There is a long list of problems potentially related to hormone imbalances at different stages in a woman’s life. However, balancing the hormones (and not simply replacing them) – so that they are as close to normal as possible – can result in making the female patient feel calm and comfortable once more.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) aims to restore the balance in the endocrine system by replenishing insufficient hormone levels with hormones that are biologically identical to those that are missing.
The treatments needed differ at different times in a woman’s life. 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 requires the careful attention and supervision of a qualified and experienced professional.
Blood tests may sometimes be needed, in order to establish existing hormone levels. Your doctor will also need to have a full list of symptoms, to enable them to determine which symptoms might be related to which hormonal deficiency. A thorough medical history of the patient helps to create a clearer picture as well as give an understanding of the family history. After all, genetic-related issues can often give important clues, and help the doctor to prepare an action plan and prescription specific to the individual patient.
BHRT receives praise from an overwhelming majority of patients who decide to commence treatment. Even severe complications can disappear, but the effect will differ with each patient. Generally, those with more severe symptoms seem to have the most dramatic improvements. An individualised treatment plan is one of the keys to successful treatment with BHRT. Patients will need to be monitored during the therapy to keep track of their progress and to adjust their medication accordingly.
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 30s, 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 classically due lowered estrogen levels, usually accompanied by reduced production of the other hormones as well. These symptoms generally start in the mid-late 40s, but in some women, early menopause can occur at any time. 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 persistent 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
If you have any questions or wish to book a consultation, please contact us on 020 7078 0203.