Annapolis Integrative Medicine
1819 Bay Ridge Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403
Safe and Effective: Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
Bio-identical hormone replacement is a method of balancing and optimizing the hormonal status of men and women, offering a wide array of health benefits. This article will focus on treatment of women, though the same benefit is available to men with testosterone.
This is achieved by using plant-base hormones that are chemically and molecularly identical to the hormones that are native to the human body. It is important to draw this distinction because many of the hormones that have been studied and that (legitimately) aroused concern about the safety of hormone therapy have been hormones that are synthetic and do not necessarily belong in the human body and do not promote optimal health, or are actually hormones from other mammals such as horses.
There are various means of hormone replacement. Sub-dermal pellet therapy offers a 3-5 month supply of hormone with one brief procedure using pellets about the size of a grain of rice. This allows for use and metabolism of the hormones in a way that optimize benefits and reduce the risk of adverse effects.
While some women do very well in menopause with just a few symptoms, the majority have a very difficult time with it. Common symptoms (which can be alleviated by pellet therapy) include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, brain fog and mood issues, weight gain, joint pain, absence of libido, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness and hair loss.
While testosterone is generally thought of as a male hormone, prior to menopause women actually produce more testosterone than estrogen. Utilizing both testosterone and estradiol as pellets along with oral progesterone allows for improvement in sleep, decrease in hot flashes and night sweats, heightened libido and sexual pleasure, and a greater sense of well being. Judicious use of hormones greatly improves cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and bone health. The doses of the hormones are customized to each individual patient based on their labs, health history and other metrics.
The most common concern about this type of therapy is regarding cancer and blood clots. This type of therapy does not increase the risk of breast cancer and actually may decrease the risk of invasive breast cancer, and unlike in oral hormone therapy there is zero increase in risk of blood clots.
The choice to utilize the option of hormone therapy is an individual one and should be reviewed with a physician that is experience and that you trust. Using the lowest effective dose can make an enormous difference in one’s health.