An unavoidable side-effect of aging is the new fluctuations in our hormones. The diminished production of key hormones is a problem that affects both men and women, and it often leads to feeling inexplicably out of sorts. Luckily, medical advancements have helped isolate the cause of these hormone imbalances and have found an answer in bioidentical hormone therapy. At Angelic Lift in Daytona Beach, FL, we proudly offer this therapy as a way to restore balance to changing hormone levels.
If you find the idea of hormone therapy a little intimidating, you’re not alone. For the benefit of patients like you, we have put together a simple guideline of everything you need to know about bioidentical hormone therapy. Take the time to familiarize yourself with this treatment before you call our office to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
On its face, hormone therapy is exactly what it sounds like – therapy for your hormones that is designed to restore balance to the natural chemical levels. Hormone therapy is a minimally invasive treatment in which a hormone pellet is inserted into the skin, usually near the hip or buttocks region. Because hormone therapy is a medical treatment, it must be performed by a registered and certified practitioner, such as the experts at our office.
In any kind of hormone therapy, the goal is to supply the body with hormones that it otherwise does not produce enough of. For this kind of hormone therapy, the main treatment is to identify which hormone level is too low in the body and replace it with a bioidentical hormone. In a way, this kind of hormone therapy is like a blood transfusion. By supplying the body with bioidentical hormones, you can return your body to its normal state of hormone balance and undo many of the side effects associated with imbalanced hormone levels.
Are Imbalanced Hormones a Problem?
The short answer to this question is yes. Imbalanced hormones are responsible for a range of subjectively negative side effects. Aside from leaving you feeling caught in a perpetual state of unease brought about by drastic changes in your normal bodily processes, imbalanced hormones are also the cause of physical and purely aesthetic changes.
There are many bodily processes that are directly derailed by hormonal imbalances. Understandably, the internal bodily processes that are impacted by hormonal imbalances are reason enough to feel like a stranger in your own body. The effects you may feel from these changes include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Decrease in libido
- Sleep disturbance
- Temperature changes, such as hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Memory changes
- Trouble concentrating
Imbalanced hormones are also associated with noticeable physical changes. These physical changes are surface signs of the imbalances that are happening within the body. For some, the physical changes associated with hormonal imbalances are a greater cause of distress than changes to the bodily process. The physical changes that are caused by imbalanced hormones include:
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and hair loss
- Dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Inability to sustain an erection
- Excess sweating
In a body with an ideal balance, hormones act as messengers that help regulate all processes in the body, from mood and memory to the maintenance of homeostasis, like temperature regulation and digestion. Bodies that have imbalanced hormones essentially have flawed and faulty messengers, which leads to the negative changes that are associated with hormone fluctuation.
Hormonal imbalances are inefficient, stressful, and cause many problems that directly impact daily living. This is why hormone imbalances are considered a problem for many people.
Gender and Hormone Therapy
Regardless of gender, every human body produces the same hormones, however biological gender is determined by the exact amount of estrogen or testosterone produced in the body. Although men and women experience many of the same negative side effects associated with imbalanced hormones, it is important that hormone therapy is personalized for each gender.
The idea behind bioidentical therapy is to replace naturally lost hormones. This is different from cross-sex hormone replacement therapy, which seeks to introduce higher levels of opposite-sex hormones to prompt changes in secondary sex characteristics. Bioidentical therapy only replaces hormones that have been lost.
Let’s look at the differences between hormone therapy for women and hormone therapy for men.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Women
Hormone replacement therapy for women primarily uses estrogen. At our office, we use estrogen pellets to deliver the hormone into your system. Hormone therapy for women has many benefits, both for restoring bodily processes and for managing physical changes that happen during menopause. The main benefits of hormone therapy for women include:
- Less fatigue
- Better sleep and memory
- Less dryness of the skin
- Fewer mood swings
- Less hot flashes
- Less bloating
- Better weight management
- Improved hair health
- Stronger bones
- Improved libido
For women, many of the hormonal changes caused by perimenopause and menopause are obvious and disturbing. Changes in mood and frequent hot flashes are the most common symptoms that women notice. However, with menopause comes an increased risk of osteoporosis, weight gain that is difficult to manage, and dry skin. Hormone therapy for women using estrogen pellets can greatly improve many of these symptoms.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Men
Hormone replacement therapy for men uses testosterone to correct hormonal imbalances. At our office, we use testosterone pellets as a means of delivering the hormone to your body. Hormone therapy for men has many bodily process and physical benefits. Typically, hormone therapy for men is done to address the changes brought about by andropause. The main benefits of hormone therapy for men include:
- Less fatigue
- Better sleep and memory
- Improved mood, especially depression
- Less sweating
- Less bloating
- Better weight management
- Less hair loss
- Improved libido
For men, the hormonal changes caused by andropause are sometimes less obvious – and they are certainly less talked about. The most common and obvious sign of hormonal imbalances caused by andropause is a significantly reduced libido, including the ability to sustain arousal. Andropause is also a heavy contributor to hair loss, negative mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. Hormone therapy for men using testosterone pellets can vastly improve these symptoms.
The Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Process
By now you must be wondering what the process for hormone therapy is like. Regardless of your gender, the basic methods of hormone therapy are the same for men and women. To give you a better idea of what hormone therapy would be like, we are providing a simple guideline for what hormone therapy appointments would be like at our office.
Your first appointment is also your most important. During your initial consultation, you will speak with one of our expert professionals about hormone replacement therapy. Our staff will be happy to answer any queries you have and give you the best information so you can make a fully informed decision.
At this initial appointment, you will discuss your symptoms – specifically, the symptoms you believe are caused by andropause or menopause. Our staff will ask you about when the symptoms began and the duration of symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, or libido difficulties. It is important to be honest about all of your symptoms so that our staff can correctly determine the correct dosage required to correct your hormonal imbalance.
Each therapy appointment is generally the same. Before each session, we will ask about your symptoms to track for improvements. It is possible we will change dosage amounts based on how well you are responding to the treatment. Some people respond more quickly than others.
Step One: Cleanse and Numb
We will first cleanse the area at the site of insertion, either at your hip or buttock area depending on which is most comfortable for you. Once the skin has been disinfected, we will apply a local anesthetic for your comfort. Some patients are needle shy and find that the local anesthetic makes the hormone therapy less stressful. We will only move on to the next step once we are sure that the site of insertion is properly numbed.
Step Two: Pellet Insertion
For pellet hormone replacement therapy, the pellets are about the size of a grain of rice. These pellets are naturally absorbed into your body and dissolve into the bloodstream over a period of a few months. Since the pellets disappear, each therapy session means that a new pellet is inserted beneath your skin. We use a sterile needle to insert the pellet to the treatment site. This usually takes only a few moments.
Step Three: Post-Treatment
The entire process for a hormone therapy appointment generally takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete, start to finish. Most of that time includes speaking about your current health and waiting for the local anesthetic to take effect. Other than the local anesthetic, hormone replacement therapy with a pellet is not unlike receiving any other kind of shot.
For post-treatment guidelines, we do not have many restrictions. We may apply a bandage to the treatment site and recommend that you wash the area with warm soap and water for a day or two. We will also advise you to avoid strenuous activity. During your appointment, we may provide additional guidelines to be followed.
How Long Is Recovery?
Recovery for hormone therapy is very generally short. There is some tenderness to be expected at the treatment site, but like any other bruising, lightly icing the area in 20-minute intervals is usually enough to counter any sensitivity. Most patients can return to normal daily activities within one week of treatment.
How Long Does Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Take to Work?
Some patients report that they feel relief from many symptoms within 1 to 3 days after treatment. For most, the benefits of hormone therapy begin to work between 1 to 2 weeks after treatment. How quickly you respond to hormone therapy depends on your body, the dosage of the treatment, and your lifestyle habits. It is important to understand that hormone therapy works best when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
How Long Does Hormone Therapy Last?
Hormone replacement therapy with pellets lasts for about 4 months at a time. After 4 months, symptoms of menopause and andropause will begin to return. We recommend having 3 rounds of hormone therapy a year to maintain a regular balance of your hormones. Our expert staff will help you determine the frequency of your therapy sessions.
Candidates for hormone therapy are typically those over the age of 40. Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms associated with andropause and menopause are candidates for hormone therapy. There may be some medical factors that need to be considered for some patients. Our staff will help determine if hormone therapy is right for you based on your current health and wellness.
If you’re interested in the numerous benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy, call Angelic Lift in Daytona Beach, FL today! Our expert professionals are ready to help you balance your everyday health and wellness! We look forward to the opportunity to have you as a patient!