Hormones are an essential part of life. They’re what keep us feeling energetic, active, and strong when we’re younger. However, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone begin to decrease during the aging process, usually around age 30. Symptoms of a hormone imbalance will differ for men and women, but could include night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, low libido (sex drive), irritability, joint and muscle pain, anxiety, and depression— to name a few.
There are a number of different treatment options for men and women with hormone imbalances. Hormones used in treatment may be natural (derived from plants) or synthetic (derived from animals). Historically, many patients who use creams or gels that use synthetic hormones report poor or minimal relief.
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a therapy in which steroid-based hormones and derivatives of the yam plant or soy (giving rise to the term natural) have been compounded by pharmacies to create structurally identical hormones to our endogenous hormones. These hormones can bind with the hormone receptors in our bodies as an identical match! This “marrying” of the hormones with the receptor sites results in relief of most symptoms suffered from hormone imbalances. This treatment is administered as an implant just below the surface of the skin that dissolve slowly over time. The implant is about half a grain of rice for women and slightly larger for men. One implant usually lasts between four-six months.
If you believe you or someone you know may have a hormone imbalance, it’s important to get it checked out. When identifying and diagnosing a hormone imbalance, blood work, your symptom checklist, and a detailed medical history will be used to plan an individualized therapy. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy provides longer lasting symptom relief, without the yo-yoing effect of creams, troches, pills, injections, and gels. Studies and publications are educating the public on how BHRT not only improves symptom relief, but can help protect the body as well.
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is currently not recommended for patients with a direct history of breast cancer. For more information call Internal Health and Medical Services (901) 421-5174.
Margaret Henderson-Lee, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC is a Primary Care Provider/Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Specialist at Internal Health and Medical Services, located at 2289 West Street in Germantown. (901) 421-5174