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What Are Compounded Bioidentical Hormones Anyway?

Dr Anuradha08 September, 2022

Hormonal problems like fatigue, low sex drive and weight gain are really common. But many people are afraid to seek help for fear of being met with an extreme response — either a total dismissal of their symptoms, or the opposite — an ‘overkill’ approach in which they are given a drug that causes more problems than it solves. 

When it comes to hormone imbalances, the conventional approach is either to treat symptoms with medications that don’t address the underlying hormonal imbalance or to prescribe synthetic hormones, which have a host of side effects. 

Most conventional medications are simply too heavy-handed, and that’s why a growing number of people are turning to custom-compounded bioidentical hormone therapy to balance their hormones.

What are bioidentical hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant sources and designed to be identical in structure to the hormones produced naturally by the human body. 

It’s different from synthetic hormone-like drugs found in contraceptives or many standard HRT preparations. Synthetic hormone-like drugs are not identical in structure to the hormones the body produces, so the body doesn’t know how to metabolise them in the same way.

What are compounded bioidentical hormones?

Bioidentical hormones can be compounded — which means formulated into a custom dose — according to the prescription you receive from your hormone health specialist. 

That means that, unlike standardised medications, they can be created in personalised dosages. This makes them an option for those who may have had negative experiences with conventional hormone medications or pharmaceuticals in the past. 

It also means that your prescription can change as your needs change — so as your natural hormone levels change over time, your medication can change with you. 

How do compounded hormones work?

You’re an expert in your own body. You know what you’re feeling and how you are responding to treatment. Having the ability to have your dose fine-tuned according to your experience is a key factor in hormone balancing. This requires a level of care and attention to detail that you may just not be able to get from a standardised preparation.

However, some patients are hesitant to use compounded hormone medications due to perceived risk. Custom-compounded hormones are unlicensed because for a medication to be licensed it has to be licensed at one dose for one disease. 

Compounded medicines are unlicensed because the dose can be personalised to an individual’s needs. For those who decide to go the compounded route, it is key to source your own custom-compounded hormones from a reliable, reputable UK-based pharmacy that is regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, like Hormones and You.

What is compounding medicine? 

Historically, compounding was a normal process. Most prescriptions were filled by compounding ingredients at a compounding pharmacy. 

Mass production of prescription drugs came in with the industrial production of medicine, producing patented medicine from 1842. That heralds the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry in its form as we know it today. But even now, compounding pharmacies still play a critical role. 

Compounding pharmacies

Compounding pharmacies are key in specialities that require a degree of personalisation, such as dermatology and paediatrics. And because hormone balancing requires more personalised equations, standardised mass-produced hormone therapies that are available in only a single form may not help all patients achieve the best results. 

If the available dosage of a standardised medication is too high, or if the administration method is not one you can tolerate, compounding pharmacies can make custom formulations that allow you to overcome these barriers. For example, a dose of progesterone that is licensed for treatment for menopause may well not suit a younger woman struggling with PMS

Most of the mass-produced hormone therapies that are available still contain synthetic hormones. Synthetic hormones won’t balance your own hormones and can actually make things worse. For example, contraceptive pills are widely offered to address hormonal imbalances, but they don’t address the underlying hormonal imbalance. Many types of bioidentical hormone therapies are available only or primarily in compounded form.

For more information about synthetic hormones, please read our article ‘Bioidentical Vs Synthetic’.  

Bioidentical hormone balancing treatment

Bioidentical hormone balancing treatment can be easy and life-changing. And when precise dosages and versatile administration methods matter for your well-being, compounding pharmacies are a valuable solution. 

If you suspect you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance and are looking for customised high-quality treatment, get in touch today.

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