With the advancement of technology over the years, there have been great strides in improvement in the medical field.
Bioidentical hormone therapy is one such development in the world of medical science. This therapeutic procedure uses processed hormones that mimic the hormones made by your body’s glands.
These plant-based bioidentical hormones offer a safer and more natural alternative to conventional lab-produced hormones.
This is particularly true in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), a type of hormone replacement therapy that’s used to treat sexual dysfunction in men, particularly low testosterone.
If you’re unsure whether to select one over the other, let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of bioidentical TRT against conventional testosterone replacement therapy.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy: What Is It?
To start, let’s learn more about the standard procedure of testosterone therapy.
Testosterone replacement therapy is essentially a treatment plan designed to revert testosterone levels to normal. The process entails the delivery of the testosterone hormone by injection or skin absorption.
This treatment is often prescribed to men whose testosterone levels fall below the standard amount of 300 ng/dL as a way to manage symptoms and reverse physical manifestations of aging.
Testosterone can be taken in five different ways. These include the following:
- Transdermal: Topical gels, creams, liquids, and patches
- Injection: There are short-acting and long-acting testosterone injections
- Oral/buccal: It comes as a patch that you place above your incisor, but you should not chew or swallow it
- Intranasal: It is in the form of a gel that is pumped into your nostrils
- Pellets under the skin: Testosterone pellets are placed under your skin near your upper hip or buttocks
You should speak with a doctor specializing in testosterone and TRT to have a clearer idea of the optimal intake and course of treatment.
Using bioidentical hormones instead of conventional hormones is one variation of this therapy. But how exactly do they differ?
Traditional Hormone Therapy
In traditional hormone therapy, hormones get synthesized in the laboratory using chemicals. These hormones’ chemical composition is often similar to the hormones produced by your body.
That said, in most cases, it is not the exact chemical composition of the hormone. This is because adding certain elements to the base hormone molecules can help make the hormone available in various mediums.
An example of this is Metandren, made using methyltestosterone (C20H30O2). This is one of the first testosterone medications that could be taken orally by patients. Doctors modified the testosterone formula (C19H28O2) of this medication to enable oral consumption in patients.
Another reason companies alter molecules is to patent their product and shield themselves from the competition. This is why you’ll find that many traditional hormones are manufactured by only one company.
By comparison, bioidentical hormones are derived from plants and are identical to your body’s hormones. Let’s learn more about them.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
In circumstances where conventional therapy isn’t suitable, bioidentical hormones claim to be a good alternative. This treatment has found great success in treating symptoms of menopausal symptoms. For men, it’s also used to treat low T and insulin resistance.
Bioidentical hormones are artificial hormones derived from plant estrogens whose chemical formula is identical to the hormones produced by the human body. Some common replications of body hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
These bioidentical hormones are also available in the same mediums as traditional testosterone. They are available readily in the market, while specific hormone dosages can be custom-made by pharmacies at a doctor’s request.
Pros and Cons of Bioidentical Testosterone Replacement Therapy
As with almost any treatment, bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy has pros and cons.
You may feel that the bioidentical treatment is a no-brainer option as it’s naturally sourced and identical to the body’s hormones.
However, that’s not always the case. Let’s see the pros and cons of compounded bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy is effective in restoring hormone levels to the same effect as conventional therapy. There won’t be any change in the functionality of the affected hormone as the hormone’s chemical structure is not modified.
Bioidentical therapy also alleviates the symptoms of low testosterone, including weight gain, low libido, and night sweats.
Furthermore, this therapy also reduces the risk of diabetes, cataracts, and tooth loss in patients. Bioidentical testosterone is claimed to maintain cognitive function and cardiovascular protection and decrease breast cancer risk.
As testing for custom-made hormone dosage is available, there is no need to go through a long process of trial and error to find the correct dosage.
Though bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy is similar in efficacy to traditional testosterone treatment, there are side effects and risks to be aware of.
One of the significant risks is the lack of clinical validity of many bioidentical hormones. Most (not all) bioidentical hormones are not FDA-Approved. They don’t have enough clinical testing to back their claims.
As such, consult a reputable medical clinic for men’s health before taking any of these hormones.
Many bioidentical hormones may potentially cause negative effects. This is often because of the high variation of different body types and the lack of regulation in production.
These side effects may include:
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
Lastly, bioidentical hormones may be naturally sourced; however, they’re still processed to the lab’s final forms. While a step up from traditional hormone therapies, it’s not a fully organic treatment procedure.
Bioidentical vs. Traditional Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Why is there so much conversation surrounding bioidentical and traditional TRT? Both of these treatments come in similar forms and are similarly priced. But it is essential to know the differences that may help you choose.
Traditional TRT starts with a one-size-fits-all medication, then adjusted per your requirements. In contrast, bioidentical TRT is far more individualized.
The practitioners, too, vary with the treatments. Traditional TRT is mainly done by a primary physician, while bioidentical TRT requires the presence of a specialist.
Both these treatments have significant risks and side effects. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before proceeding.
Contact Atlanta’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation About TRT
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy provides the same benefits as traditional hormone therapy. Its demand is also only increasing as more people opt to switch to natural treatment procedures.
However, it’s not the perfect cure. There are as many as 4000 unreported side effects of this hormone replacement therapy. Men aren’t completely safe just because it’s advertised as a natural way to fight testosterone deficiency.
The choice between these treatments is a discussion that’s best made with a professional. Speak to a specialist to make an informed decision.
The medical professionals at Atlanta’s Priority Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, PE, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.