What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Patients interested in a more natural approach to hormone therapy often turn to compounded bio identical hormone therapy ( CBHT), hormones that are chemically identical to those produced naturally in the body. It is estimated that 1/3 of US women currently using menopausal hormone therapy are taking CBHT (source: BMC Womens Health. 2017;17:97). Bio-identical hormones can be administered in several ways, including but not limited to capsules, troches, topical creams, and pellets – all are available by prescription from this office.
“Why do I feel this way?”
“I have no energy! I’m exhausted all the time! I’m moody, anxious, depressed, I don’t sleep well, and I have night sweats. I can’t lose weight. I have absolutely no interest in sex. What’s wrong with me?” Do any of these symptoms of hormone deficiency sound familiar? Fatigue, night sweats, moodiness, anxiety, decreased motivation, decreased libido, decreased mental clarity, depressed mood, muscle aches and joint pain, and headaches are all symptoms of hormone imbalance. It’s common for testosterone-deficient men and women to sleep fitfully, often waking during the night and unable to go back to sleep. Cloudy thinking and impaired memory (“brain fog”) is commonly experienced as well. Patients who are administered therapeutic levels of testosterone generally report improvement in sleep patterns, increased mental sharpness, and overall improved well-being, along with relief of most or all of the symptoms listed above.
For many women, the symptoms mentioned above start in their early 40s, increasing after menopause. Many think it’s just because they’re getting older. However, the cause is often a gradual decline in testosterone levels, often with imbalances in estrogen and progesterone. Add in thyroid issues and poor nutritional and exercise habits, and it’s understandable that quality of life, well-being, and health have declined. If at some point they had a “complete” hysterectomy, the onset of symptoms was accelerated. Many women report these symptoms to their physician and find themselves on a sleeping pill, an antidepressant, and yet another prescription for anxiety. Because these treatments fail to address the underlying problem, they still don’t feel right.
Most women understand the need for estrogen. Estrogen levels fall at menopause, resulting in hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Testosterone, however, is equally important to well-being, declining gradually with age, and more rapidly after menopause. Both hormones drop precipitously if the ovaries are removed surgically. The use of birth control pills, the progesterone IUD, and implantable progesterone contraception also result in adverse symptoms in many women due to the suppression of hormones. For most physicians, supplementation of estrogen (along with artificial progesterone) is the only tool available to them to improve menopausal symptoms in women.
Testosterone therapy, given with estrogen and progesterone (when indicated) has been reported by patients to dramatically improve their well-being and quality of life.