Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Optimizing Hormonal Health: Understanding Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Hormones serve as chemical messengers in the body, regulating a wide range of physiological processes, including growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, and stress response. From estrogen and progesterone to testosterone and thyroid hormones, these intricate signaling molecules orchestrate countless functions within the body, ensuring its proper functioning and equilibrium.

When hormones are in balance, we experience optimal health and vitality. However, factors such as aging, stress, dietary choices, medications, and environmental toxins can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to hormonal imbalances and a host of symptoms. From fatigue and weight gain to mood swings and reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances can significantly impact our quality of life and overall well-being.

Bioidentical hormone therapy offers a natural approach to restoring hormonal balance and optimizing health and vitality. Unlike synthetic hormones, which are different in structure derived  from the body's natural hormones, bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to the hormones produced by the human body.

Starting materials are derived from natural sources and then bioidentical hormones are compounded to match the individual's unique hormonal needs. This personalized approach allows for targeted hormone replacement therapy that closely mimics the body's natural hormone levels, helping to alleviate symptoms and restore hormonal balance without the same side effect potential associated with synthetic hormones.

Understanding Hormonal Imbalance

Common Hormonal Imbalances

Estrogen Dominance: Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an excess of estrogen relative to other hormones, such as progesterone or testosterone. This imbalance can result from factors such as stress, environmental toxins, or hormone-disrupting chemicals such as xenoestrogens in foods, water, and skin care products. Symptoms of estrogen dominance may include irregular menstrual cycles, breast tenderness, mood swings, weight gain, and decreased libido.

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones, leading to a sluggish metabolism and a range of symptoms. Common signs of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, and depression.

Hyperthyroidism: In contrast, hyperthyroidism involves an overproduction of thyroid hormones, resulting in an overactive metabolism and symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating, tremors, anxiety, and irritability.

Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance occurs when cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This imbalance is often associated with conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may include fatigue, increased hunger, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight.

Adrenal Insifficnecy: Adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient levels of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include chronic fatigue, low energy, difficulty handling stress, brain fog, and cravings for salty or sugary foods.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

The symptoms of hormonal imbalance can vary widely depending on the specific hormones involved and the severity of the imbalance. However, common symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Changes in appetite or cravings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive issues such as bloating or constipation
  • Irregular menstrual cycles or changes in libido
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Skin problems such as acne or dryness

What is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?

Bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT) offers a natural approach to restoring hormonal balance and alleviating symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Unlike synthetic hormones, which are chemically distinct from the hormones produced by the human body, bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to the hormones naturally found in our bodies. In this section, we'll delve into the definition of bioidentical hormones, how they differ from synthetic hormones, and explore the benefits and potential risks associated with bioidentical hormone therapy.

Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources and compounded to match the molecular structure of hormones produced by the human body. This molecular similarity allows bioidentical hormones to interact with the body's hormone receptors in the same way as naturally occurring hormones, providing targeted symptom relief and restoring hormonal balance.

While synthetic hormones can also alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalance, they may not be metabolized as efficiently by the body and may carry a higher risk of side effects. Bioidentical hormones offer a more natural and personalized approach to hormone replacement therapy, with a reduced risk of adverse effects.

Benefits of BHT

Targeted Symptom Relief: Bioidentical hormone therapy can provide targeted relief for specific symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as hot flashes, mood swings, or low libido.   

Personalized Treatment: Bioidentical hormone therapy allows for personalized treatment plans tailored to individual hormone levels and symptoms, optimizing efficacy and minimizing side effects.

Natural Approach: Bioidentical hormones closely mimic the body's natural hormones, offering a more natural and holistic approach to hormone replacement therapy.

Personalized Approach

One of the key advantages of bioidentical hormone therapy is its personalized approach to treatment. Unlike synthetic hormones, which are available in standardized formulations, bioidentical hormones are compounded to match each individual's unique hormonal needs. This allows healthcare providers to tailor treatment plans to specific hormone levels and symptoms, optimizing efficacy and minimizing side effects.

By conducting comprehensive hormone testing and evaluating each patient's medical history and symptoms, healthcare providers can identify hormonal imbalances and develop personalized treatment plans using bioidentical hormones. This individualized approach allows for targeted symptom relief and may improve overall treatment outcomes.

Conditions Treated with Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Menopause Symptoms   

Menopause is a natural phase of life that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. During this transition, hormonal fluctuations can lead to a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances. Bioidentical hormone therapy can help alleviate these symptoms by restoring hormone levels to optimal levels, providing relief and improving overall quality of life for menopausal women.

Hormone-Related Mood Disorders

Hormonal imbalances can significantly impact mood and emotional well-being, leading to conditions such as depression, anxiety, and irritability. Bioidentical hormone therapy can help rebalance hormones and alleviate symptoms of mood disorders by restoring proper hormone levels. By addressing the underlying hormonal imbalance, BHT can provide relief from mood swings, anxiety, and other emotional symptoms, allowing individuals to experience improved mental health and emotional stability.

Thyroid Imbalances

The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, energy levels, and overall well-being. Thyroid imbalances, such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weight changes, mood changes, and temperature sensitivity. Bioidentical hormone therapy can help restore thyroid hormone levels and alleviate symptoms of thyroid imbalances, improving energy levels, metabolism, and overall health.

Perimenopause and PMS

Perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are characterized by hormonal fluctuations that can cause a range of symptoms, including mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, and irritability. Bioidentical hormone therapy such as progesterone can help regulate hormonal fluctuations and alleviate symptoms associated with perimenopause and PMS, allowing individuals to navigate these transitional phases with greater ease and comfort.

Other Conditions

In addition to the conditions mentioned above, bioidentical hormone therapy may also be beneficial for addressing other hormone-related issues, such as adrenal fatigue, low testosterone levels in men, and hormonal imbalances associated with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

The Process of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Consultation and Evaluation

The first step in bioidentical hormone therapy is a thorough consultation with a qualified healthcare provider experienced in hormone management, such as Dr. Mark Stengler or Dr. Angela Stengler. During this consultation, the healthcare provider will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and perform any necessary hormone testing to assess your hormone levels and identify any imbalances.

Hormone Testing

Hormone testing may involve blood tests, saliva tests, or urine tests to measure hormone levels accurately. These tests can provide valuable insight into your hormone levels and help guide treatment decisions. Hormone testing may include assessments of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, and other relevant hormones based on your symptoms and medical history.

Treatment Plan Development

Based on the results of hormone testing and your individual symptoms and goals, your healthcare provider will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique hormone levels and needs. This treatment plan may involve the use of bioidentical hormones, lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and other supportive therapies to restore hormonal balance and alleviate symptoms.

Bioidentical Hormone Administration

Bioidentical hormones are typically administered in various forms, including creams, gels, patches, injections, or oral capsules. These hormones are compounded to match the molecular structure of the hormones naturally produced by your body, allowing for optimal absorption and utilization. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate form and dosage of bioidentical hormones based on your individual needs and preferences.

Hormone Monitoring

Once treatment begins, regular hormone monitoring is essential to ensure that hormone levels are maintained within the optimal range and that treatment is effective. Hormone levels may be retested periodically to assess response to treatment and make any necessary adjustments to dosage or treatment approach.

Ongoing Support and Follow-Up

Throughout the course of bioidentical hormone therapy, your healthcare provider will provide ongoing support and guidance to help you achieve optimal hormone balance and symptom relief. This may include regular follow-up appointments, lifestyle recommendations, and adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at and his product line at