What is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy
Bio-identical hormones are produced synthetically but are an exact human identical match to our body’s own hormones. In contrast, conventional hormone replacement therapy is not human identical but has been altered and then patented by pharmaceutical companies. Bio-identical forms of these hormones are not patentable by these companies. When given an option most people choose to use the human identical form of these hormones as it’s seen as a more natural approach. Since neither forms are “natural” but are derived from plant sources it is very important that a qualified professional who has undergone extensive training in this field to supervise someone on this kind of treatment plan.
Both men and women will see levels of their essential hormones decline with age. In women, the loss of the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone lead to a condition of aging called menopause. In men, the decline in the hormone testosterone leads to a condition known as andropause, or more commonly “Low-T.”
Most people understand that with the decline in hormone levels, men and women can experience numerous symptoms that can affect their sex lives. However, may people are unaware that hormone imbalance is not just about sex! The loss of the hormonal balance that occurs with aging has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, osteoporosis, thyroid conditions, many cancers and a host of other medical conditions.
Bio-identical hormone replacement is designed to replace the hormones to levels that normally exist in youthful men and women. Optimizing levels of these natural substances may lower the risks of the many diseases of aging, promote longevity and may restore a vitality that might have seemed to be lost and gone forever.
Much of the controversy around hormones falls onto the molecularly altered conventional hormone or non-human identical form. Our Providers are specially trained through the American Academy of Anti-Aging for Medicine.
Effects of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones fall by 50% from the age of 20-50 in the average person. Many individuals feel the effects of hormonal imbalances early in their adult life but attribute it to work, stress, pregnancy or just getting older. For some, this process is very gradual without any major concern and intervention may not be necessary. For others this leads to a very obvious decreased quality of life. It’s important to note that a hormonal imbalance is an effect of lifestyle circumstances, toxicity exposure, stress, nutritional status, family dynamic, inherited traits etc. Therefore when addressing the effect of hormonal decline it’s important to take these other things into consideration. What works for one person may not for another, making it necessary to implement personalized care plans and taking an individualized approach.
Signs of Hormonal Imbalances
- Heavy, painful periods
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Weight gain/bloating
- Hair loss/thinning
- Poor concentration/memory
- Overwhelm/loss of motivation
- Low libido
- Joint pain
- Muscle Atrophy/decreased strength
- Changes in skin texture and color
Are these hormones safe?
When used at physiological doses (not supra-physiological doses) and under the guidance of a qualified and licensed practitioner using objective laboratory testing and monitoring the patients subjective response yes they are a safe therapy. Given that these hormones are powerful and do require a prescription it is important that caution be used and that patients are well informed before beginning therapy.
Does this mean I have to be on them for the rest of my life?
The length of time someone chooses to be on these prescriptions is completely dependent on the goals of the individual. Once balance has been achieved, it’s up to you how long you would like to experience that level of health. There are no concerns when discontinuing the program other than the symptoms that were previously there before the hormones are likely to return. It is always recommended that if you are to discontinue that you inform the practitioner you are working with.
Why is this therapy not covered and can’t I get prescriptions from my Medical doctor?
The program would be covered under extended medical plans as long as you have Naturopathic Medical coverage. Because most people have drug plans this therapy actually works out to be quite affordable for most as they would have a portion or all of their prescriptions covered depending on what is prescribed. Your Medical doctor may or may not have experience with Bio-identical Hormones. This is a specialized area of medicine requiring extensive continuing education and unless they are either interested in this area or are able to actually take the proper time to go through a program it will not be a suitable course of action. Because of the time and attention required to run these programs, medical doctors would have to operate this system outside of a general practice and would have to charge accordingly.
Am I too young to receive treatment?
Hormone imbalance doesn’t just happen when we’re older. Many young men and women experience hormonal imbalance in the form of
- Heavy/irregular periods
- Problematic PMS
- Frequent miscarriage
- Thyroid problems
- Adrenal fatigue
- Ovarian cysts
- Depression and anxiety
- … and more
that can all be helped through a well-constructed hormone plan. Because Estrogen dominance and or progesterone deficiency is so prevalent in women at any age group it is advised to discuss your options with our experienced providers before committing to the program.