Will hormone replacement help with mood swings, depression and mental clarity?
Hormone imbalances are a huge cause of depression and emotional instability. They can also cause the brain to be a little fuzzy. This is especially seen during peri-menopause, menopause and andropause. Hormone replacement effectively resolves these problems. Unfortunately many of these patients fall through the cracks and are treated with anti-depressants, anxiety medication or sleeping pills – and remain undiagnosed.
Does Hormone Replacement cause cancer in women?
There has been much controversy over whether or not estrogen replacement causes cancer of the breast or endometrium in the uterus. A lot of this was generated from an poorly designed study in 1991 called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) from which many false conclusions were reached – later dispelled and discredited. Some studies even suggest that hormone therapy actually reduces the risk of cancer. We know that if the estrogen is balanced with progesterone and estriol then there is no evidence that this hormone therapy causes cancer. The real risk concern is with women who have had breast cancer in the past or have a mother who had breast cancer. These women are also being treated by many physicians if active cancer is ruled out and maybe BRCA gene testing is performs on appropriate patients.
I have migraines associated with my menstrual cycle, will hormones help?
The majority of migraines in women associated with menstrual cycles can be eliminated with hormone therapy, especially with progesterone. Menstrual migraines usually or the result of inadequate progesterone levels – which is also the cause in most women for PMS.
What are the side effects of hormone replacement?
Side-effects are often minimal and due to unbalanced levels in the body – usually as a result of not yet nailing the dose needed for a given patient. Breast tenderness, water retention, acne, irritability and elevated pulse are among the side effects that can occur as the proper dose of hormones is being ‘worked out’.
How are the hormones used – in what form?
Hormones are self-administered once or twice a day using creams (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone), vaginally (estrogen), oral capsules (DHEA, thyroid, progesterone) or via small injections just under the skin (testosterone). There are several ways to administer the same hormone – we customize this for each patient.
How long until I see results using hormones replacement therapy?
Everyone responds differently. You can see results in as early as two weeks, especially with thyroid replacement. Most people, however, notice a change within the first two or three months. Sometimes it can take as long as six months – remember that it took a while to get to this bad place. You will notice changes in energy and sleep patterns – brain function improves and sex drive ramps up.
If I have a hormonal deficiency, will I need to take hormones for the rest of my life?
Usually, but not always. In situations where the hormone imbalance is caused by excessive stress or illness, hormones may return to ‘normal’ once these conditions are resolved . In general, once your hormones start to decline with age, it is unlikely that they will ‘spring back’. Most people will need to continue treatment indefinitely as long as they want to feel better and enjoy the long term health benefits of hormonal therapy.
My sex drive is low, could it be my hormones?
Yes, estrogen and testosterone serve to fuel your sex drive. Too much or too little of either these important hormones can cause a decrease in sex drive or performance issues. Low thyroid, chronic stress, and poor sleep also can cause your sex drive to take a hit.
When should I consider bioidentical hormone therapy?
The optimal age for treatment varies from person to person. Our hormonal peak coincides with our physical peak. Our natural hormones generally begin to decline after your mid-20s and symptoms start to appear by our mid-30s. Hormone replacement therapy usually starts in the late 30s. If one has symptoms of a hormone imbalance, it is best to get started and not wait.
Who needs bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?
All of the various hormone deficiencies manifest with classic symptoms that point to the problem. These symptoms are frequently missed by physicians untrained in hormone optimization. These symptoms include fatigue, depression, hair loss, weight gain, muscle atrophy, low energy levels, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety. Hormone problems can also be anticipated when certain benchmarks such as andropause and menopause have been reached. Sometimes patients can have multiple hormone problems making the problem very complex to untangle.
Integrative medicine physicians then use special lab tests to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment. Treament will usually also involve changes in lifestyle and addressing environmental issues.
Where do the hormones come from? How are they made?
Bioidentical testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are derived from soy or yams. The extracted parent substance is then modified to produce hormones that are exact copies of the hormones in our body.
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, a bio-identical hormone ‘fits’ into a cell just like a key in a lock. Synthetic hormones aren’t exact copies and have a ‘sloppy fit’, causing several adverse side effects – some of them serious. Synthetic hormones used by many internist, family practice physicians and OB/Gyn docs are really hormone ‘imposters’.
Bio-identical hormones are provided by compounding pharmacies which allow for customized individual dosing as opposed to the few limited dose selections offered by pharmaceutical company products – a decision driven more by economics and revenue verses what’s best for the patient.