HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) refers to treatment which involves taking hormones to replenish levels which have fallen in the body. This can be done by mouth, through the skin or vaginally. In menopause care, HRT typically refers to the replacement of falling levels of oestrogen which, for women who have not had a hysterectomy, must be balanced by a progesterone supplement to protect the womb lining.
Conventional HRT with Synthetic Hormones
Historically this has been provided by licenced preparations readily available on the NHS in set doses, containing either oestrogen alone or in combination with synthetic progesterone-like compounds called progestogens. However, progestogens are not identical in structure to the natural progesterone produced in the body and can cause side effects.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
- Bioidentical (or body-identical) hormones, are identical in structure to the hormones produced in the human body and tend to be associated with fewer side effects. They are derived from plant sources and manufactured into a fine powder.
- They can be given through the skin or by mouth and come in creams, capsules or lozenges.
- They can be tailored to your individual needs at the exact dose and multiple hormones can be combined into one cream.
- Some bioidentical hormones are now available in licenced preparations on an NHS prescription and I will use these whenever possible. However, these may not be suitable for everyone as they only come in certain doses.