About Bioidentical Hormones
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body, while bioidentical hormones match human hormones molecule to molecule.
Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormones your body needs, our practitioner may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormones or others as needed.
When should I consider using bioidentical hormones?
In general, your body’s natural hormones start to decline after your mid-20s and hormone imbalance symptoms frequently presents itself by your mid-30s. Men and women often start replacing hormones between the ages of 35 and 40. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, it is best to seek testing and treatment as soon as possible. Delays in addressing hormone imbalance can affect future health and quality of life.
What are the ingredients of bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants, such as soy or wild yams, and are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. Additional ingredients in each prescription vary by hormone: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. and form: creams, gels, pellets, pills, etc.
Are there side effects from bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormone therapy has a few potential side effects which are classically linked to dosage — as your hormone levels improve, your dosage may need to be adjusted. If you notice side effects, contact your physician.
- Women have reported a mild increase in acne or irritability during the initial phases of testosterone hormone therapy, but these issues are generally resolved as levels become balanced.
- Some women have reported breast tenderness, spotting, cramping, and bloating. These symptoms may be experienced initially with estrogen hormone treatment, but resolve as hormone levels become balanced.
It is always recommended that you communicate side effects to your physician to be promptly addressed.
If I have a family history of cancer should I avoid bioidentical hormone therapy?
No. It is advisable and strongly encouraged that individuals who have a family history of cancer be evaluated by a practitioner at Renewed Vitality. Your practitioner can analyze and interpret your hormone levels to better determine cancer risk and strategically devise a treatment plan to assist in disease prevention through advanced therapies, including bioidentical hormone therapy, nutritional guidance, and targeted supplement regimens.
Signs & Symptoms
What are the common symptoms of hormone imbalance?
If you have two or more of these symptoms you most likely have some hormonal imbalance that can be evaluated and treated.
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Lack of concentration / Foggy
- Memory loss
- Emotional and tearful / irritability
- Weight gain (unable to lose weight even when trying)
- No or decreased sex drive
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal dryness
- Lack of motivation
- Decreased or no energy
- Bladder leakage or incontinence
Can low hormones affect my libido?
Yes, estrogen and testosterone work in a balance to fuel your sex drive. Too much or too little of either can cause a decrease in sex drive or lead to performance issues. In some cases, increased levels of cortisol, classically secreted in excess in the presence of chronic stress, can negatively impact the sex hormones and impair your libido.
Will my weight be affected with hormone therapy?
Hormones are like stoplights. When hormones are balanced, the light is green and you will achieve optimal results with dedication to a healthy lifestyle, including weight loss and fitness. When hormones are imbalanced the light is red making it difficult to lose weight and easy to gain weight.
Hormones are chemical messengers that cause the body to make changes affecting weight gain or loss. Changes in hormone levels are also dependent on the lifestyle factors, which can affect mood, metabolism, and energy levels.
Do hormones cause breast cancer?
No, bioidentical hormones do not cause cancer. This false impression began in 1991 when the very controversial Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was halted due to increased incidence of chronic disease among subjects. This study used the synthetic hormone, Prempro, and subjects of the study were an average age of 63 years. Meta-analyses following this study have shown that most of the subjects had pre-existing conditions that led to the development of disease during the study and that hormones actually reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases in women.
In fact, more than 15 major medical organizations now endorse hormone therapy as a safe and effective treatment plan for many adverse health conditions (2013). And, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the North American Menopause Society, more than 60 percent of clinicians prescribe or support the use of bioidentical hormones.
About Treatment / Renewed Vitality
What is pellet therapy?
Pellet therapy is a sustainable delivery method for bioidentical hormone therapy. Every 12-14 weeks a pellet made of bioidentical hormones is inserted under the patient’s skin, usually on the upper part of the buttocks. The pellets, which contain customized levels of estradiol or testosterone, are slowly metabolized over the course of three to four months, releasing the bioidentical hormone in much the same way as the body’s natural hormones are secreted.
How long does it take to feel better?
Most patients begin feeling better within a few months of beginning the program, but some results may take a bit longer to achieve. You may begin to feel a difference within a matter of weeks, especially when it comes to sleep pattern, hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Every patient has a different experience, and much depends on the type of treatment that is best suited for you. For example: Creams will take longer than pellets to get symptom relief, but the end result is the same — a healthier, balanced life.
Effective results don’t happen overnight, they evolve over time. Remember, it took some time for you to lose balance of your hormones, so it will take your body some time to re-balance them. Consistency and compliance every step of the way will improve your results.
Will you be my doctor?
It’s encouraged that you to continue your usual visits with your primary care doctor and your current OB/GYN. Our practitioner is happy to communicate with your current physician.
How do I become a new patient and what can I expect?
You simply need to pick up the phone and call. We will then direct you to the lab of your choice and have a panel of blood work that is necessary for us to evaluate your hormone levels. This must be done before your first appointment so that we can review the results and discuss the symptoms that you are experiencing.
You will come in for your first appointment which is your consultation. This takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half to listen to what you’re experiencing, review your lab results, take a thorough medical history and discuss options that are available to you. Treatment can sometimes be started the same day, if not, within a week or two from your consultation, much of that will be decided as you desire. That’s it. You will then follow up with us, typically, every 3-6 months depending on the therapy that you will be using.
What is the WHI?
The first-ever long-term study of hormone replacement therapy was widely-known as the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). This study began in 1991 and was expected to run for 15 years, observing the effects of hormone therapy using synthetic/traditional hormones on postmenopausal women. The focus of the study was to define the risks and benefits of using synthetic hormone therapy to potentially prevent heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
One branch of the study was abruptly halted in 2002, when researchers began to observe significantly adverse health effects in women on combined estrogen-progestin therapies.
The subjects of the study were limited to postmenopausal women, with a combined average age of 63. These two factors are significant—most of the women studied had been in a state of hormonal decline or complete loss of hormones for 15 years or more, putting them at-risk for the development of diseases that estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone might have prevented if administered earlier in the lifespan.
This study was done over 15 years ago. Over the course of the last 15 years multiple studies and analyses have been conducted refuting the findings that suggested hormone therapy caused the diseases stated . Today, 15 of the top medical organizations in the country support hormone therapy as a safe and effective treatment for menopause and related disorders of hormone imbalance.