Dr. Marina Johnson says bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been used by over lakhs of female patients in the past 30 years or since the introduction of topical estradiol in 1986.
Dr. Marina Johnson adds that unlike prescription medicines, the advantage with this therapy is that hormones are a part of our human body and are important for the functioning of the body. We must know about the functions of estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone in the female body.
Goal of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical HRT uses hormones- estradiol, progesterone and testosterone that are present in the female body. But when any natural substance present in the body is taken in excess, it can prove to fatal. In order to better understand this, take the example of oxygen and water. These are very essential for life but when given in excess can be harmful. We need to understand that it is about balance and not disrespecting the physiology of the human body. This is the goal of endocrinology, which deals with treating diseases and conditions that result from too little or too much hormones.
Risk of HRT
Female hormones are active in the body since the time of puberty. Estrogen in excess amount may prove harmful to the body. So, if you are planning to undergo HRT, then you must go for what appears to be the safer option. Not that bioidentical HRT is without risks, but risks are less with topical estradiol and progesterone as compared to imitation HRT. Dr. Marina Johnson says that not enough scientific studies have been conducted on the risk of HRT.
Bioidentical HRT Is Not Taken Positively
Women would be often surprised to know that bioidentical hormones- estradiol and progesterone are available in pharmaceutical companies. This is because the term bioidentical hormone is often given a negative meaning. Pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies have different opinion on this.
The job of pharmacists is to supply prescription medicines that are made by pharmaceutical companies. Compounding pharmacists have the training to produce individual hormones from bulk raw matter. Physician gives a prescription for a particular hormone preparation and the pharmacist prepares it according to the specification. Pharmaceutical companies have to follow strict manufacturing standards for quality control.
Also, Dr. Marina says that she won’t prescribe HRT- Oral estrogen or Prempro. This is because it is less effective than topical estradiol and has more side effects. Dr. Marina considers it as her ethical responsibility to give her patients safer and more effective treatment.
Dr. Marina Johnson being a pharmacist, says we cannot undermine the important role that compounding pharmacists play. But if she has to choose between pharmaceutical or compounded bioidentical hormone product, then she will always go for pharmaceutical products as they comply with stricter laws of quality control and more consistent results are attained when blood levels are monitored.
The role of compounding pharmacists is important in giving products to patients with allergies or other needs. They also give compounded medicines that are not available commercially. Sometimes, the companies withdraw their drugs from the market as they may not be in demand. If compounded hormones are prescribed, blood levels must be monitored. These patients should be monitored exactly in the same way as patients on HRT are monitored. Compounded HRT are as risky as pharmaceutical bioidentical hormones.
Talk to Your Doctor
It is important that you weigh the benefits and risks of bioidentical HRT but as these are available on prescription, you need the advice and cooperation of the doctor. Physician will be in a better position to guide you with bioidentical HRT if you have health issues. In case of appearance of symptoms of menopause, the doctor is more likely to prescribe HRT. Be assured that physicians want nothing less than the best for their patients and they entertain requests which are reasonable. You can ask questions regarding hormone replacement therapy. Do not hesitate to ask anything which concern you. Your physician will help you sort out the queries.