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Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement vs Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) including its efficacy and safety has long been the subject of research and intense debate among the medical fraternity. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) or bioidentical hormone replacement in Canada is a new treatment which is gaining increased popularity as it is thought of as being natural and of possible benefits. The perceptions of these two types of therapy come to the fore, often causing individuals to seek hormone replacement therapies. In this article, we will go deeper into the differences between BHRT and regular HRT, considering how they work, advantages and disadvantages.


Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT) is a technique of using artificial hormones during menopause or andropause to provide relief from the symptoms of hormonal deficiencies. It can be these synthetic hormones recognized as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and so on. HRT has been a classic procedure for many years but during this period, questions have been posed about safety and secondary effects.

Different from Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), which turns out to be the identical one naturally produced by human bodies, BHRT uses one structurally the same. Such hormones are typical of plant origins and are believed to mimic the body’s natural hormonal equilibrium to provide superior effects than their synthetic counterparts.

Defining HRT and BHRT:

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) :

HRT involves the use of many man-made hormone medications which help to ease symptoms which are generally caused by hormonal imbalances or deficiencies. These formulations may include conjugated equine estrogen (CEE), synthetic progestins, or testosterone derivatives. Traditional HRT is often prescribed in standardised doses and forms, irrespective of individual patient needs.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) :

BHRT involves the utilisation of hormones that are chemically identical to those naturally produced by the body. These hormones are synthesised from plant-based sources such as soy or yams and are compounded to match each individual’s specific hormonal requirements. Formulations of BHRT are used for the unique needs of each patient as each patient has different adaptations which ultimately allow for treatment to be more personalised.

Mechanism of Action for BHRT & HRT :


Bioidentical hormones act on target tissues by binding to hormone receptors and exerting effects similar to endogenous hormones. When hormone levels restore to a greater and optimal range then BHRT aims to reduce the symptoms which are associated with hormonal imbalances like hot flashes, mood swings, reduced libido etc.


Traditional HRT utilises synthetic hormones that mimic the actions of endogenous hormones in the body then these synthetic hormones bind to hormone receptors in target tissues which modulate physiological processes which are regulated by the hormones. However, the differences in structure between synthetic hormones and naturally occurring hormones may influence their efficacy and also their potential side effects.

Benefits of BHRT & HRT :


One of the primary perceived benefits of BHRT is its potential to closely mimic the body’s natural hormonal balance. Using structurally identical hormones to those produced by the body, BHRT proponents argue that this form of therapy may offer superior efficacy and safety compared to traditional HRT. BHRT allows for treatment which is more personalised and tailored to each unique hormonal profile. Thus, they will be endowed with the capability of more efficient symptom controlling and eventually, the patient’s satisfaction will be surpassed by methods such as individualised HRT formulations.


Ease of symptoms has been proved by traditional HRT. For instance, hot flashes, vagina dryness, and mood disorder are the problems that HRT can decrease. Apart from symptom control HRT also brings other benefits like disease prevention, protection of osteoporosis, a cardiovascular disease risk reduction for some populations.

Risks Associated with BHRT & HRT :


While BHRT is often touted as a more natural alternative to traditional HRT, it is not without its risks.  BHRT also carries the potential for side effects Like any other form of hormone therapy which include breast tenderness, bloating, mood changes and more. Still, the long-term safety of BHRT has not been studied extensively and concerns remain regarding its impact on cancer risk and cardiovascular health.


Traditionally HRT has been associated with an increased risk of certain adverse events which generally include breast cancer, stroke, blood clots etc. A study by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) which investigated the risks and benefits of HRT in postmenopausal women found that using combined estrogen-progestin therapy for long-term increased the chances of causing an elevated risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular events, and thromboembolic events.

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Last but not least, we will summarise that the BHRT and HRT fall into categories that have opposed understanding hormonal problems. BHRT has advantages like the ability to manage hormone therapy individually and resemble the natural state of hormone balance, however, it also has certain risks. Although traditional hormone replacement therapy has some side effects, the latter is efficient in reducing symptoms presented by hormonal imbalance and forms an additional benefit in the prevention of osteoporosis.

In the end, the selection had to be undertaken jointly with doctors, with patients’ aims, their medical history and any possible threat factors being considered. In addition to a better understanding of the long-term effects of using both hormone forms on safety and efficacy, the healthcare practitioner should provide proper information to their patients for the best medical and clinical care management.

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