Wellness and Bio- Identical Hormones
There is a long list of problems potentially related to hormone imbalances at different stages woman’s lives. Balancing hormones (not just replacing them) as close to normal as possible can result in women feeling calm and comfortable. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) restores the balance in the endocrine system by replenishing missing hormones with hormones that are biologically identical to the ones that are missing.
The treatments needed differ at different times in women lives. These can be broadly referred to as pre-menopause, peri-menopause, menopause, and then post-menopause, and reflect declining or changing hormone levels.
Symptoms that are related to reduced or imbalanced hormone levels stop altogether, or get suppressed enough to allow women to get back on track with their lives. As with any therapy, this one requires the careful attention of a qualified and very experienced professional, to try to determine which hormone should be replaced at what time and at what dose.
Blood tests are usually needed to establish levels of hormones, and the doctor needs to have a full list of symptoms to try to determine which symptoms might be related to which hormonal deficiency. A thorough medical history of the patient helps create a clearer picture as well as the family history. Genetic related issues often can give important clues for the doctor to prepare an action plan and prescription specific to each patient.
Patients will need to be monitored during the therapy to keep track of their progress and to adjust their medication.
BHRT receives praises from an overwhelming majority of patients who decide to commence treatment. Even severe complications can disappear, but the effect will be different for each patient. Generally, patients with more severe symptoms seem to have the most dramatic improvements. An individualized treatment plan is one of the keys to successful treatment with BHRT.
Conditions which have been found to respond well to treatment with BHRT include :
- Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
- Thyroid problems
- Depression and Anxiety
- Polycystic Ovaries and Ovarian Cysts (PCO)
- Post-natal depression (PND)
Each woman can present with a different set of symptoms, at different ages, depending on the relative levels of each of the sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA.
Symptoms of pre-menopause usually arise from a relative progesterone deficiency. These symptoms may start in the early 30’s, and include :
- Poor sleep quality anxiety
- Worsening pre-menstrual symptoms like tender breasts, generalized bloatedness
- Gradual weight gain
- Reducing libido
- Alteration in mood
Symptoms around peri-menopause arise from fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. These symptoms can start at any age, but usually during the 40’s, and include :
- Irregular periods
- Low libido
- Brain fogginess and forgetfulness
Symptoms of menopause are clasically due lowered estrogen levels. These symptoms generally sart in the mid-late 40’s, but in some women, early menopause can occur at anytime. The symptoms include:
- Hot flashes and sweats
- Reduced or no libido
- Irregular or no periods
- Worsening migraines,
- Rapid heartbeat, cardiovascular complications
- Vaginal dryness, itching, urinary complications, painful intercourse
- Muscle pain, joint pain, back pains, thinning of bone structure
- Skin related issues, dry, itchy, burning, general thinning of skin, swelling, tenderness
- Mental symptoms: depression, fatigue, tiredness, moodiness, irritability, sleeping disorders
Symptoms of post-menopause are due to a decline of all hormones, estrogen, progestreone, DHEA and testosterone. These symptoms usually occur in the mid 50’s, but can be later and include:
- No periods for more than 12 months
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Osteopenia or osteoporosis