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What Is Skippers CornerHormone 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. Skippers Corner HRT replaces hormones your body no longer makes. It’s the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.
Menopause And Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy
Other improvements in the field of testosterone replacement therapy include different ways of administering testosterone. In the past, testosterone was taken in the form of pills. However, oral intake impacts the effectiveness of the therapy. Also, the medication has to be digested in the liver first before it is absorbed by the body. This dilutes the effect of the medicine and also puts the liver under tremendous stress. These days, testosterone is given through skin patches or injections so that absorption takes place transdermally.
Men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy are generally quite satisfied with the results they experience in terms of increased youthfulness, better muscle mass, lower body fat and of course, remarkable sex drive!
However, patients must be warned that they do not approach the therapy with unusually high expectations. The immediate effects of the therapy are quite intangible. Changes will be observed but these will be small changes only. Do not expect anything dramatic.
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.
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.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: What Is It?
Many women who are entering their middle years and going into menopause, or perimenopause as it's called, are confused about the hype surrounding something called HRT. HRT is an acronym for Hormone Replacement Therapy, and it's a therapy intended to treat or ease the annoying side effects of menopause by replacing the lost hormones, i.e. estrogen and progesterone, and occasionally even, testosterone. Confused yet? Good. But keep reading, anyway, it will get better... hopefully.
A lot of the confusion has to do with the usage of words such as "Natural," "Synthetic" and "Bioidentical." We all think we know the meaning of natural and synthetic - natural is good, synthetic is bad and bioidentical just sounds scary.
"Natural" hormones are created within a biological organism, be it human, animal or plant matter. To be considered "natural," a hormone must share the same characteristics as its real-body counterpart, in terms of its make-up, shape and structure. But bear this in mind; a popularly prescribed hormone called "Premarin" is a natural estrogen hormone, because it's made from a biological organism. Unfortunately, that organism happens to be a horse. Now, it's been quite a while since Biology 101 class, but I don't recall that humans and equines share any biological qualities that are interchangeable.
"Bioidentical" hormones are made entirely in the lab, but they are identical or a clone to the hormones you produce naturally in your body, and they do the same thing. Now, the compounds could come from any source, but the bottom line is, when they enter your body, they do exactly what your body would have done, no more and no less.
A "synthetic" hormone in produced or made in the laboratory by means of a process known as synthesis. But, just because a hormone is synthetic doesn't mean that it's bad, provided that it does exactly what it's supposed to do, in the same way that the body does it. Because it does exactly what it's supposed to, it's actually quite "natural."
The real concern is the clever advertising directing you to choose one hormone over another. "Natural" implies better for you than "synthetic" or "bioidentical," but that may not be the case.
All of that didn't help much, did it? Good, because you should be ever cautious about what you put into your mouth in the form of a pill, or slap onto your body via a patch. Hormone replacement therapy can and does work, but don't let the media or the marketers influence your decision.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) stated, "Results of a new Women's Health Initiative (WHI) report show that hormone therapy is associated with an increased the risk of death from breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women."
The news media immediately raised an alarm with headlines shouting the dangers of HRT, but what the media failed to mention was that the particular hormone replacement therapy being tested was a synthetic drug called Prempro. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy was not included in this study. The term bio-identical means it's a hormone from Mother Nature. Extracts from soybeans and yams are converted into a treatment that matches your own body's hormones exactly. Synthetic HRT is made from horse urine and therefore, not a natural hormone for humans. Well, now, all of the proponents of bio-identical HRT are shouting louder to be heard above the roar of controversy that this study caused, making things even more confusing than they already were.
Male Hormone Replacement Therapy: Andropause
Before starting upon testosterone replacement therapy, men need to have their prostate examined. This particular examination, typically conducted by urologists is to understand the condition of the prostate gland which is prone to cancer. Whilst cancer of the prostate is very common and usually harmless, any kind of irregularities, hypertrophy, or even urinary complaints must be identified and dealt with prior to beginning testosterone treatment.
Specifically, men need a PSA (prostate gland specific antigen) blood-work test. If the test's values are found to be raised, then a PSA-2 test may be ordered that may determine prostatic hypertrophy. Androgenic hormone not an option in men diagnosed with prostate cancer because testosterone may well aggravate the condition.
Men should continue doing this prostate and PSA testing every 6 months after the commencement of Testosterone Replacement Therapy or as directed by their doctor.
Androgenic hormone or testosterone is secreted by the testes the entire day and is metabolized by heavy physical work and stress. It is therefore normal for doctors to order the blood be drawn in the morning when life's demands have not yet affected the body's level. Further, it is normal for the doctor to do 2 blood tests over a period of time to take an average reading.
Once it has been determined that a testosterone deficiency does in fact exist, and that there are no prostate cancer risks preventing replacement therapy, decisions can be made about what is the best way to administer the treatment.