Independent Reviews of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) For Physicians

Independent Reviews of Bio

Just what is bio-identical hormone therapy? It is a “natural” and safe alternative to standard hormone replacement therapy for menopause and andropausal symptoms.

Interest in bio-identical hormone therapy started to take off in 2002 when a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was halted after researchers discovered an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, and other problems in post-menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy. The hormone used in that trial was an FDA-approved combination of non-bio-identical estrogen and progesterone. Many women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and some went looking for alternatives.

Unlike conventional hormone therapy that uses synthetic hormones or animal-based hormones that are slightly different from a woman’s own hormones, bio-identical hormones are biochemically the same as those made by both women and men’s bodies.

Within the category of bio-identical hormones, there are two types: preparations pre-made and distributed by major pharmaceutical companies and those made up in a compounding pharmacy. Both kinds can be created in a number of forms, including pills, creams, patches, and gels as well as pellets.

Pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of hormones for 3-5 months in women and 4-6 months in men. They avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with every other method of delivery. Estrogen delivered by subcutaneous pellets, maintains the normal ratio of estradiol to estrone. This is important for optimal health and disease prevention. Pellets do not increase the risk of blood clots like conventional or synthetic hormone replacement therapy.

In studies, when compared to conventional hormone replacement therapy, pellets have been shown to be superior for relief of menopausal and andropausal symptoms (male hormone decline or “male menopause”), maintenance of bone density, restoration of sleep patterns, and improvement in sex drive, libido, sexual response and performance. 

Testosterone delivered by a pellet implant, has been used to treat migraine and menstrual headaches. It also helps with vaginal dryness, incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency. In both men and women, testosterone has been shown to increase energy, relieve depression, increase sense of well-being, relieve anxiety and improve memory and concentration. Testosterone, delivered by pellet implant, increases lean body mass (muscle strength, bone density) and decreases fat mass. Men and women need adequate levels of testosterone for optimal mental and physical health and for the prevention of chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and heart attacks, which are associated with low testosterone levels.

Even patients who have failed other types of hormone therapy have a very high success rate with pellets. There is no other ‘method of hormone delivery’ that is as convenient for the patient as the implants. Pellets have been used in both men and women since the late 1930’s. Research on hormone implants to support breast cancer patients in staying in remission is out of the United States and there are also clinics that specialize in the use of pellets for hormone therapy in the U.S. In fact, there is more data in support of pellets than any other method of delivery of hormones worldwide.