When women are given hormone replacement therapy to help with the side effects of menopause, synthetic hormones are prescribed. Synthetic hormones are plant-derived hormones that act exactly like those produced naturally by the body. Synthetic hormones can have some benefits over other types of hormones that are commonly prescribed to women. A doctor can determine which kind of hormone will work best for the individual.

While taking replacement hormones, there are generally two different types of hormones available. There are both natural hormones and synthetic hormones. The synthetic and natural hormones work pretty much the same way, but are a little different in chemical make up.

Natural Hormones

Natural hormones are chemically identical to those hormones that the body produces. Natural hormones are also sometimes called bioidentical hormones. A synthetic hormone has a different chemical structure than natural hormones. Each type of hormone is recognized in the body and will result in a slightly different reaction.

When referring to the hormones that are typically given to a woman to lessen the symptoms of menopause, usually synthetic hormones are given. Neither synthetic or natural hormones are really better than the other since both natural and synthetic work much the same way.

In addition, the term natural hormones can refer to the bioidentical hormones or the term can also apply to natural or alternative remedies, such as using supplements or herbs. When you are deciding with your doctor about which type of prescription you will use, it is important to make the differentiation between the types of natural hormones.

Synthetic Hormones

Synthetic hormones, also called progestins are defined as hormones given to both men and women to treat hormonal imbalances. These are commonly given during the menopause years. Taking synthetic hormones does offer some benefits even outside of menopause over other methods.

For example, taking a prescription of synthetic hormones can help regulate the menstrual cycle by causing the lining in the uterus to shed more easily. Also, taking synthetic hormones can increase the amount of progesterone levels in the body.

This can help women who have difficulty sustaining a fetus to full term pregnancy. For menopausal women, taking prescription synthetic hormones can prevent estrogen from thickening in the lining of the uterus. This thickening is known to cause endometrial cancer to menopausal women.

When looking at the different options for taking synthetic hormones for the side effects of menopause, there are several brand names that are often prescribed. Premarin, Provera, Prempro, Prempahse and Cycrin are all common prescriptions. In addition, while synthetic hormones are generally well tolerated by most women, some women do experience side effects from taking synthetic prescription.

These can include increased risk of cardiovascular complications, increased risks of thickening of the uterus, which can lead to uterine cancer. Also, as with most drugs that help alleviate the symptoms of menopause, there is an increased risk of some forms of breast cancer. Taking synthetic hormones can also increase blood clots, restlessness or insomnia, irregular bleeding, depression, breast tenderness, growth of facial hair and fluid retention.

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