What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is commonly referred to as natural hormone replacement therapy because the hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced by our bodies. It is a therapy that compensates for a deficiency arising from the natural decline of gonad function. Testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA diminish as we age and contribute to the decline in physical functioning and quality of life. These hormones can be replaced to help slow aging, but it’s important to do it right.
BHRT is very different from conventional hormone replacement therapy in that BHRT products are derived from wild yam (Dioscorea) or soybean, and the end product has a molecular structure identical to those hormones made in our body. As bioidentical hormones mimic the hormones that our body produces naturally, the side effects often associated with synthetic hormones are drastically reduced if not eliminated completely. Additionally, the doses of bioidentical hormones are also individualized based on deficiencies found via testing, whereas synthetic hormones tend to be a ‘one size fits all’ dose.
What Does BHRT Treat?
BHRT is used to help treat symptoms of menopause, perimenopause, premature aging, osteoporosis, and post-menopause, and includes the replacement of estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Cortisol and glandular thyroid replacement therapy could also fall under the category of BHRT, but typically, when we talk about BHRT it is the primary sex hormones to which we are referring.
There are three main estrogens in the body, estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). We typically utilize two to three of these estrogens in our BHRT in an attempt to mimic the natural hormone status in the body as closely as possible. This is a very different approach than the conventional HRT practice of using just estradiol for symptomatic women.
How is BHRT Administered?
We utilize laboratory testing as well as detailed health history to assess what hormones to recommend to a patient. Tailoring hormones to a woman’s needs is an art, and it can take up to a few months to find exactly the right dosage/combination. We typically utilize blood testing, but also have access to urine testing and salivary testing. We partner with compounding pharmacies that we trust and know to use the best quality substrates and delivery methods to provide men and women with optimal results.
BHRT can be administered in different ways for our patients. We may recommend pellet implants, creams, vaginal suppositories, etc, which are all made at a compounding pharmacy. We do not dispense these items from our office. We provide BHRT pellet therapy for those who prefer this delivery. Pellets are placed under the skin using a very small incision.
We believe that BHRT is safe and effective for optimizing women’s and men’s health through the aging process. We do not put timelines on our patients’ use of BHRT and we monitor their progress closely to optimize safety and efficacy. We assess the risk and benefit for each patient who desires BHRT and move forward with individualized treatments.
Dr. Parcell’s Philosophy on Natural Hormone Replacement
Dr. Kelly Parcell has been a practicing naturopathic doctor in the field of women’s health since the year 2000. She was influenced greatly by her time at The Tahoma Clinic under the direction of Dr Jonathan Wright who is often referred to as the ‘father of bioidentical hormone replacement’. Early exposure to the uses, benefits, studies and testing for bioidentical hormone replacement gave her the foundation to excel in this field over the years. Over the year, she has further developed her knowledge in clinical practice, personal experience, and by attending conferences from the leaders in the field such as Tori Hudson, ND, the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine (A4M), and more.
Dr. Parcell excels at treating difficult issues in women’s health such as PCOS, estrogen dominance, low libido, PMS/PMDD, thyroid disorders, fatigue, brain fog, inability to lose weight, and hormone issues in female athletes. She has been very successful in treating abnormal PAPs, HPV and cervical dysplasia without drugs and surgery. She understands the way in which hormones interact in the female body. She works with numerous local specialists and will refer to them when this is in the best interest of the patient.
She uses plant medicine, natural hormones, clinical nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle changes to get results. She believes correct diagnosis and follow up is critical.
Dr. Parcell works closely with NatureMed’s medical doctors on staff to ensure comprehensive integrative care for patients who would like BHRT.
If you are interested in BHRT, please contact us.