What is “natural” hormone replacement therapy?
Hormones control every function in your body – from energy and metabolism, to mood, fertility and sex drive, from vitality and strength to appetite and sleep, from how you gain or lose weight to your mental and physical endurance – hormones keep us alive!
Several factors have an impact on hormonal balance: inadequate nutrition, digestive system disturbances and the environment, as well as physical and emotional stress. These factors can result in infertility, PMS, irregular menstrual cycles, difficult menopause or andropause, low mood and irritability, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, low sex drive, weak bones, insomnia as well as thinning and aging skin.
Natural or “bio-identical” hormones mimic the body’s own hormones closely have been used successfully to treat these concerns for many years. These natural hormones are most often extracted from plant sources like soy and wild yams, and thus are chemically identical to the hormones your body naturally makes.
Inherently, determining which bio-identical hormones will be used in treatment requires a method as unique as you are – the treatment is different for every individual and is customized to specifically improve your unique symptoms. The hormonal treatment is then carefully monitored by laboratory studies and adjusted to suit your individual needs.
What are Bio-identical Hormones? by Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram
Dr. Mohan Ram briefly explains what bio-identical hormones are, and the purpose they serve.
As we age, our bodies’ production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which help maintain youthful vitality, decreases. Bioidentical hormone therapy is the process of replacing human hormones that have naturally declined. They have the exact same molecular structure as the hormones which you naturally produce in the body and are made from natural ingredients as prescribed by a Naturopathic Physician.
Regardless of which hormones are deficient in your body, a Naturopathic Physician, with the aid of the appropriate hormone tests, may help determine which hormones you need, and in which doses. At Cross Roads Naturopathic Clinic, a Naturopathic Physician will go through a comprehensive individual medical assessment and test you for the levels of your hormones. Based on the test results, they will then customize a treatment plan of specific bio-identical hormones for you.
How may Bio-identical Hormones Help?
There may be many benefits to using Bio-identical Hormones, namely:
Helping improve mood by alleviating depression, anxiety or mood swings
Helping decrease wrinkles by increasing the deposition of collagen and elastin in the skin
Helping with weight loss by increasing healthy muscle mass
Helping with hair loss and dry skin
Helping improve memory and mental acuity
Helping decrease the risk of osteoporosis while increasing bone density
Helping improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease
Helping the body get into proper sleep/wake cycles or circadian rhythms
Helping improve the immune system fight off infections or repair damaged tissues
Is Bio-identical Hormone Therapy right for me?
As women and men enter their 40’s and 50’s, the bodies’ production of hormones slowly decreases. The individual effects of menopause and andropause vary, but both women and men may benefit from personalized or individualized dosages of bioidentical hormones over their lifetime.
Hormone replacement therapy programs help address the following conditions and symptoms:
ELEVATED ADRENAL (CORTISOL) LEVELS
One of the body’s stress responses is to elevate cortisol levels, which is produced by the adrenal glands. Elevated cortisol can lead to binge eating, intense cravings and the inability to lose weight.
Testosterone deficiency is usually associated with male patients; however, women can be testosterone deficient too. Testosterone deficiency can result in low libido, weight gain, decreased energy, depression and memory troubles.
Progesterone is a steroid hormone that needs to be in balance with estrogen for optimal health. When progesterone is deficient, women can experience difficulty losing weight, erratic monthly cycles, depression, insomnia and anxiety.
ADRENAL FATIGUE SYNDROME
Chronically high stress levels can result in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, which leads to symptoms that include salty food cravings, feeling burned out, mental and physical fatigue, difficulty getting out of bed, lack of motivation, insomnia and headaches. Restoring adrenal hormone levels with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can allow men and women to resolve the symptoms associated with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
Your thyroid controls many of your body’s functions. A low thyroid level, which is common in people over the age of 40, can cause weight gain, brittle hair and dull skin. Therefore, both males and females over the age of 40 should be screened for thyroid hormone deficiency.
Insufficient production of thyroid hormone often leads to hypothyroidism, which brings on symptoms that include intolerance to cold, depression, fatigue, thinning hair, irregular periods, goiter, constipation and weight gain. Restoring thyroid hormone levels with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can reduce the consequences of hypothyroidism.
Superabundant amounts of thyroid hormone excretion lead to hyperthyroidism, which causes symptoms such as increased heart rate, weight loss, panic attacks, nervousness, anxiety, increased bowel movements and bulging eyes. Correcting thyroid hormone imbalances with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can reverse the effects of hyperthyroidism.
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Mimicking several symptoms of the flu, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often brings on symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, a chronic sore throat, body aches, joint pain with no swelling, headaches, insomnia and exhaustion that lasts more than twenty-four hours. Numerous hormones are involved in regulating and strengthening the immune system. Balancing these hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can resolve or eliminate many symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder that most commonly occurs in women over the age of fifty. This illness causes symptoms that include mental fogginess, tender points, body aches, fatigue, alternating constipation with diarrhea, bladder disturbances and joint pain. Certain hormones work to reduce pain sensitivity in the body, and when they are deficient, increased pain or inflammation may occur. Balancing hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
Alternating constipation and diarrhea are not problems that solely depend on food sensitivities and the digestive tract; valuable hormones, such as thyroid hormone, cortisol, and insulin play a role in digestion before food enters the gut. They also regulate the nervous system, which gives the gut orders to stop or induce intestinal contractions that move food through them. Reducing stress and balancing hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help to improve digestive and bowel function.
Degenerating hormone levels that plague women during menopause or perimenopause are often to blame for vaginal dryness, inability to climax and low libido. In men, low libido and erectile dysfunction are common consequences of hormonal deficiencies or imbalances experienced during andropause. Rectifying hormone levels with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help men and women to restore sexual function and a healthy libido.