Your sex hormones are responsible for nearly all of your essential bodily functions. At Radiant Skin Dermatology and Laser in New York, NY, we specialize in bioidentical hormone therapy to help our clients restore balance to their hormone levels and regain their quality of life. Read on to discover everything you need to know about menopause and how to treat it.
12 Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Menopause Symptom Relief
1. Improved Sleep Hygiene
One of the sex hormones that decreases during menopause is testosterone. Unfortunately, testosterone is one of the most important hormones the human body produces. Bioidentical hormone therapy can increase your serum testosterone levels so you can treat insomnia and all the side effects of insomnia.
If you regularly fail to get a good night of sleep, you will suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. This results in such side effects as fatigue, weight gain, irritability, memory loss, cognitive decline and more. Testosterone regulates your sleep cycle so you can fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and spend more time in REM sleep.
2. Improved Libido
Another common sign of menopause which is corrected by bioidentical hormone therapy is a low libido. Sex is an important part of any intimate relationship, but hormone deficiency can take the spark out of a relationship. When you bring your hormone levels back into balance, you can rekindle the romance in the bedroom.
3. Improved Fertility
Unfortunately, due to smoking, genetics, obesity or other factors, menopause can strike early. In fact, some women experience menopause as early as their 30s. Peri-menopause refers to the period before menopause where estrogen levels drop so low that menopausal symptoms occur.
If you are still menstruating but experiencing menopausal symptoms, your fertility may be reduced significantly. Bioidentical hormone therapy for menopause can increase your estrogen to the point you can still conceive and carry a fetus to term.
4. Corrected Vaginal Dysfunction
Besides lowered libido, hormone deficiency can lead to vaginal dysfunction. Most menopausal women experience vaginal dryness. This leads to discomfort or pain during sex. When you restore your hormone levels, you drastically improve vaginal function and make sex enjoyable again.
5. Lean Mass Preservation
One of the most unfortunate symptoms of menopause is the loss of muscle mass. Muscle is much more metabolically active than fat. When you lose muscle, your body starts to burn fewer calories at rest. If your diet stays the same but you do not significantly increase your activity level, you will gain weight.
Loss of muscle mass also means a loss of muscle strength. By balancing your hormone levels during menopause, you can preserve your muscle mass and muscle strength. This means you don’t need to ask for help having your groceries brought in. More importantly, when you preserve leg and core strength, you mitigate your risk of falls.
6. Bone Density Preservation
Women are four times more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a dangerous medical condition characterized by brittle bones. With bioidentical hormone therapy for menopause, serum testosterone levels can be augmented and bone density is preserved.
Between the preservation of muscle strength and bone density, a few days of resistance training per week, combined with a nutritious diet, can even improve bone density. The stronger and denser your bones are, the less likely you are to break your bones in the event of a fall or other accident.
7. Revved Metabolism
Muscle mass plays an important role in metabolism, but testosterone itself plays a direct role in how many calories your body burns throughout the day. When testosterone drops, metabolism drops, even if your activity level, lean mass and diet don’t change. Natural hormone therapy keeps your serum testosterone levels in check so your metabolism keeps burning strongly.
8. Heart Disease Prevention
There are a lot of risk factors for heart disease. Unfortunately, being a woman is the most significant risk factor. Even more unfortunately, heart disease is the leading killer of women in America. Worst of all, low testosterone can lead to several other risk factors of heart disease, including hypertension, high levels of LDL and obesity.
When your sex hormones are unbalanced, you lose muscle mass and your overall metabolism lowers. This inevitably leads to weight gain. Unfortunately, your body is instructed to store visceral fat around the abdominal organs and heart. The deck is stacked even further against you because imbalanced sex hormones lead to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety hormones.
9. Improved Cognition
Testosterone also plays a critical role in brain health. One of the most common menopausal symptoms is “brain fog.” This can affect your ability to maintain a job, hold a conversation, remember to pay your bills and form short-term memories.
Bioidentical hormone therapy for menopausal women has been shown to have neuroprotective effects. If you have a family history of a neurodegenerative condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease, natural hormone therapy is crucial. It doesn’t just protect your future brain health. It also penetrates your brain fog and allows you to enjoy life to the fullest now.
10. Improved Mood Disorders
Mood disorders plague women more than men beginning at the onset of puberty. Throughout their menstrual cycle, women’s hormone levels fluctuate. This results in such feelings as sadness, anxiety, stress, fear and irritability. Once your estrogen has dropped to the point of menopause, you are at extreme risk of developing a mood disorder.
Both estrogen and testosterone play significant roles in mood management. With age, the production rate of both these sex hormones drops dramatically. By normalizing the levels of hormones in your blood, you can prevent or treat mood disorders such as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
11. Restored Vigor
Other symptoms of menopause include apathy and lethargy. By bringing your hormone levels back into balance, you can enjoy restored vigor so you can get back to the things you used to enjoy. Moreover, you will find you have the drive to do things that you need to do but previously lacked the gumption to accomplish.
Your low estrogen levels may be causing you to suffer through tension headaches, night sweats, hot flashes and frequent urges to use the restroom. Natural hormone therapy treats all of these so life can be more comfortable.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone therapy, also known as BHRT or natural hormone therapy, is a therapy used to restore balance to sex hormones. In men, natural hormone therapy is used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone or andropause. In women, it is used to treat the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
This treatment can also be used to treat the symptoms of certain medical conditions, such as thyroid or adrenal disorders, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and insulin resistance. It may also be used to ease the side effects of cancer treatment.
Components of BHRT
Some bioidentical hormones are produced en masse by drug companies. However, compounded bioidentical hormones are custom-made by a pharmacy to suit your individual needs. Contrary to popular belief, the FDA has actually approved custom made bioidentical hormones for safety and efficacy.
Benefits Over Traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy
The primary benefit of BHRT over traditional hormone replacement therapy is its safety. Traditionally, hormone replacement therapy included ingredients derived from pregnant horses and other synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant estrogens, and your body can’t tell the difference between these and its own hormones.
Because bioidentical hormones mimic the hormones your body produces exactly, they are more effective than traditional hormones. Even better, there is no risk of your body identifying a “dangerous synthetic substance” and attacking the supplemented hormones and causing negative reactions.
FAQ About BHRT
How Long Will I Have to Take BHRT?
Your body never goes back to producing progesterone, estrogen or testosterone at the same rate as they did when you were younger. Some women suffer from menopausal symptoms for the rest of their lives without BHRT. Other women adjust to their new “normal” levels of hormones several years after the onset of menopause.
Am I Too Young to Take BHRT?
During your initial consultation, we will test your serum hormone levels to determine if you are experiencing hormone deficiency. If your hormones are imbalanced, you are not too young to take BHRT. For reference, progesterone production begins to decline at the age of 30. At the age of 35, the production rate of estrogen drops drastically.
I’ve Dealt With Mood Swings My Entire Life: Will BHRT Help Me?
You may feel like you’ve dealt with mood swings your entire life, beginning with puberty. In adulthood, estrogen and progesterone levels tend to fluctuate wildly during your menstrual cycle, causing regular mood swing issues. However, it gets the most serious at age 35 because estrogen levels decline quickly and steadily at this point.
If your anxiety, stress, irritability, sadness, depression or anger are caused by low testosterone or estrogen levels, BHRT will absolutely help you. Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, you may find that you can overcome your mood disorder and enjoy life more than you ever have.
Why Do My Serum Hormone Levels Need to Be Tested?
We test serum hormone levels because blood spot testing is so much more effective than saliva or urine testing. Accurate identification of hormone levels is crucial so you can achieve the results you need out of treatment.
The ideal delivery system for BHRT will depend on several factors, including your lifestyle, personal preferences and the symptoms you are experiencing. The most common delivery systems for BHRT are creams, injections, implanted pellets, gels, tablets and patches. During your initial consultation, we will help you determine the best method for you.
BHRT pellets for menopause are by far the most popular delivery system. Often, we implant fast-acting pellets at first so you can benefit from more rapid relief. When you come in to replace the pellets, you will receive pellets that deliver the necessary hormones more slowly. One of the most compelling benefits of implanted BHRT pellets is that the treatment can be completed in around 10 minutes.
Thanks to a local anesthetic, there is no pain or discomfort. Furthermore, there is no downtime or recovery. You can go straight back to your daily routine. It will be around seven to 10 days until you benefit from the results, however, the results will last anywhere from three to six months. In other words, for constant relief, you will only need to come in two to four times per year.
Injections are another popular delivery method for BHRT for menopause. The benefits derived from these booster shots can last between one and four weeks depending on your unique needs.
If you think injections will fit better into your lifestyle, we will help you determine the ideal delivery speed and follow-up frequency for you. Longer-lasting injections are usually administered to the gluteal muscle or the muscle of the upper hip. Shorter-lasting injections are usually administered to the outer thigh.
Gels for BHRT are usually sprayed intranasally three times per day. Busy moms love using intranasal gels for hormone therapy. Administered in the morning, afternoon and evening roughly six to eight hours apart, this medication is easy to slip into a purse. To receive the total dose, all you have to do is pump the medication once into each nostril.
You will only have to prime the intranasal gel once. To prime the pump, invert it and depress it 10 times. Discard any dispensed gel into the sink and thoroughly wash the gel down the drain with warm water.
Creams may be the ideal BHRT delivery system for women with menopause who suffer from vaginal dysfunction and irritation. When applied to the vaginal area, estradiol (estrogen and low-level progesterone) treats vaginal dryness, burning and itching during sex. It also treats vaginal irritation and urgency related to urination.
Estradiol may also be used on the upper thigh. Research has proven that estradiol, when applied to the upper thigh, is just as effective as other techniques for preserving bone density and muscle mass. If you are experiencing perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms related to your vagina and have a family history of osteoporosis, estradiol cream may be right for you.
Some women prefer to take tablets for BHRT. Unlike capsules or pills, these tablets are not to be swallowed. Rather, they are held under the tongue or against the cheek for 90 seconds until they dissolve. While swallowing these tablets will not cause liver damage or uncomfortable side effects, they are the most effective when absorbed through the mouth.
Single menopausal women love patches. There is no risk that their partner will accidentally absorb the hormones transdermally. Patches are usually placed on the outer thigh and only need to be replaced around every four days. If you have children or indoor pets, and you’d like to try this method, make sure they understand to not touch the patch site.
Learn How to Take Back Control of Your Life Today
Are you tired of being physically, mentally and emotionally drained by the symptoms of menopause? Are you ready to restore balance to your hormone and regain your quality of life? To determine if bioidentical hormone therapy is right for you, contact us at Radiant Skin Dermatology and Laser in New York, NY today to schedule your initial consultation.