A Holistic Guide to Hormone Replacement
Below, we’ll discuss how to approach hormone replacement holistically. This includes identifying which factors may be contributing to hormone imbalances or deficiencies and empowering your body to balance itself naturally.
1 – Identify Contributing Factors
In holistic medicine, the first step to treatment is to determine what factors may be causing your condition. This includes looking at physical sources as well as mental, spiritual, emotional, and environmental factors.
If you are working with a holistic healthcare provider, they may do tests to determine which hormonal deficiencies or imbalances you may have, then will work with you to understand what factors may have a role in causing these deficiencies or imbalances.
Potential causes of hormonal imbalances may include:
- Health conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease
- Menopause or other aging factors
- Poor diet or nutrition
- Being overweight
- Underactive or overactive thyroid
- Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
- Exposure to toxins or pollutants
2 – Balance Your Diet
Whether your hormone imbalance is caused by a health condition or from an external factor, balancing your diet can help empower your body to naturally balance your hormones. In some cases, a nutritional diagnostic will help your holistic healthcare provider determine any deficiencies or allergies you may be experiencing. This can help inform a nutritional treatment plan that will better support healthy hormone levels.
3 – Balance Your Gut & Liver
Since hormones are metabolized in the gut, poor digestive health often leads to poor hormone balance. Similarly, poor liver health also directly affects hormones. This means anything that hurts the liver or gut—such as sugar or alcohol—will also impact the hormonal balance in your body. For information on improving gut health, read our online Holistic Guide for Improving Gut Health.
4 – Address Allergies & Infections
Whether or not allergies or infection are a primary cause of hormonal imbalance, it can be an important part of your holistic hormonal care to address these factors. That’s because allergies and infections cause chronic inflammation that impacts your body’s ability to self-regulate. By healing infections and by addressing allergies—by eliminating exposure or increasing immunity—you are helping your body better control your hormone balances.
5 – Improve Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your hormone levels, making stress management an important step in holistic hormone treatment. You can do this by improving the ways you cope with stress, including meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, as well as through exercise, improving your quality of sleep, and massage therapy.
6 – Get Better Sleep
Hormones rise and fall with the rhythm of the day, but inconsistent sleep patterns or low-quality sleep may impact these fluctuations. Improve your sleep by having a predictable sleep schedule, eliminating light when you sleep, avoiding technology leading up to bedtime, having a nighttime routine, and getting an adequate amount of sleep each night.
7 – Consider Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
If your body is unable to balance its hormones after making the above holistic hormone care changes, you may benefit from additional hormone replacement therapy. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a good choice for individuals who need additional support to increase or balance hormones. Bioidentical hormones are synthesized chemicals derived from plants and made to be molecularly identical to hormones the body naturally produces.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy & What Are Its Benefits?
Bioidentical hormone therapy is becoming a more popular alternative to traditional hormone replacement. Traditional hormone replacement therapy often comes with side effects such as bloating, feeling foggy or fatigued, weight gain, hair loss, breast swelling or tenderness, altered menstrual cycles, and more. There is also a growing body of research showing that some traditional hormone replacements may increase risk of certain cancers. This has led to more and more individuals to seek a more natural replacement for hormone therapy.
Bioidentical therapy uses hormones synthesized to replicate the body’s natural hormones for a more natural, less intrusive hormone replacement solution.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone therapy is hormone replacement using hormones molecularly identical to those found in the body. These hormones are synthesized forms of chemicals found in certain plants. The body recognizes and uses these hormones in the same way it does the hormones it synthesizes itself.
Bioidentical hormones can be created in several different forms include capsules or tablets, IV drip therapy, patches, and pellets.
Some examples of bioidentical hormones include:
- Np Thyroid
Bioidentical hormone therapy is sometimes inadvertently called “natural hormone therapy,” but this can be a confusing way to describe it because the synthetization required to create the molecularly-identical hormone makes the structure significantly different than the chemical originally harvested from the plant, making it no longer “natural.” In addition, many other synthetic hormone replacements come from similar natural sources (such as plants or animals) as bioidentical hormones. Therefore, the best description of bioidentical hormone therapy is the use of hormones synthesized to be molecularly identical to those found in the human body.
Why Choose Bioidentical Hormones?
In the holistic hormone replacement therapy at CentreSprings MD our doctors often choose bioidentical hormones when a hormone replacement is needed as part of a functional, integrative hormone replacement therapy plan. This is because these hormones interact more naturally with the body and often present fewer side effects. The dosing for bioidentical hormones is individualized, and the composition of hormones include more protective elements of the hormone, such as estriol vs. estradiol, which decreases the risk of side effects.
Below are some of the main benefits of choosing bioidentical hormone therapy over traditional hormone replacement.
More Natural Interaction
Because bioidentical hormones are recognized in the same way as the body’s natural hormones, they can often result in a more natural interaction with the body than with traditional hormone replacement therapies. This has anecdotally helped many individuals feel better on bioidentical hormone therapy than they do with traditional hormone therapy. In addition, bioidentical hormones also tend to have fewer side effects than traditional hormone therapies.
Fewer Side Effects
Because the body interacts more naturally with bioidentical hormones, many patients experience fewer or less severe side effects than with traditional hormone replacement therapy. Many patients taking hormone replacement therapy experience side effects such as bloating, weight gain, hair thinning, breast tenderness, feeling foggy or tired, or altered menstrual cycles. However, because the composition of bioidentical hormones often include more protective elements of the hormone, they typically come with reduced risk of side effects.
Easier to Manage Hormone Levels
Because the biomarkers for bioidentical hormones are the same as the body’s naturally synthesized hormones, it is easier for healthcare providers to monitor and manage hormone levels. While some healthcare providers may argue that observation of symptoms, not levels, is more beneficial, being able to track which levels had the best results can help inform a treatment plan moving forward.
May Have Fewer Risks
While research is still being done to compare the safety of bioidentical hormones compared to traditional hormone replacement therapy, bioidentical hormones may have a decreased risk of cancer or other adverse effects.
Can be Customized & Compounded
Another benefit of bioidentical hormone replacement is its ability to be compounded, or to have it combined and tweaked to specifications defined by your healthcare provider. This helps to create a hormone therapy treatment plan more customized to your personal needs.