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Definitions of common hormone health terms: Part I

When shopping for hormones or considering hormone replacement therapy, there are a few things that one has to watch out for, mainly, what do certain terms mean, so that you can correctly identify what it is exactly that you need. Hormone replacement therapy is for everyone, whether you are a man or a woman. But we don’t always know the difference between how one hormone is made as compared to another. We hear terms like “natural” and “synthetic” and we wonder what we are really getting out of our treatments and if it is really beneficial or if it is harmful. What do we trust to be our guideline? Sometimes there’s no easy way to know something until we try it ourselves, but here are some basic definitions that you can carry with you wherever you go when faced with decisions that may change your life. With some clarification, hopefully you’ll be able to make wise decisions based on what you learn.

Whenever “natural” is used, it means the substance is existing or is derived from nature. The substance is not made, caused by, or processed by human hands in any way, shape, or form. This can sometimes be misleading because when used in the context of hormone replacement therapy, it may seem that the hormone is naturally occurring and not changed by humankind in any way such as topical creams, sublingual tablets, capsules, and other health products. However, the reality is that natural hormones can be derived from sources like in the case of estrogens that are derived from pregnant mare’s urine which are found in Premarin Tablets. On the other side of the spectrum is the use of the word “synthetic.” This means the substance was made by chemical synthesis, usually to imitate that of its natural counterpart. “Synthetic” is usually used in hormone replacement products that contain hormone ingredients that are not found in human tissues. Progestins and estrogen analogs are examples.

Then you have terms like “biological” and “identical.” The first one, “biological,” simply means the substance relates to biology or living organisms. “Identical” means exactly alike or the same, which is what you would expect anyway, but these terms come in handy when you look at bio identical hormone replacement therapy. With definitions you can count on, hopefully things will be clear up when you look into the right supplements and treatments that you need to get your body feeling like itself again.

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