The Cost And Effectiveness Of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical replacement hormone therapy is a recent advance in medicine that is used to increase hormone levels that have dropped due to age and illness. This method of hormone replacement came about as a means of avoiding the risks associated with the older forms of hormone replacement therapy. Some of the risks associated with the older synthetic hormones are an increased occurrence of cancer, blood clotting, or stroke. The newer bioidentical hormone replacements are believed to have fewer risks associated with them than the synthetic versions, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this belief. Read on to learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement, its costs, and potential effectiveness.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Hormone replacement therapy is a process utilized to replace hormones that have become depleted within the body. Natural, or bioidentical, hormone replacement therapy utilizes hormone compounds that are believed to be identical to natural human hormones at the molecular level. The most commonly cited usage of this therapy is for estrogen replacement in older women who have gone through menopause. However, hormone replacement therapy has also been used for treating male testosterone deficiency for quite some time.
The methods used to replace hormone are varied. The method of administration can come in the form of pellets injected into the skin, rub-on creams, liquids, patches, and pills.
How Effective is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The effectiveness of this type of treatment seems to vary greatly from one person to another. There are clear indicators that bioidentical hormone replacement can help with the hot flashes, sleeplessness, and vaginal dryness associated with menopause. However, there is no conclusive evidence that they produce any greater effect or that they have less risks inherently associated with them. The newer compounds used in these treatments are still being tested and some must be taken if another type of hormone is prescribed. For instance, if a woman who takes bioidentical estrogen still has a uterus the FDA requires that they also take an FDA approved progestin. This is necessary in order to reduce the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Men, and some women, are given testosterone replacement therapy. The long term effects are slightly better understood in men. The replacement therapy has been in use for men over the course of the last few decades. There are clear signs that testosterone replacement will help an older man lose some weight and gain lean muscle mass. There is even anecdotal evidence that erections will become more prominent. However, there is no conclusive evidence that testosterone replacement will treat actual erectile dysfunction.
There have been prostate cancer and cardiovascular health scares in the past regarding testosterone replacement in men. However, studies indicate that higher levels of testosterone can actually lower these concerns. Blood clotting can still occur, so this treatment must be taken under doctoral supervision.
How Much Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Cost?
The cost of hormone replacement therapy typically costs between $10 and $85 per month. Some insurance companies will not cover replacement therapy due to the fact that lower hormone levels occur naturally as people age. Those companies that due cover replacement therapy typically provide copay that ranges between $5 and $30 each month. High-grade brand name hormone replacements can be more expensive at around $100 - $150.
Overall, the hormone replacement therapy provided by modern medicine is best used to lessen symptoms brought about by hormone depletion. In many cases simple lifestyle changes such as improving your diet and undertaking a more rigorous exercise program will increase hormone levels. Always consult a physician for more information before taking any form of hormone replacement, including over-the-counter products designed for this purpose.