Hormone Therapy for Women - Omni Centers

Hormone Therapy for Women

HORMONE THERAPY AND ANTI-AGING FOR WOMEN

Declines in hormones and associated symptoms can manifest as young as 30 years old and progesterone even as early as the 20s. Many women are misdiagnosed and frequently mistreated. Often women are prescribed medications to treat symptoms like ADD, anti-depressants, and anxiety when the underlying cause is a hormone imbalance. Hormones can easily be tested and often treated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

WHAT ARE BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES?

Bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced by your own body compared to those synthetic (and patented) hormones that have some significant differences. Bioidentical hormones are derived from plants.

WHAT IS ESTROGEN?

Estrogen is one of the primary female hormones produced largely in the ovaries. With receptors all over your body, estrogen is integral in over 400 functions that affect your brain, lungs, and cardiovascular system in addition to sex organs/sex interest. It is present in women in three forms: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. In BHRT estradiol, estriol, or a combination of the two is prescribed in a bio-identical form. These hormones can treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, improve psychological well-being, and reduce the incidence of coronary artery disease and osteoporosis.

SYMPTOMS OF LOW ESTROGEN

  • Painful sex due to vaginal dryness
  • Increase in UTIs due to thinning of urethra
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches or accentuation or preexisting migraines
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Increase risk of bone fractures/osteoporosis
  • Weight gain

CAUSES OF LOW ESTROGEN

  • Aging/menopause
  • Imbalances in exercise/extreme low body fat (excessive exercise, eating disorders such as anorexia)
  • Low functioning pituitary gland
  • Premature ovarian failure (form genetic defects, toxins, or an autoimmune condition)
  • Turner Syndrome
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diet: Fat or calorie restriction, vegetarians and those with gluten intolerance tend to have lower estrogen levels
  • General poor health

BENEFITS OF ESTROGEN
Cardiovascular Benefits

  • Acts as a natural calcium blocker to keep your arteries open
  • Decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and prevents its oxidation
  • Decreases lipoprotein A (a risk factor for heart disease)
  • Decreases the accumulation of plaque on your arteries
  • Enhances magnesium uptake and utilization
  • Enhances the production of nerve-growth factor
  • Helps maintain the elasticity of your arteries
  • Increases blood flow
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol) by 10 to 15 percent
  • Inhibits platelet stickiness, which decreases your risk of heart disease

Cognitive, Mood, and Nerve Benefits

  • Aids in the formation of neurotransmitters in your brain (such as serotonin), which decrease depression, irritability, anxiety, and pain sensitivity
  • Helps maintain your memory
  • Helps with fine motor skills
  • Increases concentration
  • Increases reasoning
  • Protects you against macular degeneration, an age-related eye ailment that may cause vision loss

Bone Health

  • Helps prevent tooth loss
  • Maintains bone density

Improving Blood Sugar

  • Improves insulin sensitivity

Skin and Metabolic Benefits

  • Increases the water content of your skin, which is responsible for your skin’s thickness and softness
  • Increases your metabolic rate, which helps your body run at a youthful level
  • Maintains the amount of collagen in your skin
  • Regulated food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity

Sexual Benefits and Urogenital Health

  • Reverses thinning of mucus membranes

TESTOSTERONE IN WOMEN

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is often thought of as a male hormone, but women have testosterone too, they just have less than men. Testosterone in women is made in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone plays many of the same roles for women as it does for men, and as men and women get older, testosterone levels decrease. This can cause lower interest in sexual intercourse, loss of skin elasticity and collagen, increase anxiety and depression, fatigue and brain fog, and difficulty maintaining and gaining muscle mass.

SYMPTOMS OF LOW TESTOSTERONE IN WOMEN

  • Fatigue/sluggishness
  • Decreased motivation
  • Muscle weakness/muscle loss/inability to gain muscle
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low sex drive
  • Decreased sexual satisfaction
  • Weight gain
  • Fertility issues
  • Anemia (decreased red blood cell production)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of bone density
  • Decreased mood: worsening sense of wellbeing, anxiety/ depression

CAUSES OF LOW TESTOSTERONE

  • Aging
  • Adrenal stress or burnout
  • Birth control pills
  • Chemotherapy
  • Childbirth
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Depression
  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause/surgical menopause (hysterectomy)
  • Psychological trauma

BENEFITS OF TESTOSTERONE:
Psychological trauma

  • Reduce Heart disease

Cognitive, Mood, and Nerve Benefits

  • Reduce Depression and Anxiety
  • Improve energy
  • Elevates norepinephrine in the brain (has the same effect as taking an antidepressant)
  • Helps maintain memory
  • Increases sense of emotional well-being, self-confidence, and motivation

Bone Health

  • Increase bone mass/ decrease bone deterioration, therefore, reducing the risk of osteoporosis

Improving Blood Sugar

  • Improves insulin sensitivity

Skin, Muscle, and Metabolic Benefits

  • Increase muscle mass and strength
  • Decreases excess body fat
  • Increases muscle tone (so your skin doesn’t sag)

Sexual Benefits and Urogenital Health

  • Increase libido/sex drive
  • Increase vaginal lubrication
  • Improve Menopause symptoms
  • Improve PMS symptoms
  • Increases sexual interest (86 percent of women say they experience a decrease in sexual interest with menopause)

PROGESTERONE

What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is another of the primary female sex hormones (although it also plays an important role in men). Progesterone plays a role in menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and embryo development. This hormone also acts on the gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors in the brain improving anxiety, sleep, and overall sense of calm.

SYMPTOMS OF LOW ESTROGEN

  • Anxiety or other mood changes including depression
  • Insomnia/waking at night
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • PMS/PMDD
  • Infertility or irregular periods
  • Low libido
  • Bone loss
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Hot flashes
  • Endometriosis
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sugar cravings and weight gain
  • Acne, dry skin, brittle nails

CAUSES OF LOW PROGESTERONE

  • Aging (as early as the late 20s)
  • Stress
  • Hypothyroidism
  • PCOS
  • Elevated prolactin
  • Estrogen Dominance
  • Xenohormone (man-made synthetic substances that have hormone-like effects)
  • Synthetic Progestin (versus bioidentical progesterone) from sources like birth control pills
  • Fluctuations in the female reproductive cycle (perimenopause, post-partum, PMS)

BENEFITS OF PROGESTERONE
Cardiovascular and Immune Benefits

  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Modulates immune function
  • Increases detoxification enzymes

Cognitive, Mood and Nerve Benefits

  • Natural anxiolytic (decreases anxiety)
  • Improves memory
  • Enhances sleep
  • Decreases irritability
  • Protects the brain from damage and promotes repair after injury

Bone Health

  • Increases the osteoblasts (cells that make new bone)

Skin and Metabolic Benefits

  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Improves energy
  • Nourishes hair
  • Reduces acne

Sexual Benefits and Urogenital Health

  • Increase libido/sex drive
  • Increase vaginal lubrication
  • Decrease hot flashes
  • Relieves PMS
  • Relieves heavy periods
  • Improves fertility

HORMONE IMBALANCES

What is PCOS?

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a complex condition involving sugar metabolism, progesterone, thyroid, and androgen sensitivity. It often takes the form of higher-than-normal levels of male hormones, known as androgens, such as testosterone.

This imbalance can result in a variety of conditions including:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Acne or other skin blemishes
  • Weight gain and difficulty managing weight
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer
  • Infertility (most common cause for women) or difficulty getting pregnant

While most women need to start looking at hormone optimization in their mid to late 30's, PCOS is a condition that can show symptoms as early as the late teenage years and can be treated naturally and successfully with hormone balancing.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PCOS

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with PCOS:

  • Very irregular periods
  • Acne-like skin breakouts
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Distressing, excessive hair growth on the face and body
  • Frequent bouts of depression and anxiety, which may come and go
  • Serious problems with fertility when trying to get pregnant
  • Painful, enlarged ovaries

Doctors do not know exactly what causes PCOS, but some studies indicate that genetics may be involved, as well as insulin resistance, and higher than normal levels of inflammation in the body.

Other symptoms of PCOS: Studies have shown that many women with PCOS are affected by emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. These are usually the result of appearance issues, like excess belly fat, facial hair growth, loss of head hair, and an inability to get pregnant, which may all lead to depression and moodiness. More research has indicated that body image and self-esteem are an enormous, under-rated issue for women suffering from PCOS.

Health practitioners have now realized that stress management is a critical part of any treatment for PCOS to relieve symptoms, whether it be hormonal, or lifestyle changes.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF PCOS?

PCOS is not a fatal disorder, as the cysts on the ovaries (if they exist) are benign. However, if left untreated, there are certain potential risks.

  • Women diagnosed with PCOS have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer
  • Serious fertility problems
  • If pregnancy is achieved, there is a higher risk of a miscarriage, as well as gestational diabetes
  • Depression, anxiety, and possible eating disorders
  • Sleep apnea

All of these risks are linked to hormonal imbalances. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, no matter what your age is, you need to start treatment to minimize the risks associated with the condition, to protect your health.

HOW IS PCOS TREATED?

Treatment options depend on your specific symptoms, health risks, and whether you want to get pregnant.
Some of the different treatment options available for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome include:

  • Weight loss, since obesity, is known to increase inflammation in the body, which is a potential cause of PCOS.
  • A healthy eating plan can help to relieve the symptoms, and also promote weight loss. Cut out high carb, refined and sugary foods that are known to cause inflammation. Increase intake of healthy foods which decrease inflammation, such as tomatoes, green leafy veggies, olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
  • Quit smoking, since women who smoke, have higher levels of androgens than women who do not smoke.
  • Because PCOS is mainly the result of a hormone imbalance, hormone therapy is potentially the best treatment option for successfully dealing with the symptoms of PCOS.

Since synthetic, chemically manufactured hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, the female sex hormones, have potentially harmful side effects. More and more women are opting for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) which has relatively few side effects. In fact, when the correct dosage is achieved, side effects are negligible. Through an evaluation of your unique blood tests, will make a recommendation that is best for you.

ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

Mostly affecting Western women, estrogen dominance results when a woman has too little progesterone and too much estrogen.

A delicate balance of estrogen and progesterone is essential for general health because progesterone is meant to work antagonistically towards estrogen. For example, progesterone reduces the risk of breast cysts while estrogen (by itself) may contribute to the development of breast cysts. Also, while estrogen promotes retention of water and salt, progesterone acts as a diuretic. Studies have further shown that estrogen is associated with endometrial and breast cancer, but progesterone offers anti-carcinogenic properties.

CAUSES OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

After a woman turns 35, progesterone production starts decreasing, eventually reaching a 75 percent reduction of progesterone levels. Alternately, estrogen declines by a mere 35 percent, leaving a definite imbalance of these two hormones. Most women in their 50s suffer from at least one of the many estrogen dominance symptoms affecting menopausal women.

TRADITIONAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERA

Another reason estrogen dominance impacts older women is due to doctors prescribing estrogen as part of a hormone replacement therapy program.

Although valid, clinical research has shown time and time again that laboratory-made estrogen increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, the medical community continues to espouse HRT as beneficial to a woman’s health during and after menopause.

OBESITY

Obesity is another possible cause of estrogen dominance. Although a woman’s ovaries significantly decrease their production of estrogen during menopause, they continue producing a male hormone called androstenedione, which fat cells convert into estrogen. Women who are 20 or more pounds overweight may be able to convert enough androstenedione into estrogen to cause estrogen dominance.

STRESS AND DEPRESSION

Anxiety, stress, and depression may interfere with progesterone output due to adrenal gland exhaustion, a condition that can also result from chronic/acute infections like pneumonia or bronchitis.

Additionally, estrogen dominance fuels anxiety, insomnia, and depression, which further burdens the adrenal gland. Unless estrogen and progesterone are balanced with bioidentical hormone therapy, women may suffer worsening estrogen dominance symptoms as well as blood sugar destabilization that could cause prediabetes or actual diabetes.

SIGNS OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

Conditions and symptoms associated with estrogen dominance include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Little to no sex drive
  • Breast/endometrial cancer
  • Vitamin/mineral deficiencies, especially B vitamins and magnesium
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Thinning/loss of hair
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Increased risk of heart disease/heart attack
  • “Foggy” thinking/inability to concentrate
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Lower bone density/osteoporosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Weight gain due to slow metabolism
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Swelling of feet and hands (edema)

Depending on a woman’s current health, existing medical issues, and lifestyle choices, other estrogen dominance symptoms can affect them that are not listed.

The best way to determine if you suffer from estrogen dominance is to call us today to schedule an appointment for testing and to discuss your symptoms with a doctor who is knowledgeable about estrogen dominance.

Rebalancing estrogen and progesterone levels to drastically reduce the severity of estrogen dominance symptoms is the most effective way to restore optimal hormone balance in women undergoing perimenopause, menopause, and post- menopause.

For more information about Hormone Therapy and Anti-Aging, click here

FAQs

Bioidentical hormones are identical to the hormones your body produces. They mimic your own hormones and function in your body the exact same way your hormones do. These hormones are plant-based, but because of the similarity with natural hormones, your body perceives them the same way. This allows for a natural integration into your body’s physiology. These hormones are used to replace what your body no longer makes as you go through menopause (or menopause). The most popular method of administration of these hormones is by use of a cream, gel, or patch on the skin (i.e. transdermally). If estrogen is taken as a pill, it is first processed through the liver. This stimulates protein associated with clotting factors, which increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and blood clots. When delivered by transdermal routes such as creams or gels, estrogen is not processed first by the liver and does not have these effects. Although estrogen is the main component of Hormone Replacement Therapy for women and relieves most symptoms, natural progesterone is also added to alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep. Estrogen can be dispensed as Estradiol, Estriol, or Bi-Est. Besides Estrogen and Progesterone, women may need other hormones like DHEA, Pregnenolone, and Testosterone.

Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormone(s) your body needs, based on history and lab work, your practitioner may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, DHEA, melatonin, or others as needed.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy benefits men and women of various ages suffering from hormonal imbalances. Each treatment plan is uniquely tailored to the individual. To select the right therapy, you must understand all the available options for therapy and exactly how BHRT can enhance your life and wellbeing.

Hormone imbalance in both men and women can result in disruptions in

  • Sleep cycles
  • Appetite and metabolic function
  • Mood and stress levels
  • Muscle function
  • Reproduction and sexual functions
  • Heart rate
  • Growth and development

Imbalances in hormones can wreak havoc on your body, from fatigue and depression to muscle aches, dry skin, and thinning hair. Women often experience hormone imbalance during menopause as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, along with mood swings. Men often notice hormone imbalance by a decreased sex drive, osteoporosis and decreased muscle mass.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is an all-natural alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy and derived from plant-based estrogens that are chemically identical to those in the human body. BHRT options include pills, creams, injections, and patches. Dr. Lauren will work with you to create a customized plan, as well as continuously monitor hormone level and progress. Once a plan of action is determined, the bioidentical hormones will be administered to balance the hormones or lack thereof within your body. As BHRT adjust your hormone levels, you may see improvements in bone density, mood, sleep patterns, libido, weight maintenance and more.

The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is dual fold. Unlike bioidentical hormones, synthetic, or conventional, hormones may be patented by pharmaceutical companies; therefore, dosage varies only by milligrams dictated by your doctor, while the molecular structure of the prescribed hormone is the same for every single person on that drug. Additionally, synthetic hormones are not created structurally the same as human endogenous hormones, which often leads uncomfortable side effects. While synthetic hormones can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones on certain biological pathways, they rarely offer the same effectiveness at a deeper, molecular level.

Bioidentical hormones mimic the affinity of human endogenous hormones; therefore, they are effective on more biological pathways, at all levels. Because bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of endogenous hormones, side effects are rarely observed, and in the event, you do experience side effects, talk with your doctor—the dosage may simply need to be adjusted. The added benefit of bioidentical hormones is that each dose is tailored specifically for your needs, not simply what doses the pharmaceutical company offers (as is the case with synthetic hormones.)

In young postmenopausal women, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a safe and an effective tool to alleviate moderate to severe menopausal symptoms and to prevent long-term degenerative diseases such as osteoporotic fractures, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and, possibly cognitive impairment. Dr. Lauren is very conscious of common patient concerns, such as the increased possibility of breast cancer linked with Hormone Replacement therapy as well as controversies regarding compounded hormones. All your concerns regarding these issues can be addressed at your appointment.

Hormones affect a multitude of pathways in the body. Women may experience fluctuations in their hormone levels throughout the lifespan. Imbalances can occur due lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as expected changes, such as onset of menses, pregnancy, childbirth, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Imbalances of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is estrogen. When estrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido and bone loss. The bone loss that women experience due to declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Adjustments to a woman’s hormone levels through bioidentical hormone therapy and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate these discomforts and improve overall health and well-being.

  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Thinning hair
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Painful intercourse
  • Irregular or diminishing menstruation
  • Weight gain (specifically in the abdomen, hips and thighs)

Traditional doctors do not usually have the time or the resources to seek expertise in bioidentical hormones. Omni Centers physicians undergo extensive training in bioidentical hormone therapy and have specialized knowledge of anti-aging medicine.

The answer is likely yes. Regardless if you are enjoying a healthy sex drive, a high sex drive, or agonizing over a low sex drive, in most cases, your hormones are in control. For some patients, emotional and psychological factors play a role in sexual desire. For both men and women, sex drive that has diminished with age, menopause, andropause, or pregnancy is likely linked to a hormonal issue. Approximately 70 percent of low libido issues are related to a hormonal imbalance. A low libido due to hormonal imbalance does not mean that you are helpless. In fact, you can take an active role in resetting your hormones to reclaim your sex drive.

Start feeling better today —contact Omni Centers and begin your journey toward total wellness

While all our programs are individualized to the patient, your prescriptions will most likely include varying levels of the following hormones:

  • Testosterone
  • Pregnenolone
  • Estrogen (Bi-Est)
  • Progesterone (must be administered whenever estrogen is given and used to help protect the uterus from cancer and to prevent other estrogen side effects)
  • DHEA

Your doctor will carefully review your medical questionnaire and records and will prescribe the exact amount needed to optimize your levels. We use a combination of lab testing and monitoring your results to identify the ideal dosages.

Some patients begin to feel the effects immediately. In general, we ask that you give the plan between 4-6 weeks for best results.

Hormone replacement therapy may provide the following benefits for women:

  • Restored vaginal lubrication
  • Increased sex drive and pleasure sensations
  • Strengthened bones
  • Rebuilding lean body mass
  • Decreased body fat
  • Improved cognitive functions, including memory and focus
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Lowered triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels
  • Thickened hair

Dr. Lauren or Omni Center’s physician will carefully consider your medical and family history, genetic factors, and review your baseline lab tests to select the hormones for your specific needs. Hormone replacement therapy typically takes 1-3 weeks start feeling the difference from restoring your hormonal balance to regular levels. An effective and safe hormone replacement program will always involve ongoing monitoring to ensure that dosage levels remain appropriate. To that end, you will have lab testing and follow-up visits with Dr. Lauren or Omni Center’s physician every 3-6 months.

Bioidentical hormone therapy has a few potential side effects which are classically linked to dosage—as your hormone levels improve, your dosage may need to be adjusted. If you notice side effects, contact your physician.

  • Men and women have reported increased aggressiveness, acne or irritability during the initial phases of testosterone hormone therapy, but these issues are generally resolved as levels become balanced.
  • Some women have reported breast tenderness, spotting, cramping, and bloating. These symptoms may be experienced initially with estrogen hormone treatment but resolve as hormone levels become balanced.
  • Occasionally, hormone therapy patients will complain of itching or redness at the injection or insertion site, these symptoms diminish as the body adjusts to treatment.

It is always recommended that you communicate side effects to your physician to be promptly addressed.