Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) offers hormone replacements that are derived from natural sources and represent exact replicas of the hormones found in your body. This treatment’s primary focus is to restore hormone levels, thereby alleviating the negative effects of a hormonal imbalance, without the adverse side effects of synthetic methods.
Symptoms of a Hormone Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances are much more common than most people think. Due to the body’s natural processes, hormone production drops 3% – 10% each year after the age of 30. As a result, men and women can begin experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance earlier than you might expect. Some effects can be minor, while others can severely impact your lifestyle and well-being. Some of the possible side effects of a hormone imbalance include:
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Diminished interest in sex and/or sexual function
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Decreased muscle strength
- Reduced mental focus and memory
- Depression or changes in mood
- Muscle and/or joint pain
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, they may be a result of a hormone imbalance. With BHRT, you can restore hormones to their ideal levels in order to eliminate these symptoms and improve your overall wellness.
Positive Effects of Hormone Therapy
In addition to eliminating many of the symptoms described above, studies have shown that optimized hormones are necessary for good health. Furthermore, research suggests that optimizing hormones can reduce the risk of some age-related health issues such as osteoporosis and diabetes. The positive effects of BHRT may also include:
- Increasing bone density
- Lowering cholesterol
- Reducing blood sugar
- Reducing risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Protection against heart disease and certain cancers
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
After the age of 30, women tend to experience a natural decline in hormone levels resulting in a hormonal imbalance. Women experiencing hormonal imbalances suffer from many of the symptoms listed above, including a lack of mental clarity, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, mood changes and a lack of sexual desire. Unlike men, women suffering from a hormone imbalance can also experience:
- Irregular or uncomfortable menstruation
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Constipation or diarrhea
Women experiencing a hormonal imbalance can get relief from these symptoms and improve their quality of life through BHRT.
While many patients assume that BHRT for women involves only estrogen, there are actually two primary hormones for women involved in the treatment: estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for many functions within the female body, specifically in the female reproductive system. It also helps with cognitive health, bone health, the cardiovascular system and other bodily functions.
Surprisingly, women need testosterone too! It is an essential hormone that is beneficial to women in small amounts. Testosterone contributes to a woman’s sexual health and desire, bone and muscle health, energy and overall sense of well-being.
Testosterone Therapy for Men
Testosterone therapy is the main hormone treatment when it comes to BHRT for men. Unlike women, who can experience a substantial drop in hormone production before entering menopause, men will begin to experience a gradual decrease in testosterone production after the age of 20. Therefore, many patients can start benefiting from treatment at a young age.
A deficiency in testosterone, often simply called “low testosterone”, can create symptoms that include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hair loss or balding
- Loss of muscle mass
- Weight gain
- Depression or changes in mood
- Joint pain and/or muscle stiffness
With testosterone therapy, we can restore a patient’s testosterone levels to the optimal range. This can help alleviate the symptoms listed above, and can actually help men feel younger, stronger and healthier than ever before.
Bioidentical Hormone Pellet Therapy
BHRT involves the use of bioidentical hormone pellets, which are placed under the skin, often in an area of the body with fatty tissue, like the buttocks. These hormone pellets provide a slow and steady release of the bioidentical hormones 24 hours a day, giving patients a consistent, natural supply of hormones over several months.
Advantages of Hormone Pellet Therapy
This is the primary benefit of hormone pellet therapy over other BHRT techniques – it provides a consistent, controlled supply of bioidentical hormones to the body. Other treatments may overload the body with hormones intermittently, resulting in unwanted side effects and a failure to truly optimize hormone levels.
Furthermore, most consider bioidentical hormone pellet therapy to be safer and more convenient than other BHRT methods. Topical creams and gels usually require two applications each day. Many of these topical creams and gels have an unpleasant odor and can easily rub off if not fully absorbed. More importantly, hormones can transfer to children and spouses if physical contact is not avoided while wearing topical hormone creams and gels. Hormone injections is another form of BHRT. This method typically requires a weekly visit to a clinic for an injection treatment, which can be painful and time consuming.
Overall, bioidentical hormone pellets produce better results, they last longer, and they generally provide a better treatment experience for patients.
These testosterone pellets and estrogen pellets are derived from natural sources and represent exact replicas of the hormones found in your body, meaning they can produce the desired effects without adverse side effects.
Hormone Therapy Process
The BHRT treatment with hormone pellets begins with a consultation. During this consultation, we’ll explore your symptoms and review your health history to pinpoint the underlying variables at play. This will give us a better idea of the type of hormone therapy you might benefit the most from.
During your consultation, we will obtain a blood sample in order to determine your current hormone levels. Within the next 2-3 days, we will perform a comprehensive analysis of your lab results. By comparing your symptoms, your current hormone levels and referencing metrics for ideal hormone levels, we can determine an appropriate BHRT program. This will involve determining the types of hormones you need and at what volumes.
Treatment Plan & Pellet Insertion
Once the treatment plan is determined, we can move forward with the insertion of the hormone pellet, which is about the size of a grain of rice. This is a fairly simple process that takes just a few minutes to perform. Hormone pellets are inserted into the fatty tissue in the upper buttocks or hip. First, we will numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. Then, we will make a small incision in the skin, where we will insert the hormone pellet. Afterwards, we will apply a bandage to the skin and the treatment will be complete! Following your treatment, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise and soaking in water, such as swimming in a pool or bathing in a tub, for 3 to 7 days to allow your incision to properly heal.
After your initial treatment, you can expect follow-up visits, the first of which occurring four to six weeks after your initial pellet insertion. This gives us an opportunity to evaluate your body’s response to the treatment and adjust as needed. Afterwards, you can expect to return every 4 to 6 months for a pellet treatment, with occasional blood tests in order to monitor your body’s response and ensure your hormones are at optimal levels.
Results of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
BHRT pellets begin releasing hormones into the body immediately, so patients can expect to notice improvements in their symptoms within just three weeks of treatment. Your body will continue to adapt to its new hormone levels, and your symptoms will continue to improve in the following weeks.
To optimize your results, your customized BHRT treatment plan may include one or more compounded pellets. These superior supplements with essential micronutrients were developed specifically for BHRT patients, to help maintain hormone balance and support overall health. Our hormone therapy provider will discuss which of these products will benefit you.
In addition, we encourage patients to practice healthy lifestyle habits. Getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet can all magnify the benefits of BHRT and help you get the best results from treatment.
The compound hormone pellets last between four and six months. After the pellet is fully dissolved, you will need to get a new pellet inserted into the skin to maintain your results. For some patients, a few cycles of BHRT is enough to improve their wellbeing and deliver satisfactory results. Others choose to continue BHRT for their lifetime in order to continue enjoying the benefits of treatment.