Hormonal Replacement Therapy, also known as Bio-identical Hormone Replacement or Natural Hormone replacement; is the administration of biochemical hormones similar to the ones that our body produces.
From the time we are born, our body goes through a variety of changes that affects growth & maturity. These changes are regulated by a variety of substances called “hormones”.
So, what are hormones?
Hormones are substances produced by the brain and a variety of organs in the body, known as the “Endocrine System”. Hormones work as messengers traveling through the bloodstream to tissues and organs. It affects a variety of processes in the body such as growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood. The deficit in only one single hormone can cause devastating effects in the functioning of our body.
It is well known the changes that our bodies and systems will experience the aging process. Hormonal insufficiency occurring during mid-life for women and men plays a major role in the aging process.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance are more common in women approaching menopause, however, it is very common during the pre-menstrual period in women of childbearing age. These symptoms are caused by a decline in the quantity and quality of Estrogen and Progesterone. Men are also affected by hormonal imbalance, known as Andropause. Symptoms of hormonal insufficiency in men occur later in life compared to women, but it can have long term severe consequences. The symptoms are mostly caused by the decline of Testosterone, as well as other hormones.
But, what are the benefits for replacing it?
Men and women interested in delaying the effects of aging will benefit from the changes that occur when hormone levels are optimized. However, most patients will seek medication attention when they start experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, muscle weakness, weight gain, hair thinning or decrease of sexual drive. Also, some studies have shown that hormonal replacement can decrease the risk of heart attacks, hypertension, and osteoporosis, among others.
However, since the Women’s Health Initiative clinical study was released in 2002, showing an increase of breast cancer and cardiovascular events in women taking synthetic hormones, many women opted to discontinue their pharmaceutical hormonal therapy and chose to struggle with their symptoms or to find natural alternatives with less side effects and safer to their bodies.
The natural bio-identical hormones are safe and effective alternatives to synthetic drugs, providing all of the benefits and more, without the negatives effects.
What is Bio-identical or Natural Replacement Therapy?
Bio-identical, or Natural Hormone Therapy, replaces the hormonal deficit with chemically identical substances similar to what the body produces. These types of hormones are produced in compounding pharmacies, and mimic the same structure and function as the natural hormones from the body. The goal with this treatment is to adjust and optimize the hormonal imbalance to levels present during our youth.
In women, Bio-identical hormone replacement will adjust the hormonal imbalance that is more notorious during menopause. During this period, there is a significant fluctuation on the quantity, quality and action of these hormones: Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Thyroid, Cortisol and DHEA. The amount required by each woman will depend on their blood tests results. Also, hormone replacement therapy can often alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalance and deficiencies that may occur at any stage of life after puberty.
What are synthetic hormones?
Synthetic hormones are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. The chemical structure of these drugs must be changed slightly in order to create a unique chemical structure specific for that company so it can qualify for a patent and make a profit from it.
For many years, I was skeptical about the benefits of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. My medical training has been based on medical facts and clinical results. If there is no research study that supports a treatment as effective, it won’t be approved by the FDA and therefore, not prescribed by most physicians.
Also, as an Obesity Medicine specialist, I started to see a trend of weight gain in certain areas of my middle-age female patients. The increase of body fat was more evident in their abdomen, waist and hip. It was also occurring in non-obese women.
I decided that it was time to research the health benefits of bio-identical hormonal replacement at optimal levels. The data I reviewed showed overall improvement of patients’ wellbeing and decrease the risk of chronic medical illnesses in individuals on natural replacement therapy, contrary to the results of the studies ran by pharmaceutical companies.
I am a believer that health and wellness starts from the inside out. Eating healthy, exercising and taking essential vitamins and supplements will help our stamina and help avoid certain diseases that can occur with aging. Hormonal levels can be affected by external and internal factors. If we can identify the hormonal imbalance before it becomes a hormonal deficit, we will improve our quality of life and delay certain medical conditions associated with aging.
Coming soon, The Aesthetic & Wellness Center will start providing hormonal testing and bio-identical replacement therapy for men and women.