Big pharmaceuticals companies make billions of dollars each year, offering synthetic hormone replacement therapies. (1) Hormone therapy (HT) is recommended to help boost low hormone levels in the body when they drop, compared to normal levels. Hormonal imbalances can cause everything from cardiovascular disease to painful menopausal symptoms.
Yet when you need HT to manage painful symptoms, you’re told only to use big pharma brands. Other options, such as natural bioidentical hormones from compounded pharmaceuticals, are touted as too risky. The truth is that there’s a lot that big pharma doesn’t want you to know about managing your hormones from home.
Most of the time, men and women believe that you need a prescription to find hormonal relief. Big pharmaceutical companies only want their FDA-approved hormones to reach consumers. However, you can purchase safe and effective hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA over-the-counter or online without a prescription.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) comes in many forms, from estrogen creams to tablets. When you invest in a trusted brand, you can be reassured of high-quality and the same results as products sold by big pharma.
All HT comes with some risk, and it's essential to speak to your doctor about your specific treatment plan. However, you do have other more affordable choices than rich pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.
Big pharma companies use synthetic hormones in their products. Synthetic hormones come from pregnant mares' urine and contain a blend of estrogens, steroids, and other different compounds. (2) Bioidentical hormones mimic the natural hormones produced in your body and can come custom-mixed from a compounding pharmacy. The synthetic hormones sold by big pharma are FDA-approved, and some bioidentical hormones don't have the official seal of approval.
Yet bioidentical hormones may not be drugs because the compounds mimic what your body produces each day. Big pharma companies spend billions of dollars in research and development of their products, yet synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones have similar effects on the body. The question of which ones are safer is something you should ask your doctor.
Pharmaceutical companies are in it for the profits— like any company. Except, in this case, they may profit off of your health. On the one hand, it can cost billions to bring a drug to the market, and on the other hand, this narrows the choices for some struggling with a hormonal imbalance. (3) It's also well-known that some big pharma companies charge exorbitant prices for some drugs, making them unreachable for some consumers.
Bioidentical hormones come custom mixed for your body. Big pharma can't put a patent on that, making profits much smaller. (4) Hormone therapy, regardless of where you get it from, comes with some possible side effects. But big pharma has the resources only to push their products and claim that cheaper and possibly more effective alternatives are not safe. When this happens, people struggling with high estrogen or low progesterone may have a limited choice or not get the treatment they deserve and can afford.
Both men and women can have hormonal imbalances, and bioidentical hormones can alleviate symptoms. Hormones naturally decrease as people age, but due to certain health conditions can plummet unexpectedly—one of those times in menopause for women.
For years, HT with estrogen and progesterone was a conventional treatment. Then the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) published a study showing that women undergoing HT had a higher risk of developing cancer, strokes, and blood clots. At that point, HT became a hotly contested treatment for women.
However, women still suffered from hot flashes, vaginal atrophy (dryness), weight gain, mood swings, and more. Then an additional review of the study found that the increased risk primarily affected women well past menopause in their 60s and 70s. The misinformation and controversy made bioidentical hormones a valuable option because doctors stopped prescribing synthetic HT to women as often. In stepped bioidentical hormones, as an alternative that works, and while there's always a risk, it may not be as risky as big pharma wants you to believe.
Many men and women do manage their hormones at home with guidance from their doctors. Big pharma companies want to be the controllers of your health care by making huge profits off of your well being. While prescription drugs and FDA approval is necessary for safety, not every option needs a patent— speak to your doctor about how to manage your hormones together.