From the moment we hit puberty, we are all at the mercy of our hormones, fluctuations in mood, energy, focus, etc. We often associate hormonal ups and downs with women, but men too can be greatly effected by hormones. Hormones have a potent effect on cells in our bodies and for many people bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is needed to help it create or regain balance.
In this article we will touch on the effects hormones can have on the body and the role of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in treating hormonal imbalance symptoms.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which has been gaining popularity for many years is sometimes described as natural hormone therapy, and refers to the use of hormones that are chemically identical to those that are already produced by your body. These hormones are used to assist in relieving the symptoms that are related to an imbalance and/or decline of hormones that are linked to aging.
BHRT aims to use specific hormones to increase the levels in the body of those hormones that are low. This is typically determined after a through evaluation and lab tests to verify low levels. For females the hormones typically used include:
- estrodial, estriol
- testosterone (sometimes)
- dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
These are hormones that the female body produces in smaller quantities as they approach menopause. For men hormones can start to decline at age 35 - 40. The hormone evaluation for men should include:
- testosterone total
- testosterone free
What Are the Benefits of BHRT?
For both men and women, when levels are found to be low, there are many benefits to be gained from BHRT. These include (but are not limited to):
Balanced moods – As hormone levels fluctuate this can cause mood swings as hormones interfere with both blood sugar and brain chemistry. For males low testosterone can cause irritability and fatigue. Balancing the hormones can reduce any feelings of anger, anxiety and also depression.
Improved sleep patterns – Hormone imbalances can interfere with signals in the brain leading to disturbed sleep. Low progesterone can difficulty falling asleep.
Improved libido - Decreasing hormone levels can reduce the desire to engage in sexual activity, mainly testosterone. BHRT can restore hormones to normal levels and with it boost libido.
Reduced hot flashes – Fluctuating and low estrogen levels cause alterations in the nervous system and vessels which lead to the classic menopause symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.
Reduced muscle mass - As we age our muscle mas declines partially related to a decline in hormone levels. Testosterone in particular has a potent effect on maintaining and helping to regain lost muscle mass.
Increased Vaginal Lubrication – Estrogen is important for keeping vaginal tissue healthy, if levels are low vaginal dryness can occur. This can easily be remedied by supplementing the appropriate hormones.
Hair Thinning – Reduced levels of Testosterone can result in thinning of the hair and a general decrease in the amount of hair through out the body. thinning hair on the head is often not attributed to low testosterone, however.
The Integrative Approach
Women, if you are noticing early signs of the menopause; changes in your menstrual cycle such as irregular of heavier cycles, increased irritability and problems sleeping, then you may want to see what options are available to you. Men, if you are noticing irritability, fatigue, decrease libido, or erectile dysfunction you too could be suffering from hormonal deficiency.
We are a naturopathic doctor in Phoenix who offer problem solving and holistic approaches to the ailments we treat. Hormonal imbalance is a common issue with a fairly straightforward solution. Why not contact us today to arrange a free consult and see how we can help you to manage your hormonal imbalance symptoms.