Editor's note: This is the last in a three-part series on menopausal hormones.
Put simply, bioidentical is a marketing term, first introduced into contemporary parlance by celebrities endorsing products.
The medical community has embraced this hormone adjective of necessity, owing to its popular cachet. Bioidentical means that hormones, for example estrogen and progesterone, are chemically synthesized; yes, man-made from plant sources, such that they are identical to those produced naturally in our bodies. From there, the plot in this Byzantine field thickens.
For starters, there is much confusion about compounded or so called formulated hormones. These are mixed by hand in batches by formulating pharmacists from the same plant-derived hormones used by pharmaceutical companies to produce bioidentical hormone products.