier for the body to absorb and process. This can help reduce some of the unwanted side effects of HRT, such as fluid retention, acne and weight gain.
Reduction in liver complications. Bioidentical hormones can be taken transdermally (through the skin) as opposed to the conventional oral delivery of synthetic hormones. This allows the body to process the hormone without passing it first through the liver, which helps reduce the risk of blood clots and gallbladder disease.
There are also some early indicators that bioidentical hormones provide a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but further large-scale studies are needed to confirm this possibility.
Are bioidentical hormones safe? How are they regulated in the UK?
Bioidentical hormones have been demonstrated to be just as safe as conventional HRT hormones. The British Menopause Society draws a distinction between regulated bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (rBHRT), which replicate a single type of hormone, and compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (cBHRT), which combine different replacement hormones to provide a therapy based on individual need.
rBHT is approved and regulated in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA).
cBHRT is what’s known as an ‘off-label’ medicine – because the specific combination of hormones has been created for the needs of one patient, there isn’t the same opportunity or need to submit the compound hormone to the MHRA testing procedures.
Bear in mind that the professional pharmaceutical laboratory will still subject all their cBHRT treatments to rigorous testing and safety checks, before delivering them to the specialist doctor who’s ordered a particular compound for their patient.
A cBHRT treatment is sometimes the most effective option, because the strength, concentration, or dosage form that is required for a specific patient is not commercially available as an rBHRT.
Omniya’s leading HRT consultant is Doctor Sohère Roked. She is a renowned hormone specialist and GP with decades of experience in furthering the understanding of women’s health. Her internationally recognised book, The Tiredness Cure, established her as a go-to expert on fatigue and hormone imbalance.
Click here to find out more about HRT options with Omniya.