A Brief History of Bioidentical Hormones

Synthetic hormones and equine hormones since the 1940s have been the basis for most references on modern hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  Current conventional practice is to prescribe progestins and estrogens that are NOT molecularly the same as those found in the human body.  Even though bioidentical hormones were known to be effective and were available as early as 1930s, the only way to avert their destruction by the digestive tract was to administer them intramuscularly in a painful oil-based injection.  Since pharmaceutical companies could not patent natural substances and the technology was not available to painlessly get bioidentical hormones into the body, researchers came up with an alternative, hence the synthetic progestins and estrogen.

Oral conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) were the first non-bioidentical hormones to be developed.  Mass marketing helped make estrogen-only replacement therapy (ERT) popular until the mid-1970s, when ERT was associated with endometrial cancer.  The popularity of ERT then plummeted, until scientists observed that endometrial cancer was not a significant occurrence in women whose ovaries produced a proper balance of estrogen and progesterone.  A synthetic non-human form of progesterone, called progestin, was developed by the 1980s to balance the non-bioidentical estrogens in commercially available HRT preparations.  To add to the confusion in HRT development, the term “progesterone” was used interchangeable with the term “progestin” in medical, nursing and pharaceutical literature.  Prescribers often assumed them to be one in the same, although their effects on the human body were very different.

In the late 1980s, the micronization of bioidentical steroids allowed absorption of progesterone orally, and estradiol, estriol and testosterone in therapeutic amounts via transdermal routes.

Micronized “human” progesterone became available in Europe in the late 1980s, in Canada in 1995, and was approved by the U.S. FDA in 1998.  It has been available from U.S. compounding pharmacists for years, and the active component is bioidentical endogenous progesterone.  Micronization of BHRT enables it to be released slowly and readily absorbed by several routes other than painful IM injections of the 1930s.  However, physicians and affiliated health professionals don’t typically learn about this option in their medical, nursing or pharmaceutical educational programs.  They therefore don’t consider it unless their patients ask for BHRT.

Despite benefits of BHRT, many women don’t take any form of HRT and experience a diminishing quality of life related to peri-menopausal symptoms.  Today is the time female baby boomers are entering menopause at an ever increasing rate and many do not experience total remission of peri-menopausal symptoms with conventional, non-bioidentical, synthetic equine HRT options.  By using non-bioidentical hormones, women trade off peri-menopausal symptoms for unwanted medication side effects and incomplete symptom relief.

The chemical structure of non-bioidentical substances is very different from hormones that humans produce.  Non-bioidentical estrogens contain certain animal hormones (e.g. Equilin, a true horse estrogen) bind to receptors with two-fold to eighteen-fold potency, and produces metabolites that contribute to hypertension.

Contact Rejuvene for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Cincinnati

Rejuvene offers Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Cincinnati Ohio. If you think you may be a good candidate for BHRT, please contact Rejuvene to schedule a consultation. Rejuvene has offices in Cincinnati Ohio and Northern Kentucky (Hebron, KY).

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