a doctor confused, searching for an answer

In medical school, there was no, or very little, education on bio-identical hormones.  I never even thought about it until I had a crash course in hormonal imbalance at 38.  I was thrown into menopause after a complete hysterectomy.  There I was, getting hot flashes, feeling moody, losing my motivation and muscle tone; basically I lost my “mojo”.  

To regain my health and vitality I did some research on my own.  What I found was shocking.  I had been misled during my education.  There are still highly educated people out there who state that bio-identical hormones are a fad, that they are no different than synthetic hormones.  What I have seen in my own health and those of my patients contradicts that teaching.

Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are biochemically the same as the hormones that your body makes.  Synthetic hormones, on the other hand, are patented hormones that have a biochemical similarity to the hormones our bodies make but are not exactly the same. Our bodies are designed to work perfectly with the hormones they make. 

When we use bio-identical hormones to replace deficient hormones, the message to the cells is identical to what it would be if your body had produced the hormone. This is because the bio-identical hormone messenger is an exact duplicate. Therefore, the messaging system works as it should. 

If we use a synthetic hormone, it is not exactly the same biochemically as the hormone your body makes. To patent a hormone, the manufacturer must make some slight changes to the biochemical structure. You can’t patent a natural hormone. This biochemical change can create a big problem. 

Since your body was not designed to deal with the biochemical structure of the synthetic hormone messenger, the message is not delivered to your cells in the same manner. Since the synthetic hormone is similar to what your body naturally makes, it can produce some of the same responses as the hormone your body naturally produces, but it can also produce some unintended consequences. For example, numerous studies have shown that bio-identical progesterone can be safely used to help control periods in women and help with sleep in both men and women.  In contrast, synthetic progesterone (called progestins) can also help to control periods but has been linked to a higher rate of breast cancer and blood clots.

Sadly, the literature and the medical community often confuse bio-identical and synthetic hormones and group them together. This would be like saying men and women are the same. There are obvious differences even though there are some similarities.  

I can attest to what I have seen in my practice.  By utilizing bio-identical hormones I have seen my patients look and feel better in a way I never saw with synthetic hormones.  In addition, I have a lower rate of breast cancer patients than a regular family physician, even though I treat a significantly higher number of patients with hormone replacement than the traditional family physician.  The difference is that I utilize bio-identical hormone therapy, as well as address all aspects of having a healthy body.

If you would like to learn how to safely prescribe bio-identical hormones to your patients, I offer practical training and guidance.

~ Dr. Laurie Blanscet