Menopause can be a very challenging time for many women, both emotionally and physically. At Premiere Center for Health and Wellness in Cincinnati, OH, we recognize the importance of managing hormone balance for both women and men. There are so many hormone replacement options available today that choosing the right therapy can seem like a daunting task, however, there is a safe and natural solution that can be tailored to most individuals.
What Kinds of Hormone Therapy Should You Get During Menopause?
There are many brands of pills, patches, gels, sprays, and injections on the market that aim to rebalance a person’s hormones as they goes through the “change of life,” which can affect both men and women alike. Most of these products are made from synthetic variations of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. While it is possible to achieve good results with some of these delivery systems, outcomes can vary widely.
A Natural Choice for Hormone Replacement
This is why many doctors now recommend bioequivalent hormones (formerly known as “bio-identical” hormones) which are a natural alternative to the synthetic varieties used in traditional HRT. Bioequivalent hormones are structurally identical to the naturally-occurring hormones found in the human body, and as such are more likely to produce the positive outcomes that everyone hopes to achieve with a hormone balancing program.
How Does Bioequivalent Hormone Therapy (BHT) Work?
Since bioequivalent hormones have the same chemical structure as our own hormones, they are very efficiently synthesized by the human body. They can be customized to meet the exact needs of the individual, helping to reduce many of the debilitating symptoms that can develop during menopause in women and andropause in men.
The right balance of bioequivalent hormones can restore sex drive, improve sleep patterns, enhance skin and hair health, eliminate hot flashes, and boost mood. While it can sometimes take more than one session to perfect a patient’s dose, in time they can expect to feel as good as they did when they were younger – perhaps even better.
What Delivery System Is Used for BHT?
The most effective way of administering hormones is through a transdermal pellet, which is implanted under the skin in the buttocks or top of the thigh. These pellets are so small that they are not at all visible beneath the skin’s surface. The procedure to have them inserted is painless and only needs to be done every three to four months to maintain results. An appointment will last less than half an hour, and can easily be scheduled over a lunch break.
Why We Recommend Pellets
Hormone pellets are becoming the delivery system of choice for many hormone specialists because they provide a steady, consistent output of bioequivalent hormones into the body. There are no highs or lows like you might get from an injection or a pill. The pellets gradually dissolve over a period of several months.
Many patients begin to feel the benefits of this treatment within a few days, while others need a bit more time to find their ideal balance. Once a person has begun this course of treatment, they only need to schedule three or four maintenance appointments per year. This is simply the most convenient and reliable system in use today to safely and effectively balance a persons’ hormones.
How Long Can This Treatment Be Continued?
Many people begin hormone replacement is their late 30’s or early 40’s as the first signs of hormone fluctuation begin to set in. Others wait until they are fully going through their change of life, when symptoms have become severe. This period can last for several years. We also have patients in their 50’s and 60’s, who have been on BHT for many years. Older patients often ask if they need to go off their treatment — they feel great but are concerned about risks.
This can be a difficult choice, because they are feeling great but have heard that prolonged use of hormone therapy comes with risks. The reality is that there is no reason to discontinue hormone supplementation unless you are specifically advised to do so by your doctor. For patients who are past their change of life, what we may do is reduce their dosage so that they are receiving only the amount of hormones required to maintain the positive effects of therapy.
How To Know When It’s Time for Bioequivalent Hormones
The signs of hormonal imbalance can creep in as early as a person’s 30’s, but do not typically become debilitating until after the age of 45. Ideally, we like to begin a treatment plan before the patient’s hormones have become so out of balance that they have caused considerable harm. The more out of balance someone’s hormones are, the longer it can take to get them back on track.
Below we will look at the signs of hormonal fluctuation that one should be aware of at each stage of mid-life. Note that these changes, the severity of symptoms, and the age at which they begin can vary widely from person to person.
Earliest Signs of Hormone Imbalance
A woman’s 20’s and 30’s is often referred to as “pre menopause,” which is the time leading up to mid-life when a woman’s hormones may be starting to plateau. During this time, a woman is usually still experiencing regular periods, and should be feeling well overall. Unfortunately, in rare cases, a woman might already begin to notice hormonal irregularities during this stage of life, most typically marked by mood swings, sleep disturbances, and weight gain.
When Hormones Begin their Steady Decline
Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to a woman’s last menstrual cycle. This is a stage of life that can last for anywhere from a couple of years to an entire decade. Between the ages of 35 and 50, fluctuating hormones can begin the chain reaction of symptoms that we associate with menopause. This can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight gain, low libido, and hair loss.
While these Menopausesymptoms will likely be milder than those experienced as a woman progresses into the later stages of mid-life, they can still negatively impact a woman’s life and sense of wellbeing. Getting treatment during this stage can help a woman to avoid more severe outcomes later. When it comes to hormone balancing, being proactive is always better than waiting until symtpoms have become out of hand.
Once menopause has completely set in, the body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone drop to a point where it is impossible not to recognize the physical and emotional symptoms. While this stage of life can affect some women much more dramatically than others, almost every woman will go through a period where they do not feel like themselves. The cumulative effects of sleep disturbance, low mood, and physical changes can be extremely debilitating for some.
Even if you have waited until you are in considerable discomfort to seek treatment, know that it is never too late to benefit from the effects of BRT. It might take more time to get your hormone levels perfected but this is entirely feasible with the right treatment plan.
Emerging From the Change of Life
By the time a woman has completely gone through the change of life, she may emerge from the effects of hormonal fluctuations or she may not. Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances can continue to impact a woman’s physical and emotional health even when they are past the worst phase in this transition. This is why we recommend that women not abruptly come off of hormone therapy just because they have reached a certain age.
How To Know if Your Hormones Balanced
A person with balanced levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone will enjoy more energy, restful sleep, better mood, and an overall sense of wellbeing that cannot be achieved when hormones are in a state of chaos. There are also noticeable physical outcomes that can be achieved when your hormones are working for you instead of against you – most notably, it should be easier to maintain a healthy weight, and you will likely have more interest in sex.
Making Time To Get Your Hormones Back on Track
Getting your hormones back to the levels they need to be at for optimal health and wellbeing requires taking some time for yourself. Contact us today at Premiere Center for Health and Wellness in Cincinnati, OH so that we can set up your initial consultation and start a treatment plan that works for you. Our team of hormone experts treat both women and men with exceptional results.