HRT Cape Fear NC

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If you’re looking for relief from menopause symptoms, knowing the pros and cons of Cape Fear hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help you decide whether it’s right for you.

Estrogen Therapy

What Is Cape FearHormone Replacement Therapy?

HRT (also known as hormone therapy, menopausal hormone therapy, and estrogen replacement therapy) uses female hormones — estrogen and progesterone — to treat common symptoms of menopause and aging. Doctors can prescribe it during or after menopause.

After your period stops, your hormone levels fall, causing uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and sometimes conditions like osteoporosis. Cape Fear HRT replaces hormones your body no longer makes. It’s the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.

Male Hormone Replacement Therapy: Andropause

Best Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you don't want to participate in hormone replacement therapy while going through menopause, there are some things that you can do to help alleviate some of the symptoms. First, change your diet and eliminate any processed foods. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Hot flashes can be brought on by hot, spicy food so limiting these can definitely help. Limiting alcohol and caffeine will also help you sleep better and reduce hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety and mood swings. If you smoke, it may be time to consider stopping for a number of health reasons. Make sure to get plenty of rest and finally, exercise you be the most important thing you can do to help reduce or eliminate symptoms. Walking is great, so are running, golfing, swimming, biking, hiking and weight lifting. The more active you are, the easier it will be getting through menopause.

There are a number of menopause herbal supplements on the market that make big claims. Before taking anything, it is recommended you speak to your doctor to ensure they are right for you and won't cause other side effects.

The economics of bioidentical hormones

Why doesn't modern medicine use bioidentical hormones (hormones identical to what our body makes) to "replace" what is missing? It's sad to say, but the main reason is that there is no money in it.

Pharmaceutical companies can only patent what they invent in a laboratory. They are not able to patent what Nature makes. And its only through holding a patent on a drug that they can mark up the price enough to make a good profit.

(The mark up on drugs like Premarin and Prempro is very high, with mark up on many drugs upwards of 10,000%. Premarin is available in Europe for $8.95/100, in Canada for $22.46/100 in the United States for $55.42. Price variations for Prempro are $5.75/28 in Europe, $14.33/28 in Canada and $31.09/28 in the United States). These price variations begin to reveal the profit margins pharmaceutical companies have with these drugs. They are really a cash cow for these companies.

The average age for menopause is 51.4 years. This age has changed very little over the years. However, there is a long period of time prior to the menopause, that lasts approximately 10 years, which is referred to as the climacteric or peri-menopause phase.

So how does a person know when she has completed menopause and transitions into post-menopause? Once you have gone without menstruating for a consecutive 12 month period, then you are considered to have completed the menopause.

Until 2002 hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was routinely used to treat menopausal symptoms and protect long term health. So what changed in 2002? Well, there was a large clinical trial called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) that reported that HRT actually caused more health risks than benefits for the women in the trial. Doctors started to get very nervous about prescribing it to their patients and as a result, up to two-thirds of women discontinued its use, quite often without even discussing it with their physicians.

Even though there is still plenty of confusion surrounding HRT, it is still considered the most effective treatment for dealing with menopausal symptoms.

Male Hormone Replacement Therapy: Andropause

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy

The debate as to whether bio-identical hormone therapy trumps other forms of hormone therapies that seek to reverse the effects of menopause is still a raging one. The key here is to find out if the risks outweigh the benefits, or vise versa. The hormones in bio-identical therapy are chemically identical to your body's hormones. Although estrogen and progesterone from this therapy are not known to increase the risk of breast cancer, other constituent components, the likes of synthetic progestins; medroxyprogesterone acetate heighten that risk.

Although hormone therapy is a delicate balance, bio-identical therapy does have its benefits. It is known to result in lesser bleeding, but, like any hormone therapy; they don't have this same effect on everyone. A history in cancer, blood clots and other conditions are usually red flags for people considering bio-identical therapy. Some women tend not to respond to the therapy, as they should, laying testament to the fact that hormone therapy is far from an exact science.

Lifestyle is another key aspect of hormonal therapy that is perennially downplayed. In the same way that pathological smoking and alcohol consumption may speed up your transition to menopause, these habits could as well cause an adverse reaction to any type of hormonal therapy. Note that there are many variables here, ergo; one should consult a physician or pharmacist specialist before taking any steps. The efficacy of bio-identical therapy could be highly dependent on slight lifestyle changes that may make all the difference. Finally, bio-identical components are run through a rigorous quality assurance process, plant synthesized, and are fitted to suit individual hormonal needs.

Menopause occurs in middle age and brings along with it horrible symptoms such as hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and a decreased sex drive. These symptoms vary a lot between women, but the driving force behind menopause is caused by an imbalance of hormones.

These hormones help maintain steady levels of chemicals in a woman's bloodstream. It used to be that hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, was the gold standard for hormone imbalance treatment. Research then started show that females utilizing HRT were at greater risk of stroke, heart disease, breast cancer.

Drs. and patients are now taking a closer look at bio identical hormones. These hormones are generated from plant compounds and are identical to the hormones that are found in the human body. Some studies are showing that BH RT, which is short for bio identical hormone replacement therapy, is good at alleviating the symptoms of menopause with a very low side effect profile.

Until a few years ago, it was very common for women experiencing menopause to utilize hormone replacement therapy. But HRT has been shown to lead to fluid retention, dizziness, and headaches. A recent study by the Women's Health Initiative looked at 16,000 women between ages of 50 to 79. Over the five-year study, females who were utilizing HRT had almost 30% higher risk of breast cancer, up 26% higher risk of heart disease, and the risk of stroke was 41% higher.

Hormones that are bio identical tend to help protect against breast cancer. They also help increase libido, vitality, stamina, mood and energy level along with helping with attention and memory. Women are often able to sleep better and have less anxiety when taking bio identical's.

BHRT is not without controversy. Large-scale studies need to be accomplished in order to decide whether it truly is more effective than traditional HRT.

It used to be thought that menopause was mostly due to estrogen deficiency, however those levels fall only 40 to 60% during menopause whereas the levels of progesterone can drop to virtually nothing. Low progesterone can lead to a higher risk of and or mutual cancer that potentially breast cancer as well.

Low progesterone can also lead to women gaining weight, low bone density, difficulty sleeping and stress. All of these are reasons to incorporate hormone replacement into a menopause regimen, the question remains is whether or not B HR 28 is in fact the best way to go. So far, it looks extremely promising.

What You Should Know About Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones

Benefits Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hot flashes or flushes are described as a sudden feeling of warmth or heat within the body and often with associated sweating. A hot flash can be an intense feeling of heat usually in the upper half of the body but can be experienced in the lower half as well.

The exact cause of hot flashes isn't known but they do know that factors affecting the regulatory area of the brain, the hypothalamus, regulates body temperature. When the brain senses an increase in body temperature it will release chemicals which cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate in an attempt to release the heat. It is said that estrogen and testosterone allow the body to tolerate changes in core body temperature, therefore, as these hormones decrease in peri-menopause and menopause so does your body's ability to tolerate increased heat.

In my opinion this is only part of the problem. I believe it is more of an imbalance in the hormone family than just a decrease in estrogen and testosterone. In some women, when estrogen is balanced with progesterone, hot flashes decrease or stop altogether. Knowing what is out of balance will help you determine why you have hot flashes in the first place. Hot flashes are not normal, they are one of your body's very intelligent ways of communicating a larger problem.

Lifestyle, stress and dietary habits play a huge role in the occurrence and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. Known hot flash triggers are:

Caffeine

Physical, Emotional & Dietary Stress

Alcohol

Nicotine

Over the Counter Medications

Prescribed Medications

Obesity

Spices

Physical Inactivity

Heat

Know what your triggers are and attempt to avoid them as much as possible. Avoid closed, hot rooms and lower the temperature in your surroundings. Dress in layers and do not wear synthetic clothing as they trap the sweat. Cotton clothing allows your skin to breath. Increase your exercise routine to 30 minutes per day and get sound, quality sleep. Decreasing stress is a no-brainer but not so easy to do. Practice stress reducing techniques and mindfulness. Absolutely avoid processed foods including; boxed and canned goods, fast foods, enriched breads, sugars, sodas, etc. These non-foods put undue stress on your digestive system and ultimately your endocrine system (hormones).

So what's the problem with (HRT) Hormone Replacement Therapy? Most of us have heard the stories, read the articles and have seen the warnings. The possible side-effects of HRT are just a bit too scary for me. Breast and/or uterine cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and stroke being the most prominent. Unfortunately, some of you have even experienced one of these yourself. And, watch out ladies, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can be dangerous as well. Natural progesterone cream is sold over the counter and being used without knowing one's hormone levels. Hormone creams and gels must be used very carefully and monitored closely with appropriate testing. One of the many problems with using the transdermal creams and gels is that they are absorbed into the subcutaneous fat tissue where they build up and can eventually saturate the tissue and over time start to spill back into the system creating an overdose of the 'free fraction' of the hormone in the body. At this point your cells will down-regulate (not accept) the hormone and you will once again have the symptoms of deficiency while you actually have too much of the hormone in your system. Routine (serum bound) blood tests cannot accurately monitor the use of transdermal creams and gels. Testing must be performed in the free state, otherwise a person will be profoundly overdosed with 'free' hormone levels by the time the blood tests detect any significant changes. I have witnessed many a website advising the use of creams and gels without regard to the individual's symptoms, history or tested levels. This is totally irresponsible and a major problem for women looking for an end to the sometimes debilitating symptoms of menopause. When administering a hormone in a 'free' form you must test for and monitor the hormone in a 'free' form (saliva or serum free). Since hormones are interactive, the problem doesn't end here. Depending on the hormone being overdosed, multiple other imbalances will stream into the system. Hormones given in amounts that exceed normal physiologic needs will cause receptor cell down-regulation (the cells will not accept the hormone once the liver can no longer clear the excessive levels). In addition, Brain, HP (hypothalamus/pituitary) dysregulation is created and atrophy of the gland as well.

DHEA is also sold over the counter. You can literally go into a health food store and buy a bottle of 25 mg capsules of DHEA. Women should not take DHEA unless absolutely necessary. Women are especially sensitive to DHEA and will not tolerate DHEA if not needed, or if given in too large of an amount. In fact, the majority of men do not need 25 mg DHEA daily. What's the big deal? DHEA can boost estrogen levels or testosterone levels and for women that could mean facial hair, deeper voice, not to mention dys-regulating the steroid hormone family even more. Hormones are very powerful messengers in very tiny amounts. Start playing with the numbers and you could be creating some very serious health problems for yourself. This goes for the men as well. For men, when taking DHEA in higher than needed amounts it will convert to Estrogen.

OK, now that I've gone on and on what are some of the solutions? Medically, I've seen recommendations for prescription drugs such as Effexor, an anti-depressant which has been successful in relieving hot flashes in low doses. The two problems I see here is that #1, it is not solving the problem and #2, there are side-effects to every medication known. You're putting a band-aid on the problem and worse than that you will, in all probability, have a known or unknown side effect from the medication. They are now performing clinical trials on the drug Menerba. From what I can gather it is a plant based drug with 10 or 20 herbs, licorice being the major player. Hmmm, maybe I'll just try some licorice?

Let's look at some of the herbs that may be of value here:

Tribulus -

Indicated for hormonal support. Tribulus is known to boost male and female fertility and libido, enhance athletic performance, stamina and endurance, restore and build vitality, relieve menopausal symptoms and is helpful in male menopause.

Black Cohosh -

Is specific for menopausal symptoms such as reproductive problems, especially when accompanied by pain: amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, uterine pain, ovulatory pain, post-partum pain, testicular and prostatic pain, and menopausal symptomotology such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is mildly useful for hot flashes and is more effective when used with Chaste Tree, Motherwort, Licorice, and Dang Gui. Black Cohosh is contraindicated in pregnancy & low blood pressure.

Sarsaparilla -

This herb is getting a lot off attention for its' role in decreasing hot flashes. Although a cooling herb Sarsaparilla is more specific for inflammatory conditions of the skin, connective tissue, and bowels. That being said, it does clear blood heat and is used with other herbs to reducef hot flashes.

Red Clover -

The isolated isoflavones are being used to treat menopausal symptoms. Since it is a cooling herb it can help reduce hot flashes.

Licorice - Contains isoflavones and is used for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. More effective when used with Chastetree, Black Cohosh, Motherwort, and Sage. High doses of Licorice is contraindicated in people with high blood pressure.

Soy - I'm going to be very opinionated here. I don't believe soy is meant for human consumption, there is a tremendous amount of controversy about the efficacy of soy and about the fact that is does not digest in the human body. BTW, soy is not an herb.

Wild Yam - What can I say, some experts swear by it and others say that is has no real benefit for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.

When using herbs be sure to purchase your herbs from a known and reputable source. Do a bit of research to be sure the herb is not contraindicated with any medications and/or physical challenges you may have.

No matter how long you have been suffering with hot flashes and/or other symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause, it's not too late to stop hot flashes now. The good news is - You can begin by knowing your triggers and avoiding them. Eat a healthy well balanced diet. Find a qualified herbalist or hormone specialist and discover your hormonal levels so that you can begin the balancing act for a healthier and happier you.


North Carolina HRT