Like other forms of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is designed to replace the hormones that we lose while in the grips of menopause. Restoring lost hormones can relieve us of the menopausal symptoms that result from hormonal imbalance. What sets BHRT apart from traditional HRT, which uses synthetic hormones, is the quality of the hormones. Synthetic hormones are mass-produced in different pre-determined strengths and marketed to the general populace. On the other hand, BHRT uses natural replacement hormones, often derived from plants, engineered to be chemically identical to the natural hormones found in the human body.
Bioidentical hormones are most commonly prescribed to treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women and men, such as hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, and irritability.
There are a variety of symptoms of hormone imbalance in women including:
-Hot flashes or flushes
-Decreased sex drive
-Discomfort during intercourse
If you have some of these symptoms you need to contact us today for a consultation! Our practitioner will discuss in detail your treatment.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT)
Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) restores declining hormone levels associated with menopause (women with a personal history or a family history of breast cancer may not be candidates for estrogen replacement). The principal estrogens in a woman are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estradiol is the most potent of these estrogens and is produced by the ovary. Estrone and estriol are both metabolites of estradiol and are less potent, with estriol being the weakest. The most common form of ERT is a compound formulation of Bi-Est (80% estriol / 20% estradiol) and Tri-Est (80% estriol/10% estradiol/10% estrone). The percentages of estrogen in each compound can be adjusted based upon the patients test results to achieve an optimal outcome.
Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Progesterone (P4) is a hormone produced in women by the adrenal glands, the ovaries and in the placenta during pregnancy. Progesterone is known as a precursor hormone for estrogen, luteinizing hormone, and testosterone, among others. To a certain extent, progesterone controls the production of these other hormones and can help balance any deficiencies or excesses of them in your body. In addition to helping relieve the symptoms of menopause and PMS, progesterone is known to enhance energy and sexual libido, and to heighten feelings of well-being. Progesterone should not be confused with progestin. Progestin is a synthetic chemical and is unable to synthesize other hormones or help our bodies produce the other hormones it needs to function at full potential. Progesterone can be administered orally (powder or micronized in oil base as capsules, oral drops, or sublingual tablets), vaginally or rectally (with suppositories), through injections or topically with transdermal creams or gels.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone, although a primary male hormone, also plays a role in women’s health. A decline in testosterone levels in men may be indicated by symptoms including loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, deterioration in ability to concentrate, poor muscle tone and strength, lack of endurance and mood swings. A decline in testosterone levels in women may accompany a decreased libido, irritability, weight gain, loss of lean muscle and osteoporosis. Testosterone contributes to higher energy levels and overall sense of well-being, increases lean body mass, and helps in building strong bones.
For people not producing high enough levels of testosterone, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) may be appropriate. This therapy should be considered when hormone deficiency has been clinically proven through laboratory testing of blood serum or saliva.
Testosterone can be administered orally, topically (through creams or gels), or via pellet implant (which is a pellet placed underneath the skin) or injectable. The oral route is not recommended or considered to be a primary method of delivery. Pellet insertion is the primary route our current patients prefer, since they only come a few times a year for re-insertion. We use bioidentical hormones from a recognized compounding pharmacy.
Our patients love the way they feel, more energized, better concentration, sleep and more libido. A consultation is highly recommended for a full physical and labs. This way we make sure you are a candidate for this therapy.
We make it convenient for our patients to do their lab results by doing them in-house as part of the treatment. Our focus is to make this therapy as convenient and as safe as possible.
Tests for Hormone Levels
Given the current literature and sensitivity to the issues relating to HRT, the practice of routinely prescribing hormones without the appropriate testing for levels is highly questionable. To be accurate, testing is done to ensure accuracy and safety. We use hormone baseline test results to prescribe hormone replacement therapy to bring our patients hormones to their optimum targeted levels. Then after one month of treatment a re-testing is made to assess the effectiveness of the therapy and adjust as necessary.
Many patients opt for BHRT because it is not a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare. Each bioidentical hormone prescription is custom-compounded based on each patient’s individual diagnostic results, making bioidentical hormones safer and more effective than synthetic hormones.
One of the most commonly asked questions related to HRT is how long does BHRT take to work. As a good guideline, you can expect to notice the results of BHRT after 14 to 21 days. You shouldn’t expect immediate results because it takes time for your bloodstream to absorb the hormones. Additionally, you shouldn’t expect to feel the full effects of your therapy for around two months.
Roughly two months after your treatment, we will be able to tell whether your dosage is appropriate for your needs or not. Once this phase is complete, we recommend that you come in for a follow-up appointment quarterly. During these quarterly checkups, we will evaluate your ongoing results. Depending on the cause of your hormonal imbalance, you may need follow-up treatments to maintain the ideal results.
Some of the benefits of using bioidentical hormones include:
-Improved energy levels
-Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
-Better mood, concentration & memory
-Reduced risk of depression
-Reduced risk of endometrial cancer
-Reduced risk of breast cancer
–Reduced risk of heart disease
-Improved cholesterol levels
-Reduced incidence of hot flashes
-Reduced risk of osteoporosis
It’s important to note that BHRT is not appropriate for everyone, and it may not be necessary for all women experiencing menopause symptoms. Some women may find relief from their symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or through alternative therapies, such as herbal supplements or acupuncture. It’s important to discuss all of your options with a healthcare provider before starting any treatment.