Biodentical hormone replacement vs synthetic hormone replacement 

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) published the results of a landmark study in 2002, shocking mainstream physicians who were prescribing synthetic hormones. Over 160,000 women participated in the study and the study concluded there were grave dangers associate with the use of synthetic hormones or conventional HRT. The side effect included: 26% increased risk of breast cancer, 29% increased risk of heart attack, 41% increase risk for strokes and risk of blood clots were double! So instead of switching women to a safe alternative, bioidentical hormone replacement or BHRT, mainstream physicians told women to discontinue the cardio protective and osteoporosis protective benefits of hormone replacement therapy! 

Horse estrogen and synthetic progestin differ considerably from the natural chemical structure of hormones in a woman’s body. Biodentical hormones used in HRT are exactly the same as a woman’s body produces and have far fewer side effects when used properly, which includes state of the art testing. There is also new evidence that proper hormone supplementation may have cancer protective effects. Supplementation with herbs and nutraceuticals, based on testing and your practitioner’s advice, can also help with hormonal balancing.  

What are hormones?

Very simply hormones are chemical messengers the body uses to transfer biochemical information from one set of cells to another set. This information effects the function of the whole body.  Steroid hormones are primarily involved in the regulation of sexual differentiation and reproductive function. They also help us to manage physical and psychological stress and maintain the fluid and mineral balance of the body, as well as maintaining muscle mass and regulating metabolic functions.

Where are our hormones produced?

The adrenal glands (over the kidneys), the testes and the ovaries produce the steroid hormones. The pituitary gland controls these organs and the hormones they produce, via a feedback loop. The steroid hormones have their metabolic origin in cholesterol, and here we have been told for years that cholesterol is the bad guy! Cholesterol is absolutely essential for the production of the very critical, anti-aging hormone production in our bodies!

Why measure hormone levels?

Many illnesses, disorders, and health conditions are caused by the over or under production of hormones. As we age, hormone levels decline. Good hormone status makes us feel happier, stronger, healthier and look our best. It is sort of like asking a person who has gone in to get glasses if they would like their vision comparable to that of a 20 year old or a 60 year old! Of course, we all want to look and feel like we did at 20!

Hormones and Menopause

Menopause is not a disease, but an expression of the continuum of a woman’s life cycle. The decreased production of hormones in the ovaries and the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone and decrease of testosterone in women can cause very serious discomfort and lead to age related diseases. 

Symptoms include:

Loss of sleep, hot flashes, bone density loss, depression, loss of libido, muscle mass changes, truncal obesity (spare tire syndrome), hirsutism, dry skin, vaginal dryness, thinning skin, emotional instability, headaches, edema, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and stroke, accelerated aging.

Hormone Therapy is for Men as Well

Male menopause is called andropause. Although men may not have the clinically serious range of symptoms as women do, low testosterone levels have very significant consequences: 

Changes in amount, quality and growth of hair, loss of libido, loss of muscle mass, depression, thinning of skin, heart disease, weight gain, accelerated aging.

Overproduction of certain hormones, which will cause a variety of symptoms in men and women, may be the consequence of receptor sites that don’t get the “message” to receptor site resistence. Testing hormone levels is a good way to determine what the status of our hormone production is and whether or not bioidentical hormone replacement is warranted. Men and women that are supplementing with over the counter hormones such as DHEA can use hormone testing to gauge the amount of DHEA their body actually needs.

Who benefits from hormone testing?


Menopausal or peri-menopausal women. Patients suffering from hot, flashes,night sweats, depression, irregular menses.

Individuals on hormone replacement therapy. It is very important to monitor the hormone levels. The importance of hormone balance can not be overstressed and the only way to determine whether or not your hormones are in balance is through state of the art testing.

Women who are taking over the counter hormones such as DHEA.

Women suffering form hirsutism, polycystic ovary disease, acne, fibroids, endometriosis, migraines.

Women suffering from stress incontinence (bladder control) and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Women unable to conceive or who have irregular menses.

Women suffering from PMS, mood swings, bloating.

Women who have changes in libido or sexual function.

Women and Men with metabolic syndrome or diabetes.


Men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of libido, depression, infertility.

Men and women using over the counter hormone prepatations including DHEA, pregnenolone, androstenedione.

Men and women noticing changes in body hair growth, muscle tone, memory, skin.

Men and women who have truncal weight gain, middle age weight gain.

Men and women on testosterone replacement therapy.

Alzheimers and Dementia:

This is a topic of concern to many clients that I see. One of the exciting uses of BHRT is the repletion of hormones associated with neuronal degeneration, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and parkinson’s disease. Estrogen helps to stimulate degradation of beta-amyloid plaque that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. DHEA and pregnenolone are neuroprotective hormones linked to impaired memory and brain cell death. These two hormones are important in regulating neurotransmitter systems linked to stress, depression, learning, addiction and many other functions.

Hormone testing:

An easy, do it at home, test is available to test your hormone status and monitor bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Urine testing is the gold standard for hormone testing and measures the steroid hormones and their metabolites over a 24 hour period.