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What is a synthetic hormone and how is it different to a bio-identical hormone?

Synthetic refers to the structure of the hormone, which is not similar to the human body’s hormones and has the potential to cause unwanted side effects. Most people would be familiar with the brand name Premarin, but are unaware it derives its name from pregnancy mare’s urine.

Once scientists had the ability to isolate progesterone and oestrogen and determine their chemical structure, they explored their possible side effects, hoping that the hormone treatments would be effective for gynaecological disorders. Both doctors and drug manufacturers saw hormone research as having the potential to cure a wide range of medical conditions and an industry was born.

Ron Loftus, General Manager at Australian Menopause Centre says “Bio-identical hormones are only controversial in the minds of the pro – synthetic hormone lobbyists made up of academics and certain media personalities who usually derive funding from the large pharmaceutical companies that continue to produce synthetic formulations and who inevitably cry foul every time a new study finds these products to be dangerous”.

Bio-identical hormones are also commonly referred to as body-identical hormones.

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