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Hormone Replacement  Therapy

Curious about your Hormones and if they are affecting you in any way? Both women and men experience symptoms of hormone deficiency that affect both quality of life but also overall health. For women, this is called perimenopause or menopause, and andropause for men. Sometimes symptoms of hormone deficiency occur earlier than late 40’s and early 50’s. It’s also not too late to start hormones, even if menopause was several years ago.

Typical symptoms women experience may include: hot flashes, night sweats, irregular menses, mood lability, skin/hair changes,muscle and bone loss, trouble thinking/concentrat-
ing, decreased libido, and sleep issues. Men may experience depression, irritability, loss of muscle mass, change in libido, or fatigue.

One treatment for this is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Besides symptom relief, hormone replacement can help lessen the impact of disease associated with aging, if delivered in bio-identical form. This includes: bone health, heart health, cognitive health, among others. Although many choices are available under insurance, they are not bio-identical. Delivery of hormones is also important and can even lessen increasing inflammation! This is done via transdermal, via subcutaneous tissue, and sublingual. Be aware that most oral formulations can increase inflammation and clotting risks.

Women may take estradiol, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. While men typically only receive testosterone, but also DHEA.

Bio-identical formulations that are available include com-
pounded creams, gels, sublingual lozenges, drops and pellets.

Some compounding pharmacies make a lymphatically absorbed tablet. When consulting about hormone replacement therapy, all options should be reviewed for pros (benefits) and cons (side effects, cancer risk, pricing). Adjusting dosing of any of these forms takes time and requires blood work. All of this must be followed closely. Hormone pellets, that are placed with a brief procedure under the skin, have increased in use related to their consistent hormone release and “get ‘em and forget about ‘em” approach. The hormone levels stay consistent for 3-5 months. The drawbacks are that once pellets are placed it’s hard to take them out if the dose is wrong. In addition, the price up front may be a little daunting.

It is important to individualize the approach to hormone replacement for each individual. This not only includes finding the ideal delivery and dosing, but also helping the body eliminate hormone metabolites to lessen side effects.

In summary, symptoms may be passed as depression, sleep disturbances or passed off as stress. Looking at your hormones may be a good place to start in addressing your health.

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