What are “Bioidentical” Hormones?

Bio-identical Hormones have exactly the same chemical structures as the hormones we naturally make in our bodies. Since their molecular structure is exactly the same as the original, the body accepts them very well and hence they are able to deliver their physiological function with minimal side effects. Hence they are also referred to as “Natural Hormones”. Many of them are derived from natural sources such as yam and soya. Bioidentical hormones are made in compounding pharmacies and can be customized to suit individual requirements.

What are “Synthetic” Hormones?

“Synthetic Hormones” is a term used to refer to non-Bioidentical hormones. Their molecular structures are different from that of the hormones we naturally make in our bodies. Hence the body does not accept them very well and they can cause major side effects. Synthetic hormones are produced chemically in labs or derived from other animals.

What is the difference between HRT and BHRT?

Both HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) are basically forms of Therapies to replace depleted hormones. The term HRT is used to indicate conventional Therapy using “synthetic” Hormones. BHRT refers to therapy that uses Bioidentical Hormones through physiological route of administration and with nutritional optimization. BHRT is considered to be the safer option.

If hormones levels naturally drop as we age, why should we try to raise them?

Scientific studies on aging show that the decline of hormone levels occurring with aging directly correlate with increases in heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cancer and other age-related disorders. If you set your primary health goals towards preventing diseases rather than treating them after you get them, it makes more sense to make earlier and simpler hormone adjustments as your first line of defense. Raising hormones to optimal levels also help control distressing symptoms of menopause and Andropause.

Are measuring hormone levels important?

The aim of hormone replacement is to bring the levels of hormones in the body to optimal levels within physiological limits. If one were to monitor therapy on the basis of symptoms alone one will not be know when one attains optimal levels and one may miss the occasional case of overdose. Measuring your hormone levels is a more helpful way of deciding replacement amounts and customizing the dose or route of administration. The laboratory measurements enable us to correct your hormones faster and more accurately. During initiation of BHRT, one may need to do lab monitoring frequently. Once stabilized, the levels may need to be monitored less frequently.

What other hormones besides estrogen, change and cause symptoms as we get older?

The other main hormones that decline with age include thyroid, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, HGH and insulin. All of these affect your energy, mood, sleep, coping ability, brain function, metabolism and body weight. Insuffiency of these hormones also increase the risk and progression of age-related diseases.

How come more doctors aren't prescribing bio-identical hormones?

Although most doctors are aware of how hormone replacement can improve and even prevent many diseases of aging, they restrict prescriptions for hormones since Bioidentical hormones are not easily available in India. This is because there are not many dedicated compounding pharmacies to provide compounded hormones on prescription. However, in countries such as USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan, Bio-identical hormone therapy is well supported by compounding pharmacy, dedicated hormone testing labs and Physician training programs. The good news is that in the past few years, the awareness of natural hormone optimization therapy has grown in India both among the doctors as well as the general public. With availability of compounded hormones, dedicated testing labs and training programs more doctors are gradually incorporating BHRT into mainstream practice.

What are compounding pharmacies?

Compounding pharmacies are pharmacies that are specialized in preparing customized pharmaceutical preparations. They employ certified, trained pharmacists who are experienced in preparing medications and hormone formulae according to your physician’s prescription. They have the advantage over standard pharmacists in that they can prepare treatments specifically designed for you.

What is unique about Belle Sante Institute?

Belle Sante Endocrinology is the only Institute in India that provides comprehensive BHRT. It caters to the three critical components BHRT, viz. Clinical support, Dedicated Hormone related Lab Tests and Compounding Pharmacy. It provides a natural treatment option to helps those suffering from the symptoms of menopause, andropause and reduces the risk of age-related diseases. To determine your hormonal needs, Belle Sante’s physician thoroughly evaluates early symptoms and then, using state-of-the-art diagnostic tests, determines your basic hormone parameters. Based on clinical as well as lab inputs, Belle Sante determines your unique hormonal needs and prescribes the same to the compounding Pharmacy. After starting BHRT, Belle Sante monitors and re-evaluates your hormone parameters periodically to ensure that they are maintained at their optimum balance. Belle Sante Institute also gives ongoing Clinical support to patients and wherever necessary consults its expert international panel of Physicians in challenging cases. It also provides structured training programs for Physicians in the science and art of BHRT.

Which Hormones Do we commonly test?

Based on the Clinical presentations the hormone lab profile is determined. Some of the commonly tested Hormones are as follows: Estrogens and Progesterone- predominantly female hormones. Testosterone – the predominantly male hormone Cortisol – the stress hormone DHEA – the “mother of all hormones” aids in creating and maintaining lean muscle mass Thyroid Hormones – Your metabolism Adrenal Hormones – Your immune system, your energy level, and your ability to handle stress. Insulin – hormone related to diabetes and obesity. Human Growth Hormone – The hormone responsible for regeneration of tissue. In addition to hormones other parameters of health and indicators of activity of age-related diseases are also tested where applicable.