Bio Identical Hormone Therapy
As the majority of the population is entering into the “middle age” bracket, there has been an increase in the interest in regenerative medicine and bioidentical hormones. On a day to day basis, new studies are showing that the hormone paradigm has in fact swung back to the fact that hormones are beneficial for nearly every bodily function and prevent the degeneration of the mind and body. Celebrities, such as Suzanne Somers, have been more vocal about their own experience with regenerative medicine, and have even published books and appeared on television shows to share their experience with Bioidentical hormone therapy. While this exposure has done wonders to increase public awareness, it has also resulted in many practitioners with little or no background in this practice prescribing these hormones simply because their patients requested them. Let me be more clear about what we know about bioidentical hormones: physiologic doses of bioidentical hormones are good for you, when prescribed and monitered by individuals trained and certified in the practice of using bioidentical hormones, and when combined with lifestyle and nutritional modifications which ensure optimal hormone metabolism.
Balancing hormones is a science as well as an art. Basic medical school classes in Internal Medicine, Ob-gyn and Endocrinology do not deal with the extensive knowledge base that is required in the field of regenerative medicine. One must be familiar with not only ordering the precise tests needed, but also interpreting lab tests and knowing the various ranges for optimal levels, rather than “normal”. No two people are identical, and lab tests can be extremely variable based on environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors which contribute to symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, mood and libido changes, and memory issues.
Environmental factors such as stress, improper diet, environmental toxins and sedentary lifestyle can contribute to hormone imbalances. Bio identical hormone treatment works to treat the hormone imbalance, thereby relieving the symptoms, but also works to remove the sources of the imbalance.While the bioidentical hormones can relieve symptoms, it is important to address the underlying cause of the imbalance.
We use the gold standard of blood testing to assess active amounts of hormones. We then offer customized regimens based on test results, health issues, as well as genetic factors to most effectively address your symptoms and get you started on a regimen that fits into your lifestyle.
HORMONE THERAPY IN WOMEN
Estrogens, particularly estradiol, are responsible for feminizing the body. They improve blood supply throughout the body, increase cell proliferation and repair, and improve fluid retention and moisture of skin, hair, nails, and vaginal mucosa. Estrogens are directly responsible for mantaining bone density, endometrial integrity, vascular endothelial elasticity, as well as libido. Estriol, known as E3, maintains thickness and moisture of mucous membranes of vagina, bladder, and eyes, as well as helping these areas resist infection.
Progesterone balances estrogen, acting as a mild diuretic, stopping endometrial proliferation, thus limiting blood loss, and preventing formation of fibrocystic breast disease by reducing estrogen receptors in the breasts. A number of studies in Europe have shown that use of natural progesterone can protect against breast cancer. Estrogens stimulate the sympathetic nervous system which can trigger anxiety and irritability unless balanced with progesterone, which stimulates the parasympathetic system, thus having a calming effect.
Testosterone is important in women for improving bone density, muscle mass and strength, enhancing sex drive, improving skin sebum production, improving mood and decreasing depression and anxiety, and in protection against atherosclerosis. testosterone declines earlier and more quickly in women than in men and blood levels in 40 year olds are less than half that or 21 year olds. Increase in physical exeercise can decrease testosterone levels as can a diet high in sugars and in cereal fiber. Diets high in protein and fat, such as a paleolithic diet, help maintain testosterone and other hormone levels.
DHEA is a precursor hormone secreted predominantly from the adrenal glands. As such, it is affected by stress and strain on the body and levels decline when patients are in a state of adrenal fatigue. It has functions in the body helping maintain muscle mass, libido, insulin sensitivity, and it is also converted to other hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to exert its effects as needed.
Symptoms of hormone deficiencies can over lap where a deficiency in one can act like an overabundance of another, thus another reason that one should work closely with a specialist in regenerative medicine to correctly diagnose and treat the problem. Typical symptoms of estrogen deficiency include fatigue, depression, poor libido and memory, hot flushes or night sweats, menstrual irregularities, droopy breasts, vaginal itching, decreased vaginal lubrication and pain with intercourse, recurrent cystitis, stress incontinence, and joint pain/arthritis. Symptoms of low progesterone include bloating in face or abdomen, abdominal adiposity, painful/cystic breasts, fibroids, endometrial hyperplasia,(both can result in heavy or irregular periods), insomnia, and anxiety. Symptoms of low testosterone in women include fatigue, poor memory, hot flashes, hair loss on sides of forehead, muscle loss, abdominal adiposity, decreased libido, (decreased nipple and clitoral sensitivity), loss of interest in physical activity and sports, loss of bone density, and urinary incontinence.