Have questions about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? We’ve got the answers.

1. What does BHRT stand for?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. BHRT is the use of supplemental doses of hormones that have a chemical structure identical to the hormones that the human body naturally produces.

2. What does BHRT do?
Treats the symptoms of menopause, perimenopause and postmenopause.

3. How are BHRT treatments created?
If bioidentical hormones are purchased at a compounding pharmacy, a cocktail of hormones is created, uniquely tailored for each individual patient. If they're purchased at a conventional pharmacy, these hormones are available in a range of set doses. In both instances, the prescriptions are based on a series of tests administered by a doctor. Many of the bioidentical hormones used are made from soybeans and wild yams, which contain unique compounds that are processed chemically and made into identical replicas of hormones the body produces. They are used for their cost-effectiveness as well as their ability to readily extract compounds and turn them into exact replicas of human hormones.

4. What is BHRT like?
After a doctor determines a patient is in hormonal decline, he or she will administer static dosing, which is when hormone levels are approximated and a patient is prescribed the same amount of estradiol every day of the month. On days 18 to 28, a doctor would prescribe a static dose of progesterone to imitate what the body made previously.

5. What are the different forms of BHRT?
Static dosing is one manner. There also is rhythmic cycling, which is based on the cycles of nature and is meant to mimic the time during which women are at their reproductive peak. Rhythmic cycling is a relatively new approach in BHRT.

6. How is BHRT taken?
Bioidentical hormones are applied via a cream, a suppository, taken orally or are injected.

The official FDA statement on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.