Declining hormone levels is a natural process. That’s why conditions like menopause exist. It’s expected to happen. However, hormone decline with natural aging can cause a decrease in overall health and well-being. Too little of a particular hormone in your body can negatively affect many of your body’s functions, resulting in a low overall life outlook.
The main hormones responsible for regulating our body’s aging process are testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. These hormones are present in both men and women and require balanced levels for our specific age to function optimally.
For a long time, synthetic hormone replacement treatments have been prescribed to address these concerns. While successful for some, the synthetic properties have drawbacks for others. Despite its popularity, synthetic hormone replacement therapy initially suffered backlash due to studies revealing an increased risk of various health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. This drawback led to researching natural sources for replacement hormones, resulting in an advanced, superior option known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
The bioidentical hormone alternative was discovered in 2002 through the women’s health initiative to negate potential long-term health problems with synthetic hormone replacement therapy. The synthetic effects were so significant by 1999; the treatment’s use declined drastically, which resulted in women with adverse effects of imbalanced hormones to increase dramatically.
To understand why the demand for hormone replacement therapy is so great, we have to understand the role that those three main hormones play inside the body.
While bioidentical hormones are primarily used to treat menopause, andropause, and hypothyroidism, they also address weight gain, body fat, belly fat, hair loss, low libido, and facial aging. Research has considered other chronic conditions significant to the aging process, such as:
Until recently, treatment for chronic conditions has been mostly reactive due to being misunderstood. As part of ongoing studies, researchers have learned that many of these conditions result from imbalanced hormone levels. Scientists have noticed additional benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, including:
It’s been easy to observe the correlation between imbalanced hormone levels and other conditions; their symptoms improve or stop altogether when hormones are restored to their optimal levels. This result has led to an increase in the study and use of bioidentical hormones to treat the actual conditions.
Please continue reading to learn more about the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy procedure, including its history, benefits, potential side effects, and getting started with a bioidentical hormone therapy treatment.
To understand the history of bioidentical hormone therapy we first need to know how they were discovered and how they are made. Bioidentical hormones are often referred to as a “natural” approach to hormone replacement therapy thanks in large part to being identical in organic structure and function to the hormones produced within the body. However, bioidentical hormones are actually sourced from a plant oil called diosgenin. This is because diosgenin is similar in chemical structure to one of our body’s precursor hormones known as cholesterol.
Diosgenin is extracted from soybeans and wild yams, which is a simple and inexpensive way of producing the oil needed. Once obtained, the oil is chemically altered to match our human hormones. During this process, allergens are removed to ensure the body’s full ability to absorb the bioidentical hormone.
As research continues, scientists are better understanding the importance of the body’s hormonal system in regulating every concern and is no longer just addressing menopause or andropause. This has led to new research about the use of hormone therapy to treat additional conditions and to glean more information on the impact of achieving hormonal balance.
It’s important to keep in mind that research into the use of bioidentical hormone therapy treatment for concerns other than menopause is still new. Only in the last 10-15 years has there been development into additional uses for hormone therapy. The reason is two-fold. First, the conditions themselves need to be better understood. For example, for those who suffer from IBS, it’s been noted that the condition has a mental, emotional, and physical component. The other factor is the relatively new understanding of the significance of optimal hormone levels.
When it comes to FDA approval, bioidentical hormones are approved currently for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Both estrogen and progesterone are approved and available in many forms. The most common options are via pill or topical cream/gel/lotion. However, FDA approval for the use of bioidentical hormone therapy treatment to treat other conditions has yet to occur.
More research and study is needed, but the results are promising. With a greater understanding of the condition itself along with the role different hormones play, it is expected that the bioidentical hormone procedure will become standard in the future.
The main benefit of pursuing bioidentical hormone therapy is achieving and maintaining optimal hormonal balance for your age. Just as too little of a hormone can cause health concerns so too can too much. In addition to optimal hormonal balance and maintained symptoms of menopause or andropause, you may experience additional benefits.
Additional Bioidentical Hormone Therapy benefits may include:
Keep in mind that this treatment is designed to be tailored to your hormonal needs. As such, there will be an initial adjustment period along with possible changes to your dosage as you reach your optimal hormonal balance.
I was so skeptical at first, and honestly a bit afraid to mess with my hormones, but I could no longer handle the effects on my mental and physical state as menopause came crashing in! I can’t begin to express how differently I feel now that my hormones are in better balance. I’m living a more energetic and happy life thanks to bioidentical hormone therapy!
Finding an expert is as simple as visiting our online community. With AgeEnvy, valuable information detailing bioidentical hormone therapy treatments, as well as qualified providers for this treatment, are at your fingertips. Keep in mind that your health and safety comes first with any treatment. That’s why our mission is to give consumers control over their health by getting them connected with providers that are licensed, verified experts focused on bioidentical hormone therapy treatments.
Any treatment has the potential for side effects. An integrated approach centered on bioidentical hormone therapy treatment is no exception. Potential side effects include:
Some bioidentical hormone therapy side effects are largely temporary in nature due to the body’s initial response to the new level of hormones experienced during treatment. These may include:
Only a certified medical provider can legally prescribe bioidentical hormone therapy as a treatment. The real danger with bioidentical hormone therapy is when its prescribed and administered improperly. A skilled, licensed, and certified medical provider that specializes in bioidentical hormone therapy is your best option for success.
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The total cost will be dependent on your response to treatment, length of time needed to resolve your condition, and the number of office visits required. The average cost of the medication is between $30-$85 a month.
It is important to keep in mind that the use of hormone therapy for conditions outside of menopause is still in its infancy and is not covered by insurance. All costs will be out of pocket for the foreseeable future.
The length of time needed depends on your response to the medication as well as how effective your lifestyle changes are. It is not uncommon for the treatments to be ongoing in nature and then begin tapering off as your condition becomes more manageable.
That being said, studies are still ongoing so it’s to be expected that adjustment will take longer. Remember to stay positive and communicate with your practitioner to stay ahead of your treatment.
There is no recovery associated with this treatment. However, for those who experience side effects, there may be additional consideration needed. Also, this is a new approach to treating a condition considered chronic or permanent. This treatment is not meant to be a short race or a quick fix.
In addition, hormone therapies require monitoring and adjustment. Communicate with your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors to ensure that your hormone levels stay optimized not maximized.
Depending on your response to treatment you could see results as early as several weeks to several months. The speed of results largely depends on your response to treatment and the number of adjustments needed to your dosage level.
Consult with your practitioner if you feel like results are not happening quick enough for you. Your practitioner may determine that adjustments are needed.
Once you start to see results you can expect the results to last indefinitely while you maintain healthy habits. If your body is incapable of producing enough of a certain hormone, you may need to maintain treatment to keep your optimal levels.
Your practitioner will be able to determine when or if you should stop or reduce treatment. Communication and honesty is key to successful management of your optimal hormone levels.
The use of any hormone therapy specifically for conditions outside of menopause, andropause, or hypothyroidism is still new. This means that there are no other options that are like this one for other conditions. However, there are other solutions you can pursue to complement your bioidentical hormone therapy treatments, or instead of, such as changing diet, counseling, and other methods of reducing your symptoms.
Work with your practitioner to determine the right combination for your needs. Personalizing your approach will ensure that your needs and concerns are met.