Hormone Replacement Therapy
What exactly is hormone modulation and how does it work?
Hormone modulation is the science of optimizing hormones that are no longer being adequately produced by the body. While genetic programming does many wonderful things, nature’s plan brings us to the age of reproduction and nurturing and then seems to have little use for us. At that point, we begin to fail. In fact, much of aging can be seen as deficiencies in many of the substances that our body once produced in abundance. Regaining and maintaining metabolic and endocrine functions at the upper end of the normal range for your age gives you the best opportunity for a healthy and vigorous life. This optimal range is in the upper third of the normal range for age.
How long before you can see results?
While this varies with each person, some people feel results within days. Just like beginning an exercise program, you can expect results within three to six months after beginning hormone management. Often the results of proper modulation are manifested by what you don’t feel, (i.e., sick, tired, moody, etc.).
How long do I have to be on these therapies?
You should give your program at least four to six months to see significant benefits. Most patients will experience benefits before three months and continue to see improvement beyond that point. Your body needs that much time to heal and rebuild. You should remain on the program for as long as you want to optimize your health.
What happens if I stop the program?
You will have gained time while you were on the program, but if you should elect to stop, you will experience no accelerated aging. Should you stop the program, your body will simply begin to age again at the normal rate. The benefits will fade over time; however, you would still have benefited from the program.
At what age should a person start such a program?
Thirty-five is a good age for the initial baseline evaluation because that is when deficiencies begin to appear. Around thirty years of age, we lose hormones from 1%-3%. It’s never too early for any adult to begin the nutraceutical program. A person does not need to begin hormone modulation therapy until the body begins to lower its hormone production. Thorough blood tests and assessments help us determine exactly where you may be most deficient and how we can best help you. Every person is different and will have different needs as far as hormone modulation goes.
Will Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT) interfere with my currently prescribed medications?
Generally, no. In some instances, medications may be reduced or no longer needed. Your Hormone Management physician will be able to advise you best on this and will be happy to work with your regular doctor should you so desire.
Will your HRT-trained Physician be taking over as my doctor?
No. As a wellness program, your Physician is happy to communicate with your current healthcare team and/or any specialists you may be seeing. You are encouraged to continue your usual visits with your regular doctor.
What causes menopause symptoms?
Losing chemical substances that were once natural and common throughout your body, which regulated and assisted with daily body functioning, throws your body out of alignment. The hormonal shifts, imbalances, and fluctuations in menopause may cause all the following: weight gain, night sweats, insomnia, thinning hair and skin, brittle nails, hot flashes, mood swings, lack of energy, forgetfulness, dryness, and loss of sex drive.
Why the weight gain? Fat cells contain an enzyme that creates estrogen – so the body tries to hold onto fat. Weight gain also results from high levels of cortisol. This is because cortisol interferes with insulin, a hormone that converts sugar in your blood to usable energy. Additionally, when your cortisol levels overshadow your DHEA hormones, you lose energy and feel fatigued.
Why might you have insomnia? Sex hormones regulate melatonin, a hormone that controls your circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycle. But when your sex hormone levels drop, the melatonin production increases, throwing off your sleep rhythms as well as encouraging depression.
Estrogen also has an impact on your body’s temperature regulation. A sudden fluctuation can trigger a hot flash. With mood swings, the culprit here is, once again, imbalanced estrogen levels. Estrogen receptors inside the brain increase neurotransmitter and synapse connectivity. Fluctuations of estrogen can cause neurotransmitters to fire unpredictably, creating seemingly unexplainable mood swings. Imbalanced hormone levels can become increasingly complex because sometimes the level of a hormone is not as important as its ratio to the other hormones. This is why we talk of “balancing” hormones rather than merely increasing them.
There’s been a lot of negative press recently about HRT for women. What do you think about that?
Most women over thirty-five years of age need some form of hormone supplementation, which can include testosterone, thyroid, and possibly others. This applies to women who have reached menopause as well as premenopausal women. Menopause is a hormone deficiency condition. We believe it is crucial to the health and well-being of every woman to replace these lost hormones with natural bioidentical hormones to maintain quality of life and prevent unnecessary suffering. Synthetic means the molecule is not natural to the human body. Human hormones are natural hormones whose molecules are identical to those made by humans.
What about the scandal involving athletes using growth hormones and steroids? Why is the use of growth hormones being questioned when there are so many benefits?
There exists a significant difference between physiologic optimization and abuse. Generally, athletes are young and vigorous and already performing at a very high level. These athletes do not have any partial hormonal deficiencies, so they take hormones to go way beyond the optimal physiologic range. Whether athletes take a testosterone derivative or growth hormone, there is a short-term benefit for performance, but the long-term detriment to their body exceeds the benefits. It is illegal to use hGH for bodybuilders, sports enhancement, or anti-aging. It is legal to treat adult Growth Hormone Deficiency.
Are you ever too old to start?
Age is not a barrier. Many “older” people, including those over 60 years, will ask this question thinking it is too late to begin a program. The answer is quite the opposite. Older people have greater deficiencies or partial deficiencies, therefore the response to hormone modulation and supplementation is excellent and almost immediate. It is important to note that early intervention can reduce the rapid advancement of diseases, such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. Less progress is to be expected when conditions such as these are advanced.