Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy for Women
Many women suffer from symptoms of hormone deficiencies that negatively impact their quality of life. Some women who are experiencing hormone imbalance are in their 20’s and 30’s but have not been tested for their hormones. Some of these symptoms may appear years before a woman enters menopause. These symptoms may include:
- Increase body fat
- weight gain
- low sex drive
- loss of hair
- dry skin
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- sleep disturbances
- mood swings
- vaginal dryness
How can Bio-Identical Hormone therapy benefit women?
For women, bio-identical hormone therapy involves a personally customized optimization plan for deficient hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone designed to improve symptom-related issues. Bio-identical hormone therapy can help women address a variety of common symptoms and problems, including:
Loss of estrogen causes vaginal dryness, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, osteoporosis, hot flashes, and insomnia. Loss of estrogen also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, fractures, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and urogenital atrophy.
Progesterone aids the functionality of thyroid hormones. Excessive and deficient progesterone can cause water retention while normal levels provide diuretic qualities, promoting weight loss. Progesterone has been found to help decrease symptoms of PMS and perimenopause. It is the “happy” hormone. Progesterone is produced in the ovaries and it opposes the effect of estrogen on breast tissue and the uterus. Progesterone is synergistic with estrogen for cardiovascular protection (PEPI trial), breast cancer protection (EPIC-E3N trial), and for helping to improve sleep and anxiety.
Studies demonstrate that this hormone is vital to improve general well-being in both men and women. Loss of testosterone causes loss of interest in sex as well as sexual performance. Loss of testosterone can also cause an increase in body fat, loss of muscle, strength, endurance and an increase in cholesterol. The increase in visceral fat portends an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are several different modalities available for treating low levels of testosterone and the associated symptoms.
Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone” because of its connection to the stress response, however, cortisol is much more than just a hormone released during stress. Understanding cortisol and its affect on the body will help you balance your hormones and achieve good health. Cortisol is one of the steroid hormones and is made in the adrenal glands. Most cells within the body have cortisol receptors. Secretion of the hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland, a combination glands often referred to as the HPA axis.
Excessive cortisol can lead to anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. Prolonged fatigue increases the incidence of common viral and other infections. Together insulin and cortisol regulate blood sugar levels and excess cortisol disrupts blood sugar levelWeight loss may seem impossible if the body’s cortisol levels are fluctuating with reduced levels of estradiol in the aftermath of menopause.
DHEA is important to sexual function and vitality in men and women. With age DHEA levels are often lower and these lower levels correlate with many disease processes. Dehydroepiandrosterone is produced in the adrenal gland is derived from cholesterol. This is the foundation for your ability to produce testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Adults typically have a quarter of the DHEA that they had in their youth. Low levels of DHEA have been associated with loss of protein synthesis, depression, weight gain, and diabetes and heart disease. DHEA has recently received FDA approval to treat vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness.
This hormone is responsible for temperature regulation, cellular metabolism, energy, and cerebral function. Low levels result in increase in body fat and high cholesterol levels. Low thyroid levels contribute to cognitive impairment, thin skin and nails, fatigue, hair loss. Depression or loss of interest in things that once were fun can be indicative of low thyroid. Thyroid deficiency can be effectively and easily treated. Although most physicians utilize only T4 hormone, recent studies have shown benefit to adding T3 along with T4. The thyroid that we recommend is called natural or desiccated thyroid which is a combination of both T4 and T3. Studies mimic our clinical experience and find that using natural thyroid and optimizing T3 levels leads to better symptom improvement and patient satisfaction.