Bio-identical Hormone Therapy
Are you curious about whether hormone replacement could relieve your hot flashes and night sweats or maybe help you feel more energetic or help lose that belly fat?
Are you interested in hormone replacement but are concerned about possible side effects of being on hormones?
Maybe you are already on hormones, but still feel “off.”
When your hormones are not balanced, that imbalance affects every area of your life. For women who don’t feel good because of menopausal hormone deficiencies, we often find that hormone replacement therapy can make a big difference.
It is important to know that there are different approaches to hormone replacement. At Inner Vitality, we offer bio-identical hormone replacement.
Here’s how we do it
We start with lab tests to measure your hormone levels. Our goal is to bring you back into balance, so we aim to replace hormones that you are deficient in.
We always use bio-identical hormones because these are an exact match to the hormones your body used to make. Different formulations of bio-identical hormones are available in FDA-approved forms from a regular pharmacy, or in customized preparations from a compounding pharmacy.
We check in and closely monitor you to make sure you are feeling better, and you are not having side effects.
Then we re-measure your hormone levels and make adjustments to make sure we have it right.
What are bio-identical hormones?
“Bio-identical” means that the hormone is an exact match to the hormone that your body makes.
Bio-identical hormones start with an ingredient from soy or yam. This is converted to estrogen, progesterone or testosterone in the lab, and the final product is the exact same compound as the estrogen, progesterone or testosterone made in your ovaries.
To be clear, eating soy or rubbing yam cream on your skin does not result in hormone replacement….
Bio-identical hormones are completely different from the synthetic hormones that we have often used in women’s health. These are man-made chemicals that mimic our natural hormones, but they are not the exact same compound. Therefore, the risks and benefits are not the same, and there are no lab tests to measure the level of these hormones in your body, so there is no way to monitor or adjust dosing.
What can be done?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can provide relief from symptoms due to menopause and perimenopause.
There are a wide range of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy options including:
- topical creams
- vaginal creams or suppositories
- sublingual lozenges (called troches)
- pellets inserted under the skin
What is menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and greatly reduce testosterone production. You are considered menopausal if you have gone 12 months without a period. On average, this occurs at age 52, but can occur much earlier or later.
It’s important to note that every woman experiences menopause differently and may have different symptoms or a different severity of symptoms.
Typical symptoms of menopause may include:
- hot flashes/night sweats
- depressed mood
- low libido
- vaginal dryness
- painful sex
- poor memory
- dry skin
- dry eyes
- joint pain
- thin or aging skin, including wrinkles
- weight gain
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the stage in a woman’s life prior to menopause when her hormone production fluctuates, sometimes erratically and wildly, causing all kinds of symptoms. This stage can start even 10-15 years before menopause, and it can be difficult to realize that a hormone imbalance may be the underlying culprit.
Common symptoms of perimenopause include:
- hot flash/night sweats
- mood swings
- waking up in the night
- worse PMS symptoms (like breast tenderness, fluid retention and bloating)
- longer PMS (lasting 1-2 weeks instead of just 1-2 days)
- heavier periods
- irregular periods or more frequent periods
- premenstrual spotting
- weight gain
Are hormones safe?
The truth of the matter is that there are always risks to almost any treatment, but the benefits of hormone replacement far outweigh the risks for most women, especially women who are within 5-10 years of menopause. There are some women who are not good candidates for menopausal hormone replacement, so a personalized approach is important.
If you are not a good candidate for estrogen replacement, or you just don’t want menopausal hormone replacement therapy, it is still important for the rest of your hormones to be balanced! Cortisol, thyroid, insulin and other hormones are also important for optimal health, and should be evaluated, addressed and monitored.