It is important to remember that your loss of oestrogen and progesterone is part of the natural ageing process and you don’t have to supplement it to be healthy. However, some women suffer such serious hormone imbalances that they find it difficult to function on a daily basis. If you have severe menopause symptoms and a change in your diet and lifestyle has had little or no effect, then hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may give you the relief you are looking for.
The main hormones used in HRT are oestrogen and progestogen, which can be derived from different sources, but they all serve the same function. The oestrogen is generally synthesised from an active ingredient called diosgenin, which is a molecule extracted from various plants including wild yam, and has the ability to be converted into either oestrogen or progesterone in a lab. Another source of oestrogen is from the urine of pregnant horses, known as Premarin. Progestogen is the synthetic form of progesterone which is most commonly used in HRT, mainly because the bio-identical form of progesterone is poorly absorbed in tablet form, however, it can be very effective when used in topical applications. There are many varieties of progesterone, but they all have the same essential function in HRT, which is to protect the lining of the womb.
Some women have reservations about taking HRT and as a consequence of this, interest has grown in bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones sound more appealing when dealing with menopause because they are derived naturally and your body can metabolise them properly because they are identical to our own hormones.
There are two categories of bio-identical hormones – Preparations pre-made and distributed by major pharmaceutical companies, and those made up in a compounding pharmacy, which are custom made and specifically designed to match your individual hormone needs. Both kinds can be created in a number of forms, including pills, creams, patches, gels and vaginal rings.