Wilmington North Carolina HRT Specialists
Bioidentical hormone therapy, when used for the first time, has potential side effects as the body is not used to the new level of hormones. Most of these side effects are also linked to dosage, and it is advisable as your hormones improve, you adjust and in the case of further changes you should contact your physician. One should not confuse side effects with risks common to those who take hormones especially hormone therapy (HT). In older women, the consistent use of hormone therapy can lead to heart diseases and breast cancer while in other people mainly in a youthful state; risks are blood clots, stroke, and gallbladder disease. Below are common side effects of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
• There is increased aggressiveness in both men and women during the first time of using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but problems are resolved as levels become balanced
• There are side effects in women related to breast tenderness, cramping, bloating, and spotting in the body. This side effect is tied to the treatment of hormone estrogen, but it is resolved as hormones are balanced
• Patients commonly complain of itching and redness at the injections, but symptoms disappear as the body adjusts to treatment.
Bioidentical Hormones - What Are They?
A follow up study to the Women's Health Initiative showed that not only did it increase the risk of breast cancer, but that the type of breast cancer was more deadly. Other studies show that HRT also increases risk for gall stones, kidney stones, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine bleeding.
Side effects of HRT
While the press has spoken more about the risks of HRT recently, one doesn't hear much about side effects. Shorter term complaints or side effects that women have with HRT include nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding, skin discoloration (particularly patches on the face), headaches, depression, anxiety, nervousness and irritability, fluid retention and bloating, acne and greasy skin.
It's not a very rosy picture. The majority of women are now deciding against hormone replacement therapy for relief of menopausal complaints. Instead they are turning to natural approaches such as herbs that contain estrogen like molecules, and estrogen rich foods.
You've probably heard such terms as perimenopause and postmenopause floated around. These are menopausal terms that refer to the transition into, and out of menopause. It's a normal part of life, one experienced by every woman, at some point. Menopause is characterized by cessation of hormone production of the hormones involved with the regulating of a woman's menses. With the resulting changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone there are usually changes in a woman's body. There are certain common symptoms; hot flashes, depression and being short tempered. But the level and degree of the various symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis, and may not occur in some women at all.
Peri-menopause lays the groundwork for menopause. The symptoms here may begin years before you experience your last menstrual period and may last up to a year after that. Post-menopause is what you go through after a year without your period-and lasts for the rest of your life. The average age is still an object of debate, some women tend to go well past their 50's, while some barely get to their 40's before it starts. It all varies based on lifestyle choices, genetics and habits among other influencing factors. Some women may have needed to get their 'tubes tied' or their uterus removed but even this does not guarantee a free pass. The ovaries still produce hormones, and they may eventually still experience these symptoms.
The Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
The existing methods of delivery currently include injection, pills, patches, or gel.
Of the injection method, normally it is done either weekly or fortnightly - but the concern is that there will be peaks and troughs of testosterone levels between the last and next injection. These rises and falls of testosterone level can mean high energy and motivation immediately following the injection, gradually waning to lethargy and perhaps even depression leading up to the next injection.
The pills method also has its problems, because the digestive process. Taking pills causes a mass flood of testosterone to be sent to the liver, which is not about it and metabolizes it into estrogen which defeats the whole purpose. The bottom-line is that you are swallowing a lot more testosterone than ever enters your bloodstream.
Patches do provide a regular supply of testosterone directly into your bloodstream via the skin, the only real down-side with them is skin irritation caused by the patches. Rotating to new sites every day can reduce this.
If you truly must have replacement therapy, then without doubt gel is the best of all options. If provides a steady release every day of the hormone into your blood through the skin, and it has no skin irritation side effects.
Better still would be to consider boosting your own production of testosterone using dietary supplements.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy - What Are the Benefits?
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.