Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is the use of supplemental doses of hormones such as specific forms of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that have a chemical structure identical to the hormones that the human body naturally produces.

The use of this customized hormone therapy versus traditional synthetic therapy has sparked intense debate. Recent "Oprah" and "Dr. Phil" shows have been dedicated to informing women that BHRT is an option if they are concerned about or have had problems using synthetic non-bio-identical hormones.

Compounding pharmacies prepare customized dosage forms using the same pure chemicals that drug companies use to manufacture some commercially available products. However, the commercially available form of estrogen, which is most commonly prescribed for menopausal women, is non-bio-identical "conjugated equine estrogens" (CEE), a product obtained from pregnant mares' urine. Conjugated estrogens contain many forms of estrogen which are natural to horses, but most are not produced by humans. Women who receive estrogen therapy are also prescribed progesterone or a synthetic progestin known as medroxyprogesterone acetate, that protects the uterus but lacks many of the other benefits of natural progesterone.

A January 2009 review in Postgraduate Medicine concluded, "Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bio-identical hormones are associated with lower risks, including risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts."

For more information about Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, visit