We tend to take our hormone balance for granted – until the balance shifts. When hormonal levels start to decline, we can experience symptoms such as low libido, depression, weight gain, and foggy thinking. In other words, we start to feel older than we want to feel!
What’s to blame? Simply put, it’s an unfortunate fact that hormonal levels do decline with age. Levels can also be affected by stress and environmental factors. As a result, even our best intentions to maintain a youthful attitude can be frustrated by declining hormones,
So, what’s the solution? Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a safe and effective way to address hormonal changes. Read on to see the answers to some common questions about BHRT.
What exactly is BHRT?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy uses plants to create hormones that mirror those that occur naturally in our bodies, replenishing our hormone levels. When done properly, happy hormones can lead to better sex, better skin, more restful sleep, less anxiety and less tummy fat among many more benefits.
Because they’re derived from plants, these hormonal helpers offer a more natural form of symptom relief than traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). BHRT is an umbrella term that can refer to therapy that restores levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and pregnenolone.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance?
Low levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone can impact our bodies in a multitude of ways. That’s why many people feel “older” and lose their spark and vigor when their hormone levels drop. It also means that BHRT can greatly benefit people who are experiencing:
- Weight gain, especially if fat is collecting around the belly
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Low libido
- Loss of muscle tone
- Memory loss and “foggy thinking”
- Vaginal dryness
- Erection difficulties
Anyone who’s experienced these symptoms knows they can have a big impact on quality of life. Plus, many of those ailments are hard to talk about, and it’s often difficult to know if they’re the result of “normal” aging or signs of bigger problems.
It’s important for women to note that these symptoms aren’t solely associated with menopause. Many other causes, including stress, can lead to hormonal declines. That means BHRT can help people at almost any stage of life.
The Different Types Of BHRT
BHRT can be delivered to the body several ways, including:
Progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA can be delivered to the body through a tiny application of a lotion or cream. It is important for the cream to be accurately tailored to your needs with the right dosage, as hormones will fluctuate with application.
Applying a cream is obviously a fast and non-invasive method of treatment. However, one risk of creams is that they can sometimes “transfer” to others. For example, if a cream was applied to your arm and a pet licked your arm, that pet receives an unwanted hormonal dose! Similarly, some people put cream on their bums (because the fat absorbs hormones well), but doing so can make it possible for hormones to be transferred through toilet seats.
Injections such as testosterone shots can be delivered by a healthcare provider, or some people learn how to inject themselves. Of course, not everyone likes giving themselves a shot! And the injection itself carries some risks if not done properly.
It is important to use a high quality compounded bioidentical hormone as, all too often, synthetic hormones and cottonseed oil are used in lower quality products. A qualified practitioner will also know through testing what your body’s needs are, avoiding major hormone fluctuations.
Taking a pill on a regular basis is another fairly easy way to receive hormones. However, some people have difficulties remembering to stick to their dosage schedule, and others are reluctant to add another pill to their medical regimes.
BHRT pellets are tiny capsules of hormones that are embedded under your skin, usually in the fat around your hips, which deliver the hormone (often estrogen or testosterone) in a manner that closely mimics an ovary or testicle – continuous and pulsatile based on the body’s natural blood flow.
Insertion of a hormone pellet is actually much less invasive than it might sound. The pellets are a bit bigger than a grain of rice, and insertion is a quick process that doesn’t require stitches.
Because pellets release hormones gradually, they’re a good way to avoid the hormonal roller coaster that other methods can cause. Instead of a sudden surge of hormones after a pill or shot, your body will experience a slow, steady release. Your body chemistry determines the rate at which the hormones are absorbed, but the pellets usually dissolve naturally in about three to six months.
Is Hormone Replacement Only For Women?
Not at all! Men can experience many benefits from Biological Hormone Replacement. Although the hormonal shifts that women experience with age often seem to get the spotlight, men can also undergo hormonal changes. And men often have a harder time connecting the dots to a cause.
As men get older, their testosterone levels drop. The result? Erectile difficulties, depression, weight gain, less interest in sex, and trouble sleeping, to name just a few possible consequences.
Testosterone pellets offer a pain-free method of relieving these often embarrassing symptoms. Unlike testosterone injections, the pellets deliver a tailored dose of testosterone slowly, more closely mirroring the body’s natural process.
I Have Heard Taking Hormone Replacements Is Not Safe. Why Is Bioidentical Therapy Safer?
BHRT hormones are made from plant estrogens. They’re identical to the hormones your body produces naturally. You may have heard of the risks associated with older types of hormone replacement therapy, including estrogen treatments originating from the urine of pregnant horses, which received negative attention in the media over a decade ago.
However, further research and improvements to hormonal replacement therapies have lead to changes. In fact, hormone therapy can now reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease by up to 30 percent.
That said, because maintaining hormonal balance is a delicate process that can affect many aspects of our health, it’s always important to have close medical supervision with any type of hormonal therapy. A healthcare practitioner can educate you on possible risk and monitor you for any adverse effects.
And, no matter how tempting the ads may be, avoid all online hormonal replacements. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in regulations have lead to unsafe practices. And you want to focus on the treatments and delivery methods that work for you.
If you’d like to learn more about BHRT in order to determine if it’s a good choice for you, give us a call to book your free consultation at one of our three Florida clinic locations in Ocala, Oxford and Daytona. The exciting advances in health optimization and regenerative medicine make BHRT an excellent option for many people dealing with the effects of changing hormones.
You deserve to start feeling amazing again!
Larry Siegel, NP – YM
Larry Siegel is an ARNP and certified SottoPelle practitioner who offers his services at several clinics in the greater Ocala, Daytona Beach, and Villages area of Florida. He founded YM in 2016 in order to create a clinic that offered only the highest quality of ongoing care and anti-aging therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement, and mpre) outside the rigid standards of traditional medicine.