Bioidentical Hormone Testing and Therapy for both Men & Women
Many women and health experts continue to struggle with the turnaround in attitude toward hormone therapy in the wake of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial of combined estrogen and progestin (as Prempro) for preventing later-life ills. The trial was stopped early, in 2002, because hormone users had a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Though the added risks were small, many women and their clinicians concluded they must discontinue hormone therapy. Many of these women found that hot flashes, sleeplessness, and other menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance.Hormone therapy is still considered the most effective treatment for symptoms. But women are not rushing back. One concern of health experts is that women are turning to alternatives they think are safer — but may not be.
Even before the WHI results came in, many women were looking for something different to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Some women disliked the side effects of hormone therapy, such as breast tenderness or bleeding. Others worried about estrogen’s link with breast cancer. Still others were opposed to taking drugs for symptoms because doing so implies that menopause is a disease rather than a normal life passage. Some women objected to the use of pregnant mares’ urine — the source of estrogen in oral conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), the only estrogen tested in the WHI trial.
DNA offers both salivary and blood hormone testing. Testing is done in great detail and looks at the whole balance of the hormone system.
Treatment with transdermal creams, oral preparations, sublingual, and injections. Offer full hour consult and history with exam
What is the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones?
The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is dual fold. Unlike bioidentical hormones, synthetic hormones may be patented by pharmaceutical companies; therefore dosage varies only by milligrams dictated by your doctor, while the molecular structure of the prescribed hormone is the same for every single person on that drug. Additionally, synthetic hormones are not created structurally the same as human endogenous hormones, which often leads uncomfortable side effects. While synthetic hormones can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones on certain biological pathways, they rarely offer the same effectiveness at a deeper, molecular level.
Bioidentical hormones mimic the affinity of human endogenous hormones; therefore they are effective on more biological pathways, at all levels. Because bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of endogenous hormones side effects are rarely observed, and in the event you do experience side effects, talk with your doctor – the dosage may simply need to be adjusted. The added benefit of bioidentical hormones is that each dose is tailored specifically for your needs, not simply what doses the pharmaceutical company offers (as is the case with synthetic hormones.)
When should I consider bioidentical hormone therapy?
In general, your body’s natural hormones begin to decline after your mid-20s and hormone imbalance symptoms are frequently present by your mid-30s. Men and women often start replacing hormones between the age of 35 and 40. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, it is best not to wait.
Are bioidentical hormones approved and regulated by the FDA?
Many people are under the misconception that bioidentical hormones are not FDA-approved. This is simply not the case. The hormones derived from plant sources, such as soy and yams, which are approved by the FDA, however the methods of delivery and custom doses are not.
Bioidentical hormones may be delivered in the form of creams, patches, pills, gels, pellets of vaginal rings. Bioidentical hormones are designed in a lab and shipped to a compounding pharmacy where they are custom designed to fit the needs of each patient. Synthetic hormones are created in specific, patented doses and delivery methods (not customized), therefore regulation is possible.
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, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body and bioidentical hormones match your body’s hormones molecule by molecule.
Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormone(s) your body needs, your BodyLogicMD affiliated physician may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, DHEA, melatonin or others as needed.
Who needs bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?
The only way to know if you need bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is through specific laboratory testing. There are specific lab panels available to determine if your hormones are imbalanced.
Signs and symptoms of imbalance may include, but are not limited to fatigue, depression, hair loss, weight gain, muscle atrophy, low energy levels, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety. In many cases, hormone imbalances can occur with expected changes in the lifespan, such as menopause and andropause.
Following lab testing, a trained physician will review your results to determine if BHRT is necessary for you. In some cases, BHRT may not be necessary; however lifestyle and environmental factors may change this need over time, so routine testing, along with a preventive health lifestyle is recommended to keep hormones balanced and maintain optimal health.
My sex drive is low, could it be my hormones?
Yes, estrogen and testosterone work in a perfect balance to fuel your sex drive. Too much or too little of either these hormones can cause a decrease in sex drive or cause performance issues. In some cases, increased levels of cortisol, classically secreted due to chronic stress, can negatively impact the sex hormones and impair your libido.
How long until I see results using bioidentical hormones?
Most patients begin feeling better within a few months of beginning the program, but some results may take a bit longer to achieve. You may begin to feel a difference within a matter of weeks, especially when it comes to sleep patterns and energy levels. Every patient has a different experience, but the end result is the same – a healthier, balanced life.
Changes like these take time to evolve. Remember, it took some time for you to lose balance of your hormones, so it will take your body some time to recover. Consistency and compliance every step of the way will improve your results.
Why do men need testosterone replacement?
As men age, production of the hormone testosterone begins to decline and they experience symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining mental focus, energy, metabolism, muscle mass, fat levels, and sex drive. By balancing a man’s hormones with bioidentical hormone therapy, men can restore their vitality and reduce the symptoms of andropause.
Why do women need hormones before, during and after menopause?
Hormones affect a multitude of pathways in the body. Women may experience fluctuations in their hormone levels throughout the lifespan. Imbalances can occur due lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as expected changes, such as pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Imbalances of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression and anxiety. The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is estrogen. When estrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido and bone loss. The bone loss that women experience due to declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Adjustments to a woman’s hormone levels through BHRT and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate these discomforts and improve overall health and well-being.
Why don’t traditional doctors prescribe bioidentical hormones?
Traditional doctors do not usually have the time or the resources to seek expertise in bioidentical hormones.
What are the ingredients of bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants, such as soy or wild yams, and are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. Additional ingredients in each prescription vary by hormone – testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. and form- creams, gels, pellets, pills, etc.
Your pharmacy may be able to provide with an ingredient list for your specific medication.
Where can I review studies that discuss the efficacy of BHRT?
The information on the page below offers research information about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and provides links to several research abstracts: Hormone Therapy Research
Do I need a prescription for bioidentical hormone therapy?
Yes. Bioidentical hormones are compounded prescription drugs that are produced in a specialized pharmacy. Each prescription is hand made from the highest quality ingredients and made by pharmacists that specialize in formulating drugs. Since every patient is unique, the strength or the dosage form needs to be specially made to fit the individual.
Will my weight change from bioidentical hormone therapy?
Hormones are like stop-lights. When they are balanced the light is green and you will get the optimum results from your nutrition and fitness programs. When they are imbalanced the light is red making it, in many cases, difficult to lose and easy to gain weight.
Hormones are chemical messengers that cause the body to make changes affecting weight gain or weight loss. Changes in hormone levels are also dependant on the lifestyle we lead and can affect our mood, metabolism, and energy levels.
For example, when males become less active there is often a gradual decline in testosterone. This hormone is known to boost metabolism and has the benefit of helping lower fat levels. Thus, when testosterone is balanced a man’s ideal weight is easier to achieve.