Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT, also known as bioidentical hormone therapy) refers to the treatment of symptoms and disorders of menopause using hormones that are molecularly identical to endogenous hormones. More broadly, the term ‘BHRT’ is commonly used to describe a group of practices including the use of compounded hormone mixtures, saliva testing, and the attempt to restore certain levels of both hormones in the blood rather than simply aiming to provide symptom relief, which is the goal of
standard hormone replacement therapy.

Bioidentical estrogens used in BHRT include estradiol and progesterone, which are available both in FDA-approved manufactured products and as pharmacy-compounded products. In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative ended one arm of its study of conventional hormone replacement therapy due to previously unappreciated risks. This led to a decrease in prescriptions for conventional hormone replacements and a search for safer alternatives.

Popular interest has arisen in BHRT (such as a book on the topic written by Suzanne Somers and the appearance of BHRT on The Oprah Winfrey Show) and advocates have portrayed BHRT as superior to conventional hormone replacement therapy due to the individualized approach, match to endogenous hormones and the “naturalness” of the hormones.