When women reach their 40's, hormone levels often go out of balance or decrease to the extent that it causes symptoms. Sometimes these may be very non-specific eg loss of energy, difficulty with sleeping etc. When hormone levels have dropped to significant levels ie nearing menopause, the symptoms of flushes, irritability, loss of libido, dryness in the vagina, sagging skin, become more pronounced. The knowledgeable ones will seek treatment early. The problem is that mainstream gynaecologists will be loath to prescibe hormones too early, many women will refuse hormones because of fear of braest cancer, so women suffer and the loss of the bodies natural hormones leads eventually to bone loss, osteoporosis, heart problems, depression as well as non health related problems such as marriage and family problems, problems at work.
The initial studies that showed an increase risk of breast cancer were with synthetic hormones and therefore could be criticised. Bio-identical hormones (BHRT) use hormones that are identical to the bodies natural hormones whereas synthetic hormones (HRT) were similar in chemical structure and in some cases derived from urine. BHRT is usually prescribed in the form of creams. The advantages of BHRT are that they then bypass the liver and are therefore not converted by the liver into other substances. The doses used are also much lower and tailored to the the individual so that hormone levels are raised and maintained usually to that of a woman in her 30s/ 40s. The hormones are not raised to dangerously high levels. BHRT can even be started in women well before their own hormone levels start falling, thereby maintaining their youth.