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What Is WrightsboroHormone 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. Wrightsboro HRT replaces hormones your body no longer makes. It’s the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.
Bioidentical Hormones - The Truth About Using Them During Menopause
Testosterone is a major player in the complex mielu of hormones (cellular messengers) that direct our bodies to function. In men who are over the age of 40, there is a significant drop in this level of this hormone. Until recently it was considered taboo to replace this important hormone. But today forward thinking anti-aging specialists realize what scientific studies over the past decade have taught us.
As with women who have gone through the change of life, replacement of their sexual hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) enact major health benefits such as osteoporosis prevention, heart disease prevention and increases in cognitive function. Likewise for older male subjects the benefits of the addition of testosterone under careful physician management is a crucial aspect of maintaining good health. I wish in this article to dispel some misconceptions about Testosterone Replacement Therapy and provide a list to readers of the benefits of this simple and safe treatment.
First of all there is overwhelming evidence in the scientific literature that testosterone does not cause prostate cancer. In actuality it is the unbalanced estrogen excess in man that is implicated in prostate cancer.
The caveat here is that once there is prostate cancer, testosterone which is an anabolic (building) hormone can promote cancer growth, but contrary to the popular belief, even within the medical field, it does not cause cancer. With advancing age Testosterone levels drop while estrogen levels rise and compete for binding sites on the prostate gland as well as other cells in the body causing a hormonal havoc.
Such problems as an increase in adipose tissue with midsection obesity, a decrease in muscle mass, generalized hormonal imbalances (growth hormone, estrogen, thyroid), depression, increased cholesterol and lipid dysfunction, glucose and insulin imbalance, decreased coronary artery elasticity, elevated blood pressure and loss of a feeling of well being result from low testosterone levels. Supplementing Testosterone in the appropriate candidates reverses these unwanted outcomes, but it is not as simple as taking a pill. There are enzymes in our body that can change exogenous testosterone into other undesirable hormones such as Estrodiol and DHT. Therefore, a physician that understands the balancing act and has the ability to monitor these other hormones is best to treat such a disorder.
Along with the correct replacement modality (cream, gel or patch) there are other considerations which halt the trend of testosterone conversion and these are usually supplemented along with testosterone. Such supplements are Saw palmetto, Zinc and Nettle extract to name a few. In a recent study of the Androderm patch after a 12-month period a depression score dropped by nearly one half with testosterone replacement alone. Again men with complaints of fatigue receiving testosterone in one study had symptoms of fatigue drop for 79% to 10%. A Medline medical literature search reveals many more positive outcomes of testosterone replacement. For those interested in finding out more about their bodies, there is a non-invasive home testing kit available at the Saleeby Longevity Institute which allows men to evaluate the levels of testosterone in circulation.
Andropause the male menopause
by J.P. Saleeby, MD
It wasn't until 2002 that the true health risks of hormone replacement therapy were discovered and communicated openly. Up until that time, doctors routinely prescribed HRT to women who were experiencing any sort of menopause symptoms. The most common symptoms where HRT was used were for severe hot flashes and vaginal discomfort. Hot flashes for some women can be extreme where visible sweating occurs while the body attempts to cool it self off. Hot flashes tend to be most severe during the late evening and early in the morning. There are often accompanied by night sweats.
Before women agree to hormone replacement therapy, they need to be fully aware of the health risks associated with this treatment. The combination of estrogen and progestin, a popular HRT, can result in heart disease, blood clots, strokes, breast cancer and dementia. In fact, if you are a breast cancer survivor, any sort of hormone replacement therapy is discouraged strongly even if you suffer from severe menopause symptoms.
HRT is effective at reducing the severity of menopause symptoms as well as decreasing the risk of hip fractures from osteoporosis and colorectal cancer. If you opt to participate in HRT treatment, it is recommended that you go for the smallest dosage possible for the shortest length of time to reduce your risk of the above side effects.
Bioidentical hormones are often synthesized from plants, and processed to make them resemble, or become entirely identical to the hormones within our bodies. Bioidentical hormone preparations are often compounded by pharmacists, with respect to the quantity recommended by the doctor.
We have a conflict of interest here with the pharmaceutical industry, because they are unable to patent human hormones that are molecularly identical to actual substances in the body. Therefore everything that you hear about bioidentical hormones must be viewed with a skeptic eye, because of the pharmaceutical companies massive influence over the health industry.
These hormones are mainly used by females, to alleviate the signs and symptoms of menopause. A scientific study compared the usage of bioidentical progesterone cream to placebo, and learned that women using the cream experienced a massive decrease in symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. The cream had no effect on bone mineral density though.
Bioidentical hormones are generally prescribed as a healthier replacement for regular hormone replacement therapy, which has been proven to have serious adverse effects. Many people have voiced their criticism about this kind of treatment because it hasn't been analyzed extensively enough in clinical studies.
However, some scientific studies have demonstrated that these hormones are indeed healthier and also bring less risk of adverse effects than the synthetic versions. This includes significantly less risk of blood clots as well as cancer, the two primary issues concerning conventional hormone replacement therapy.
It's imperative that you realize that these types of hormones haven't been studied as extensively as the standard, artificial ones. This is very understandable because the main sources of research funds are the drug companies, and they have absolutely no interest in studying a substance that can not be patented or marketed for massive price tags.
Unfortunately, because scientific studies are missing, it is not easy to find details about the side effects of bioidentical hormones in the literature, but it appears obvious how the side effects tend to be less severe than with regular hormone replacement therapy.
I'm not really thrilled about individuals playing around with the hormones in their bodies, because this might have unpredictable consequences. If the symptoms of menopause are leading to big problems in that case bioidentical hormones can be a safe alternative to standard treatment.
I would personally also suggest using as little of them as possible, for as brief a time as possible. Menopause is really a natural occurrence that happens with getting older, and even though treatment methods are possible, doesn't mean they're always the right thing to do.
Make sure that if you are undergoing any kind of hormonal treatment, to do it under supervision by a physician who has knowledge of these matters, hormones are nothing to play around with.
Estrogen, Progesterone, And Cancer
A point of confusion for some people is the difference between side effects and risks when taking a prescriptive drug. This is certainly true when it comes to hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT refers to synthetic hormones prescribed primarily to relieve menopause related complaints such as hot flashes, night sweats, erratic periods, excessive bleeding during perimenopause, etc.
Risks associated with HRT
There are long term risks associated with taking prescriptive hormones as part of replacement therapy. You may have taken prescriptive hormones for years with no side effects whatsoever, and they may have dramatically relieved your menopausal hot flashes, sweats and other complaints. Yet you are now at greater risk for a variety of serious illnesses including breast cancer, uterine cancer, stroke and heart attack to name a few. These are the risks associated with HRT. Research studies have found so many serious risks associated with hormone replacement therapy that most medical doctors are unwilling to routinely prescribe hormone replacement for relief of menopause related complaints. Rightly so, they don't want to put their patient's at risk for life threatening conditions.
Let's look more closely at the risks associated with replacement therapy. Much of our knowledge of these risks comes from the Women's Health Initiative, a study that tracked the health of thousands of women, some taking hrt and others not. The study was eventually stopped as it became clear that there was a dramatically increased risk of breast cancer among the women undergoing HRT. Because of the complex nature of the study, the results are difficult to summarize succinctly. Numerous other studies have also clarified the risks and benefits associated with hormone replacement. Here is a broad picture of the level of risk associated with hormone replacement, followed by the benefits.
Hormone replacement therapy risks
- Breast cancer risk increased by 24 percent with combined estrogen / progestin HRT
- Risk of ischemic stroke increased by 41 percent with medium to high dose HRT, but much less risk with ultra low dose hormone replacement
- Heart attack risk increases by 29 percent for those taking HRT
- Slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer when only estrogen is taken for more than 10 years
- Twenty-one percent increased risk of kidney stones
- Higher risk of developing gall stones
Hormone replacement benefits
- Relief of menopause related complaints
- Increases bone density
- Reduces risk for colon-rectal cancer
- Decreases risk of macular (eye) degeneration and loss of vision associated with aging
The side effects of HRT
Side effects are generally considered to be any temporary complaints that are experienced while taking a drug. Side effects often resolve soon after stopping the medication. Using this description, the side effects of hormone replacement are not well known. These side effects vary depending on which combination of hormones one is taking and the specific synthetic forms used. Some of the more common side effects of prescriptive forms of estrogen, progesterone and combinations of both are as follows.
- Breast pain, enlargement and tenderness is associated with the stimulatory effect of estrogen
- Nausea and vomiting with the use of estrogen HRT taken by mouth
- Vaginal bleeding can occur in association with oral estrogen
- Darkened skin spots tend to occur on the face
- Headaches of a migraine type are associated with taking synthetic progesterone or progestins
- Depression is a common complaint that is found to be a result of taking progestins
- Greasy skin and acne are also associated with progestin use
Women are wisely looking for alternatives to hormone replacement. Fearing the risks associated with it, added to the side effects of prescriptive hormones, they are not too excited by it. Researchers and academics argue for and against hormone replacement.
The author's of a 2008 study titled the Women's International Study of Long-Duration Oestrogen after the Menopausesuggested that their study demonstrated such significant benefits for relief of menopause complaints that HRTshould be reconsidered by many women.
One of their colleagues (not an author of the study) reviewed the results of their study and came up with the opposite conclusion. Underscoring her concerns regarding the risks of hormone replacement therapy, Professor Anne Kavanagh of the University of Melbourne recently countered their claims as to the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Professor Kavanagh points out that the study did not show and overall improvement in the "quality of life" for women in the study.
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.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Often a clinic that specializes in "Hormone Replacement Therapy" is immediately regarded as an "estrogen" or "testosterone" clinic implying the patients are there for "sexual dysfunction". That simply is not the case if one is going to a "hormonal wellness clinic" or "science based HRT clinic". The reason for the reference by many to the sexual side is much of the discussion centers on what is known as male or female hormones related to sexual functions and sexual male/female characteristics. There are many more hormones than those two, and even those two may require the use of other hormones, specifically DHEA, to effectively assimilate those two hormones into our system properly.
My personal experience has been I go to my medical doctor, actually his experience/training is as an emergency room doctor, and Dr. Hummel analyzes a vast array of hormones and other chemicals to assess whether my body is meeting the minimum demands for hormones for me to live healthy. He looks at the typical blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, testosterone, thyroid function and many more. A baseline is established so the results of hormonal supplements, if needed, can be monitored and measured. If hormones or other medications, such as statins, is warranted then those are prescribed. Several weeks/months later new blood work is ordered to verify the underlying unhealthy pathologies are reversing and improving.