Have you noticed a change in your behavior, energy levels, or emotional state, and for more than just for a few days? Are you feeling unusually fatigued or having trouble sleeping? Any of these symptoms may be a sign of hormonal imbalance, which is an incredibly common condition among both men and women after they enter middle age. It can be very difficult to live with, but luckily we now have a treatment that can address these concerns: bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which you can find at Your Family Medical in Lewisville, TX.
What Is Hormone Imbalance?
The endocrine system produces hormones as a way of regulating a person’s moods and desires. Hormone imbalances can happen in a few different ways. Sometimes it makes too much of one hormone, and this results in the other hormones being suppressed as a result. At other times, one hormone may be under-produced, resulting in a deficiency.
In either case, these hormonal fluctuations and imbalances can lead to changes in behavior, emotional states, or overall well-being. They often cause problems related to a person’s mood, their ability to sleep, their appetite, or libido.
Who Can Get a Hormone Imbalance?
There is nothing uncommon or strange about having a hormone imbalance, especially at certain chapters of one’s life. As a result of the perfectly natural aging process, our bodies go through various hormonal changes. Just as many of these can happen in the teen years, there are still more that happen during middle age or in connection with menopause.
However, just because these are common conditions doesn’t mean that they are pleasant, or that you have to live with the disruptions that they can cause. That’s why Your Family Medical offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for patients who are suffering from an imbalance.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT for short, is a leading scientific method for re-balancing hormones in a person who is experiencing an imbalance. Often these imbalances are temporary, and BHRT only needs to be used for a limited amount of time. In other instances, they may be a long-term treatment, but this will vary depending on the patient. The treatment works by figuring out which hormones are under-represented in a patient and then reintroducing certain hormones as a way of stabilizing the situation.
What Does “Bioidentical Hormone” Mean?
Doctors have often used hormone therapies in order to help patients overcome certain conditions, including an imbalance. To do this, they previously used synthetic, lab-created hormones that are typically derived from plant material and then given to a patient in the form of a pill, a cream, or a tablet.
Bioidentical hormones differ from other synthetic hormones because of their molecular shape–bioidentical hormones are designed to be exact copies of the hormones that naturally occur in the human body, and because of this, they are believed to be a more effective form of treatment. Many bioidentical hormones have been replicated and used to treat patients, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, melatonin, and others.
How Does BHRT Work?
The therapy works in several phases. First, there is the initial testing phase, followed by the introduction of the treatment hormones. After this, there will be a period of monitoring. During this time, the medical staff will try to make sure that the therapy is effective and adjust the treatment if they believe that a change needs to be made.
The first step in treatment is for a patient to take a test. This will show what sorts of symptoms might be affecting a patient, and this can suggest what sort of hormone imbalance is causing it. Typically, a test may use a questionnaire that gives the medical practitioners an idea of what behavioral issues a patient may be experiencing.
Lab testing is also done in the form of a saliva, blood, or urine test. This will help the medical staff isolate and identify the particular hormones that may be lacking. By using a test and the information about a patient’s symptoms, the medical staff can formulate a treatment plan that ultimately restores balance.
The next phase in treatment is the introduction of the hormone. There are quite a few ways for a patient to get this hormone treatment into their system. Some hormones can be delivered orally, with a pill or a drink. In some instances, a topical cream can be used on the surface of the skin, leading a patient to absorb the hormones in this way. Hormones can also be injected with a fine needle or released slowly by using a patch.
Perhaps the most well-known treatment is the pellet therapy method. The pellet is inserted just underneath a patient’s skin, where it is slowly absorbed by the body over a period of several weeks. This treatment is often recommended due to the fact that, unlike creams or pills, it only needs to be administered once.
Over the next several weeks, the hormones will gradually become reintroduced into a patient’s system. The medical staff will monitor the effects of hormone therapy to make sure that it is proceeding properly. Sometimes, they may make an adjustment to the treatment if a higher dose is needed. In most cases, the aim of the medicine is to achieve balance while using the smallest amount of added hormones possible.
How Long Does It Take for BHRT to Work?
Generally, a patient will start to feel the difference after two or three weeks. The process is not instantaneous, as the hormones must be gradually absorbed by the bloodstream. The full effects of treatment are typically noticeable after a period of roughly two months.
After two months, the medical staff will usually be able to tell whether or not the treatment is working. Following this phase, patients may be asked to come in for a checkup once every few months. This will enable the medical staff to make changes as they are necessary. Once the right balance has been struck, they will continue to make sure it is maintaining the desired results.
What Conditions Are Treated by BHRT?
One of the challenges that we often see with a hormonal imbalance is that it manifests itself in many different ways. This can make it difficult to diagnose as many of these symptoms could also be the result of a different condition. However, there are a few symptoms that stand out and often signal that BHRT may be helpful.
Depression and Anxiety
While these symptoms are not always caused by a hormone imbalance, they often can be one of the main results. Some patients suffer from these conditions due to genetics or neurological factors. However, if there is a sudden onset of depression or anxiety in middle age, and there are no other apparent reasons for it, then hormone imbalance may very well be the culprit.
One of the chief drivers of this particular symptom is low testosterone. Testosterone is an important sex hormone in both men and women, and when it becomes under-produced, it may lead to a host of issues. One of these is a lack of drive or motivation. Men often find their testosterone levels start to slip in their thirties and forties, and although this does not always lead to behavioral issues, BHRT may help the instances where a patient does suffer some correlating depression.
One of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance is chronic fatigue. This is because the hormones are so important when it comes to regulating sleep. An overabundance of progesterone may leave a patient feeling constantly drowsy or tired, as this leads to a situation where the brain is constantly signaling the body that it needs to sleep. Even when a patient is in fact “well-rested,” that patient may feel the impulse to sleep. By regulating the progesterone level, we can correct this condition.
Insomnia or Lack of Sleep
On the other hand, it can be a challenge when a patient has too little progesterone, too. This will cause the patient not to feel tired, even when they have a significant need for sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can cause other hormone production to become disrupted too, leading to a vicious cycle. In both this case and in the case of chronic fatigue, BHRT can make a real difference in people’s day-to-day lives.
Low or Lost Sex Drive
Both men and women can experience a sudden loss of interest in sex due to a shift in hormone levels. The problem usually lies with testosterone, which drives libido and the desire for sex. However, if a patient is suffering from abnormally low testosterone, they may lose their drive along with it.
Women can also experience this situation when they have a condition called “estrogen dominance.” In estrogen dominance, the overabundance of estrogen drowns out the effectiveness of the testosterone, and this is a frequent occurrence in the years surrounding menopause. If lost libido is the problem, then BHRT and testosterone therapy can often help.
Both men and women can sometimes observe sudden weight changes. If this is happening in middle age, and especially if the location of the extra weight is changing, then BHRT may be able to help address this.
There are also some instances where a hormone imbalance can lead to brain fog, forgetfulness, or lack of clarity in the moment. This can be rather difficult to diagnose, but it can sometimes be the result of a sharp decline in estrogen levels. For many patients, several weeks of BHRT can restore their alertness and focus.
One of the most challenging aspects of hormone imbalance is the fact that it can have an enormous impact on a person’s moods throughout the day. Although we like to think of ourselves as being able to regulate our behavior, there are times when a chemical imbalance can make it very difficult to control our feelings, and patients who have serious imbalances can often suffer from irritability or moodiness.
The reason here is that hormones are critically important factors in producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. When these vital chemicals stop being produced at their normal levels, a person’s behavior can change as a result. BHRT can rebalance the hormones needed to create the neurotransmitters, leading to a reduction in mood swings.
Book Your BHRT Consultation!
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our office! We will set up a personal consultation where we can discuss your symptoms and begin to formulate a treatment plan. In just a few weeks’ time, you may be on your way to finding relief from these problems thanks to the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Contact Your Family Medical in Lewisville, TX, and book your consultation today!