Should you be taking synthetic or bio-identical hormones? While both are effective, synthetic hormones have clear and studied side effects.
General Side Effects
Synthetic hormones are not molecularly identical to the hormones naturally found in your body, It’s like having your house key copied but not an exact replica of your original key. The copied key may fit into the key hole but it won’t open the door lock. Taking synthetic hormone medication can cause a rise in the risk of heart attacks, blood clots, breast cancer, and strokes.
If you are over 65, the medication may raise your chances of dementia. If you still have your uterus, your chances of getting endometrial cancer or cancer of the uterus will increase.
Side Effects of Estrogen-only, Progesterone-only, and Combination Medications
Serious side effects of estrogen-only medications include high cholesterol, which can lead to pancreas problems, gallbladder disease, and blood clots in the eye, which can lead to vision loss, problems with the liver, high blood pressure, and severe allergic reaction.
More common, but manageable side effects include yeast infections, retention of fluid, hair loss, vomiting and nausea, painful/tender breasts, headaches, vaginal spotting, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Side effects of estrogen and progesterone combination hormone medication are generally the same but also include muscle spasms, neck pain, dizziness, throat pain, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
The History of Bio-Identical Hormones
In 2005, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists stated that there was no evidence supporting the efficiency of bio-identical hormones. In 2007, the FDA followed suit and removed coverage for bio-identical hormones. At this point research clearly showed the dangers of synthetic hormones but had not found anything conclusive about the bio-identical hormones.
By 2013 there was proof that bio-identical hormones were just as effective as synthetic hormones. The research about whether bio-identical hormones were as likely to cause cancer as the synthetic hormones is yet unproven.
One of the benefits of using bio-identical hormones is the follow-up procedure: doctors often have patients come in three months, six months, and then annually to monitor their hormone levels. In this way, any sign of potential cancer is caught early. Many doctors prefer to use bio-identical hormone pellets to administer the doses.
Research on bio-identical hormones is ongoing. Consult your doctor to determine if this treatment is ideal for you.
This article was originally published by Murray Riggins, M.D. on MyMASC.com. Dr. Riggins offers cosmetic medical treatments at his Gadsden, Alabama practice, and he provides beauty and health products to customers across the country. Learn more about Instantly Ageless and FGXpress PowerStrips.