What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Milwaukee Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Specialist, Michele Nickels, N.D. at Integrative Family Wellness Center has helped numerous men and women to regain hormonal balance. Offering customized programs that address individual needs, many patients have been able to overcome the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance, which are often synonymous with the symptoms of aging. Taking a patient-centered approach to wellness, Doctor Nickels factors in patients’ individual challenges, lifestyles, medical history, and treatment preferences into her Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy plans. As a result of her dedicated care and attention, wide numbers of men and women have been able to obtain peak levels of health.

Bioidentical Hormones are manufactured in the lab to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body. By contrast, synthetic hormones are intentionally different. Drug companies can’t patent a Bioidentical structure, so they invent synthetic hormones that are patentable (Premarin, Prempro and Provera being the most widely used examples).

Though Bioidentical Hormones have been around for years, most practitioners are unfamiliar with them. There are several branded versions now available for use in the kind of hormone replacement therapy (“HRT”) typical of synthetic hormones. This is generally a one-size-fits-all dosage regime.

In my practice, I have had the greatest success with an individualized approach. I begin with laboratory tests of hormone levels (a so-called “hormone panel”). When warranted, I then prescribe a precise dosage of Bioidentical estrogen, progesterone, testosterone or DHEA that is made up at a compounding pharmacy. Each patient is then monitored carefully through regular follow-up hormone panels to ensure we get symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage. In the initial stages, we will do a hormone panel every two – three months. Once balance is restored, I’ll do one panel a year at the time of the annual exam.

Are Bioidentical Hormones better than synthetic hormones?

I concluded that the answer to this question is yes, but that doesn’t mean Bioidentical Hormones are perfect. The great appeal of Bioidentical Hormones is that they are natural, and our bodies can metabolize them as it was designed to do, minimizing side effects. Synthetic hormones are quite strong and often produce intolerable side effects. Moreover, the compounded Bioidentical Hormones can be matched individually to each woman’s needs, something that’s just impossible with mass-produced products.

Are Bioidentical Hormones safer than synthetics?

European medical studies suggest that Bioidentical Hormones are safer than synthetic versions. This makes perfect sense, but we must be cautious here, because they have not been well studied, especially for long-term use. In any case, I never recommend that a woman think of any drug as completely safe. Let us note here that the WHI studies on the effectiveness and health risks of HRT were based on synthetic, equine-based hormones.

What do I recommend?

The great majority of women can rebalance their hormones without the use of drugs. I have found that about 85% can find relief through an approach that combines medical-grade nutritional supplements, gentle endocrine support, dietary and lifestyle changes and Bioidentical Hormones. I recommend that every woman start with this combination approach as a foundation of health.

I don’t recommend that any hormones be used long-term unless essential for symptom relief, and then only with a complete risk assessment. I also don’t support the idea that Bioidentical Hormone Therapy should be used indefinitely as some kind of fountain of youth.

So..are Bioidentical Hormones for you?

My goal is to help inform women about their options so that they can make the choice that’s best for them. A woman’s hormonal balance is a dynamic equilibrium that shifts from day to day, week to week, and through the years. When you give your body the support it needs it can reset itself, because it’s equipped and programmed for balance and wellness. So I recommend beginning with the gentlest form of support possible to allay your discomfort and tweaking it as you go. I’ll support you in any way I can, each step of the way. The good news is that women can feel incredibly well right through menopause.

As a Milwaukee Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Specialist, Michele Nickels, N.D. at Integrative Family Wellness Center is happy to provide patients with detailed information, answer all questions, and discuss any concerns. She will listen carefully to the patients’ description of their symptoms, and she will then perform testing on hormone levels to determine imbalances. Upon finding imbalances, Doctor Nickels will provide patients with a personalized Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy program that is designed to meet individual needs. Countless patients in Milwaukee Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Specialist, Doctor Nickel’s care have been able to use Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy to regain their health and improve their levels of wellness.