Hormonal therapy is a hot topic with middle-aged women. The doctor may throw around many terms when dealing with replacement therapy like natural, synthetic and bioidentical, but most don’t know what they mean. It can all be very frustrating to try to figure out. Some people are confused by the term “synthetic” when referring to hormones. Synthetic simply means artificial or produced by synthesis. Rather than being made within a biological organism, it is made in a laboratory. However, these are meticulous copies of the exact molecules that the thyroid and ovaries made.
Synthetic hormones are used to treat various medical conditions when a patient is experiencing adverse side effects from the aging process. Replacing those hormones, such as estrogen and progestin, is essential for a ladies overall health. Pharmaceutical companies have been able to replicate and replace hormones found in the body with great success. Some women have been treated by using both estrogen and progestin together or separately. Being given the proper hormone regimen can decrease symptoms of menopause.
During menopause, a woman’s body doesn’t produce enough estrogen, and it can cause significant problems with sleep cycles, moods, and other issues. To combat these changes and the deficiency of these hormones, a woman can take hormonal therapy. By using these man-made versions of the hormones a woman is deficient in, she can combat the symptoms that she is experiencing and live an ordinary life.
Synthetic hormones come in many forms. However, the most common form is a mixture of pregnant mare urine and progestin. Urine from a pregnant mare is called CEE, or conjugated equine estrogens. These mixtures have property claims on them by pharmaceutical companies because they are manufactured in their plants. These versions of hormones have done wonders for those who are going through perimenopause, menopause, or are postmenopausal.
A doctor will determine if a woman’s hormone levels are deficient through a thorough examination and some blood tests. They can suggest the use of synthetic hormones at a low dose for a particular period of time. Though the most common form is in a pill, there are other methods of delivery that are available. The time that a woman takes hormone replacements is usually short. The standard prescription method is to use cyclic hormone therapy for about twenty-five days. The prescription will typically start out with estrogen. Somewhere during the duration of this period, the doctor will also add in a supplement of progestin. Once the cycle has ended, the woman takes a break from all pills for approximately five days. Another method used is a replacement therapy patch. There are also vaginal creams that have estrogen in them, which can help with vaginal dryness.
Just as in traditional therapies, hormonal therapy can increase the chance of developing a blood clot, having a heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and problems with the gall bladder. If the woman has previously undergone a hysterectomy, the chances of her developing uterine cancer are increased. However, by just adding some progestin to the mix, it can lower the risk significantly.
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Many people are also given the chance to take bioidentical hormones. The difference between synthetic and bioidentical hormones is in the molecular makeup. The difference is also noticed in how they work in the body. Both are created in a laboratory, so in a sense they are both synthetic. The choice in whether or not to take the synthetic version versus the bioidentical is something that every woman should discuss with their physician. When combating vaginal dryness, mood swings, hot flashes and hair loss, finding something to help is essential.
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