Dr. Dana of Love Health Direct Primary Care offers thoughts on Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)? 

Well, as someone who has been asked this question countless times, I understand the confusion surrounding it. But let me tell you, for many women, BHRT is a game-changer.

Picture this: You’re going through perimenopause or menopause, and suddenly, you feel like you’re losing control. The hot flashes, the mood swings, the insomnia—they all seem to be taking over your life. You visit your doctor, desperate for relief, only to be met with skepticism or a prescription for antidepressants that barely scratch the surface of your symptoms. Sound familiar?

That’s where BHRT comes in. It’s not just about popping pills; it’s about restoring balance to your body and mind. When women come to me seeking help, they often find solace in the fact that there’s a physiological explanation for what they’re experiencing. No more feeling like they’re going crazy—it’s a sigh of relief knowing that there’s a way forward.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: the Women’s Health Initiative study. This study, intended to assess the effects of hormone therapy on cardiovascular disease risk, ended up causing more harm than good. Flawed on multiple fronts, it failed to account for crucial factors like the timing of hormone therapy initiation and the types of hormones used.

Firstly, most women in the study were already ten years past menopause, which is far from ideal for assessing the benefits of hormone therapy during the early stages of menopause. This makes sense as the intention of the study was to examine heart disease.  However the study included women who had been in menopause for up to 30 years, with some participants nearing the age of 80!  

Interestingly, current understanding indicates that administering estrogen treatment during a woman’s 40s and 50s can lower the risk of heart disease. However, the Women’s Health Initiative study highlighted an uptick in heart disease among much older women who had already endured decades of severely diminished estrogen levels. 

Secondly, the hormones examined— Premarin and medroxyprogesterone —were not representative of the hormones in the human body.  

Premarin stands apart as a non-bioidentical hormone, starkly distinct from the natural estrogen produced by the female human body. While humans generate only three primary types of estrogens—estradiol, estriol, and estrone—horses produce an array of over 21 estrogen variants. Thus, when Premarin is administered, women are exposed to a composite of these 21 estrogen types, encompassing 18 varieties not naturally occurring in humans.

Micronized progesterone, often prescribed under the brand name Prometrium, embodies a bioidentical hormone, mirroring the molecular structure of progesterone naturally produced by the ovaries. In contrast, synthetic progestins such as Provera (medroxyprogesterone) possess chemical compositions distinct from ovarian-produced progesterone.  Some studies have even shown concerning evidence, showing possible increased risk of breast cancer with longer term (more than 12 months) use of medroxyprogesterone.

The bottom line:  not all hormones are created equal. 

The advantages of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for health:

HRT offers numerous well-documented health benefits. It’s established that estrogen and progesterone HRT can impede tumorigenesis, serving as a preventive measure against breast cancer development. Consistent data underscores that women undergoing HRT can enhance bone health, mood stability, overall wellness, and potentially reduce cancer risk and mortality rates by up to 30%. Additionally, appropriately supervised HRT has demonstrated efficacy in alleviating various menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, weight fluctuations, skin dryness, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and depression, among others, without the adverse effects highlighted in the original Women’s Health Initiative study.

So, why is BHRT so crucial for women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms? Because it’s about more than just managing hot flashes; it’s about preserving quality of life. Depression, anxiety, cognitive fog—these are all real consequences of hormonal imbalance, and they deserve real solutions.

No woman should have to suffer in silence, yet far too many are left to navigate the murky waters of menopause alone. But here’s the truth: you are not alone, and you are not crazy. You’re simply in need of appropriate treatment—one that addresses the root cause of your symptoms and restores balance to your body.

So, if you find yourself among the 30% of women worldwide struggling with menopausal symptoms, know that there is hope. BHRT offers a path to reclaiming your vitality, your sanity, and your sense of self. Don’t let menopause define you—embrace the power of hormone therapy and reclaim your life.

*The content of this article serves solely for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. It does not replace professional medical guidance. It is imperative to consult with your healthcare provider regarding the risks and benefits associated with any treatment.*

About Dr. Dana

Dana Mincer, DO, is a board certified, family practice physician, personal trainer, and mom, with expertise in mental health, addiction medicine, positive habit coaching, and yoga based therapies. She considers herself a REFORMED western medicine physician who employs practical integrative medicine techniques. Her basic approach is that every patient is a sacred and respected individual who is more than capable of making decisions about their own medical care – she is humbled to be invited into their world for guidance.

She opened her own practice at 1035 Virginia Drive, Suite 140 in Fort Washington. To schedule a free meet and greet and sign up for the practice, you can visit Love Health’s website.

Updates and more information are also available at Love Health Direct Primary Care’s Facebook page and Instagram page.