Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
A decline in hormone production is a natural part of aging in both men and women. Although it typically starts in the 30’s, most people don’t feel the full effects of declining hormones until they are closer to middle age. For men, the first indication is often problems with sexual performance and feeling like they have no ambition. Women, who are typically more in-tune with their bodies due to the monthly menstrual cycle, may complain of mood swings, weight gain, and a lowered sex drive.
The following are typical symptoms of hormone imbalance in both men and women:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Anxiety, depression, and irritability
- Memory lapses and trouble concentrating
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Insomnia and sleep apnea
- Lack of muscle tone
Regardless of your age, gender, or specific symptoms, you can find relief with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy
Because hormones affect so many functions of the human body, it may take you a while to realize that many of the uncomfortable symptoms you are experiencing are related. For example, you may receive individual prescriptions for frequent headaches or insomnia only to continue to struggle in other areas. This is because most traditional doctors treat symptoms without exploring the root cause. You become increasingly frustrated and discouraged as your doctor keeps missing the connection between your symptoms and hormone imbalance.
Some doctors may suggest synthetic hormone replacement therapy after other treatments fail to bring relief. Unfortunately, this may make your problems worse. Synthetic hormones are associated with several serious health conditions, including endometrial cancers, blood clots, heart attack, abnormal liver function, and pancreatitis. Additionally, they generally take longer for the body to accept and process. While the above complications are uncommon, many people do experience common side effects like nausea and muscle cramping. These can be bothersome enough for them to stop taking the synthetic hormones or prescription pills their doctors have given them.
Treating Specific Health Conditions with Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
In addition to the relief of general symptoms associated with hormone decline, many holistic medical practitioners prescribe Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy to treat a variety of conditions that are ultimately related to a hormone imbalance, dominance or deficiency. These include:
The Thyroid controls every cell in the human body, so in turn, when Thyroid hormone is out of balance, it affects every cell in the body. Secreted by the Thyroid gland, Thyroid hormone acts as the body’s own thermostat by regulating body temperature and warmth, it also assists in cerebral function/metabolism, contributes to energy levels, and helps protect against cardiovascular disease. Thyroid hormone, while increasing the breakdown of fat, also results in weight loss and lowered cholesterol. In fact, Thyroid hormone is the safest and most effective cholesterol-lowering tool available, yet it is seldom used for this purpose. It also contributes to the prevention of cognitive and memory impairment. Thyroid hormone is most noted for increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue.
Typically, when Thyroid hormone is deficient, symptoms present as chronic fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and brittle or thin nails, just to name a few. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is the most common Thyroid measurement which stimulates the Thyroid gland to produce Thyroid hormone. When the body detects that there is enough Thyroid hormone present, the TSH count will be low, and when the body senses that the Thyroid hormone is low, the TSH count goes up, in an effort to stimulate the Thyroid gland to produce more Thyroid.
When the Thyroid is deficient, it is referred to as Hypothyroidism which presents as an overall sluggishness, weight gain, dry skin, memory and concentration problems, and depression. When the body produces too much of the Thyroid hormone, this is called Hyperthyroidism, and is known for resulting in anxiety, sudden and unplanned weight loss, restlessness and insomnia. Ensuring that the Thyroid hormone is balanced can not only increase your enjoyment of life but can contribute to the enhancement of your overall sense of health and well-being.
Ovarian cysts can be terribly painful, and for some women, can even lead to infertility. Although, this syndrome can be asymptomatic, in that a patient may not ever present with any of the symptoms commonly associated with PCOS, this condition can often go undiagnosed. And, undiagnosed and untreated PCOS can often lead to far more serious conditions such as: heart disease, Diabetes, breast cancer and early mortality, all of which could easily be prevented if an early diagnosis is made.
This syndrome is not only genetic, but is also caused by insulin resistance, thus treating the insulin resistance is essential in regulating the symptoms of PCOS. Insulin resistance results in changes in the pituitary hormones FSH and LH, which can cause ovarian cysts and menstrual irregularities. Diminishing insulin resistance with simple lifestyle changes, including: diet, regular exercise and medication can all be creatively combined to help lower systemic inflammation which causes plaque formation and can eventually lead to heart disease and stroke. Recent studies have shown that due to the significant loss in Progesterone that often accompanies PCOS, women with PCOS are also at a much greater risk for developing breast cancer. Prescribed supplementation of the bioidentical hormone, Progesterone, has proven most effective in treating and protecting PCOS sufferers against breast cancer, PMS, and heavy bleeding.
The most common delivery methods for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapies include injections into the muscle area of the upper arm, wearing a time-release patch on your abdomen or thigh, suppositories, and oral medications. During your first consultation with Neal Rouzier, M.D., you will have the opportunity to discuss your preferences and the pros and cons of each delivery method. You could receive some or all of the following hormone replacements depending on the results of your initial diagnostic testing:
Types of Bioidentical Hormones
Neal Rouzier, M.D. may choose to use one or several types of bioidentical hormones based on your symptoms and your initial response to the therapy. The most common types of bioidentical hormones used in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy include:
Secreted by the ovaries, without progesterone the body cannot begin to produce the other essential hormones it requires such as: Estrogen, Testosterone, DHEA and Cortisol. Produced naturally from Cholesterol it is then changed into Pregnenolone, which further aids in the production of other vital hormones. Progesterone not only protects against uterine and breast cancers, but it can also help stave-off other serious diseases and conditions such as: Osteoporosis, fibrocystic disease and ovarian cysts. A major component for strong brain functioning, proper regulation of blood sugar levels and the production of thyroid hormones, Progesterone has also been proven to decrease pre-and-post menopausal symptoms in many women, as well as premenstrual symptoms (PMS) such as severe mood swings, migraine headaches, bloating, and fatigue. It also contributes to sustaining a healthy libido. And, as with many other hormones, Progesterone production begins to cease at Menopause which is why the replenishment of this hormone to achieve balance within the body by way of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is such an effective and life-affirming treatment to employ. When Progesterone levels are low, symptoms may include heavy bleeding and cramping during menstruation. When Progesterone levels are too high, patients can experience chronic fatigue, and an overall lethargy that sleep cannot seem to counter.
Pregnenolone is a steroid hormone that aids in cellular repair of the central nervous system and is the most potent memory enhancer of all the hormones, it is first synthesized by the cholesterol in the body and then created by the adrenal glands. Pregnenolone, along with the hormone DHEA, is responsible for creating testosterone and all other hormones in your body. Made from the supporting tissues in the brain, Pregnenolone activates neuroreceptors that alternately stimulate and calm the brain. An unbalanced level of Pregnenolone contributes to depression, irritability, fatigue, poor communication, difficulty with concentration and memory, and stress. Mood disturbances are also common when Pregnenolone levels are low. Replenishment of Pregnenolone can not only prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as certain types of cancers, but it can also help patients feel youthful and energetic, improving their overall sense of well-being. When Pregnenolone levels are too high, symptoms can include severe insomnia, an irregular heartbeat, and irritability, just to name a few.
Melatonin is a hormone that, as we age, our bodies naturally begin to produce less and less of. Secreted by the pineal gland, Melatonin is a circadian rhythm hormone – a hormone that effects the patterns of sleep and serves to increase the deepest stages of sleep which, in turn, strengthens the immune system, energizes the body, and helps improve mood. It is during some of the deeper stages of sleep that our cells begin to restore and repair themselves. In fact, it is during these deeper stages of sleep that the body produces natural killer T-cells or CD4 cells. With a powerful antioxidant effect, Melatonin has tremendous disease prevention qualities, including the prevention of cancer. A deficiency in Melatonin results in a lowered quality of sleep, irritability, hypersensitivity, poor body temperature regulation, and premature aging. The consequences of being dominant in Melatonin present as drowsiness, and reduced core body temperature. High levels of concentration have also been shown to have a negative effect on the reproductive system.
One of the most important hormones for energy and well-being, Testosterone is the primary hormone in a group of male hormones called Androgens, and although primarily considered to be a male hormone, Testosterone is also present in smaller amounts in women. Secreted by the adrenal glands, testes and ovaries, Testosterone contributes to strength, endurance, lean muscle mass, increased bone density, lower cholesterol, greater capacity to heal, increased tolerance to exercise, and can even improve skin tone as it helps to increase collagen production and elasticity in the skin. It can also enhance sexual performance and increase libido as it plays a significant role in sexuality and reproductive health. Testosterone also prolongs the quality of life by lowering the risk of age-related diseases. Typically, men begin experiencing a one percent decrease in Testosterone production every year after the age of 30. When Testosterone levels are too low, both men and women can experience unnecessary weight gain, hair loss, chronic fatigue, depression, irritability, as well as a lowered sex drive. When Testosterone levels are too high, symptoms can include: acne (primarily on back and shoulders), reduced fertility, Alopecia, enlarged prostate and even testicle shrinkage.
Estrogen is secreted by the ovaries, which cease production at Menopause. It protects against heart disease, stroke, Osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Estrogen guards against vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, and Menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. A deficiency in this hormone can result in early Menopause, forgetfulness, insomnia, sagging breast skin, incontinence, increased facial skin wrinkles, chronic fatigue, depression/anxiety, mood swings, lowered libido and even painful intercourse. An Estrogen dominance is often presented by bloating, breast tenderness, irregular menstrual cycles, lowered libido, migraines, mood swings, and weight gain.
DHEA is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and the precursor to other essential sex hormones. DHEA causes a shift in the anabolic or protein building state. It can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease by stimulating the breakdown of fat, while also strengthening the immune system, restoring libido, improving mood, and lowering cholesterol and overall body fat. Latest research has shown DHEA to be an anti-stress hormone, which can help reverse the negative effects of stress on the immune system. When there is an imbalance in the DHEA hormone, it affects the production of other hormones such as Estrogen and Testosterone just to name a few. Patients suffering from a DHEA deficiency will often complain of a lowered immune system, chronic fatigue, aching of the joints, and phantom pains, lowered libido, chronic fatigue, depression/anxiety, and loss of muscle mass. A dominance in DHEA presents with any one of the following symptoms: unplanned weight loss, loss of appetite, muscle atrophy/weakness, chronic fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, muscle weakness and skin hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Rouzier Looks Forward to Working with You
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is also helpful for women who are struggling with menopausal symptoms and men who are dealing with conditions relating to low testosterone. If you know there is more to life than feeling tired, overweight, and moody, you owe it to yourself to find out more about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. We are happy to assure you that it’s entirely possible. If you’re ready to take control of your hormones instead of them controlling you, contact Neal Rouzier, M.D. to schedule your initial consultation.