Have you been feeling tired, depressed, or un-focused? Are you having difficulty falling asleep at night? Have you been gaining weight even though you haven’t changed your weight or activity levels? If so, you might have a hormonal imbalance that is negatively impacting your quality of life. At Your Family Medical in Lewisville, TX, we can improve your hormone levels with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT.
Who Is a Candidate for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The good news is that this innovative therapy is right for nearly everyone who is interested in it. Because these hormones are a precise molecular match to the hormones your body makes naturally and knows how to use, most of the risks associated with synthetic hormones can be avoided with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
These hormones are FDA-approved, and the treatment has been thoroughly tested to ensure it is safe and effective for most people.
Who Is Not a Candidate?
There are a few people who should avoid BHRT treatments or any type of hormone replacement. These include those with a history of very specific cancers and anyone with a clotting or bleeding disorder. If you’ve had a stroke or suffered from liver disease in the past, you should come talk with us about your options.
Understanding Hormonal Imbalances
Our hormones play a key role in many of our bodily functions. They regulate our moods, greatly influence our interest in and enjoyment of sex, and even control things like our appetite, hair loss, and muscle mass.
Imbalances can happen when the body produces too much of one hormone or not enough of another. This causes the balance to shift too far in one direction or the other, and we feel the effects throughout our bodies.
Why Correct “Normal” Changes?
It’s perfectly normal to experience a hormone imbalance: they happen to most people at some stage in life. For many, they are the result of the natural aging process. For others, they can be a sign of an underlying condition. Imbalances can often be expected during certain life events, such as pregnancy or puberty.
Just because it’s normal to experience changes to your hormones, though, doesn’t mean you’re required to live with the unpleasant changes you are experiencing. Your hormones play an important role in your overall well-being. When your hormones are in balance, you tend to feel happy and energetic. When hormone levels change, you can experience a number of negative symptoms. These issues are signs that you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms
If you’re suffering from some of the symptoms listed here, be sure to talk with us about whether you might have an imbalance. The best way to find out if you’re a candidate for therapy is with a consultation.
Some of these symptoms can characterize conditions other than a hormonal change, which is just one reason it’s a good idea to get tested and diagnosed by medical professionals.
One sign of unbalanced hormones is problems with healthy sleep. For some people, too much estrogen can cause insomnia, but too little progesterone can be the culprit, too. When these are not in balance, you may not feel tired even when you are very short on sleep.
The worst part of this problem is that insomnia can contribute to even greater disruptions in your hormone production, creating a cycle that only gets worse with time.
Your hormones influence your ability to control your emotions. When your hormones become unbalanced, you will have difficulty reigning in your feelings, and you are likely to become more irritable and easily upset.
You may also become depressed and feel constantly unhappy for reasons that are difficult to explain. You may stop enjoying hobbies and activities that used to make you happy. Of course, there can be many other causes of depression, anxiety, and sadness: but if you’ve noticed these feelings come on very suddenly, and especially if you are middle-aged and there is no clear cause for your feelings, it’s wise to rule out hormone changes.
Estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men have a strong effect on the appetite. When your levels are out of balance, you may feel hungrier or have increased difficulty feeling full and satisfied. This can make it easy to overeat.
In addition, the cycle of insomnia, low energy, low mood, and changes in hormones can make you crave foods that give quick energy–primarily those that are high in sugar. This makes it even harder to lose weight.
One very common sign of imbalance is constant tiredness. This may be due in part to the importance of hormones in regulating our sleep, but it can also be due to the imbalance in the hormones themselves. Too much progesterone, for example, can send constant signals to the body that it needs sleep even when it does not.
Diminished Sexual Interest
Both men and women can lose their interest in sex when the hormone levels change. For men, a drop in testosterone causes a drop in the sex drive. For women, too much estrogen–which overwhelms their testosterone–can have a similar effect. These feelings are often exacerbated by fatigue, insomnia, and mood changes, but BHRT can help.
One frequent symptom of hormone imbalance is a lack of mental clarity. Some people may describe it as “brain fog,” or it can sometimes be dismissed as the natural forgetfulness that tends to come with age. It can be hard to diagnose these changes at times, but sudden changes in hormone levels can definitely be to blame. In those cases, BHRT can give you back the focus you’ve been missing.
Changes in Mood
This is a classic symptom, and for many, it’s the thing that first alerts them to a problem in their hormones. While it’s perfectly natural to experience mood swings during times of unusually high stress, if you’ve noticed sudden mood swings with no known cause then it’s highly likely you are experiencing an imbalance of your body’s chemicals.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a way of rebalancing hormones to allow you to return to normal function. BHRT therapy delivers the hormones that you’re missing at levels designed to get you back to being you.
What Makes Them “Bioidentical?”
Hormone replacement therapy is not new. It has been used for decades to address the symptoms of menopause, for example. However, previous hormones were entirely synthetic. They were created in a lab and administered as pills, creams, or injections. While these hormones are very similar to those our bodies naturally produce, they are not identical at the molecular level. Manufacturers of these hormones added tiny chemical “tags” to their products, which allowed them to patent the hormones on the market.
Bioidentical hormones have a different molecular shape, and they are identical to the ones our bodies make. In addition, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is crafted to work for you and your specific needs, replacing the hormones you need at the levels you need them. Scientific studies are increasingly highlighting how much safer and more effective BHRT is in comparison with older therapies.
Understanding How It Works
All therapy begins with a consultation and testing. This allows us to hear about all your symptoms, get an idea of the hormone levels you’re currently experiencing, and rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
In addition to taking your medical history, we will also ask detailed questions about your symptoms. Sometimes the precise symptoms can help the doctor nail down exactly which hormones are at issue. These questions are usually followed by lab tests. Urine tests, saliva samples, and blood tests all allow us to identify where hormones are lacking so we can help you get back to feeling like yourself.
However, it’s important to remember that we need to establish a baseline before we can offer effective treatment. It’s not possible to know exactly what your hormone levels were like before you started experiencing an imbalance, and every person’s levels are different and unique to them. Thus it commonly takes a little adjustment to get to the perfect treatment.
Once we’ve identified which hormones seem to be at issue, we can begin giving you bioidentical hormones to make up the lack. These hormones can be delivered by patch, cream, or injection, but the most effective method for most people is pellet therapy.
With this method, we insert a very small pellet under the skin. Your body gradually absorbs the hormones in this pellet for steady delivery of treatment. This method usually results in fewer “up-and-down” feelings and also means therapy only has to be done once every few months.
Monitoring and Adjusting
It takes a few weeks for the changes in hormones to really make a difference, and during that time we will keep in close contact with you to make sure you’re seeing the positive changes we want. In some cases, we may make minor adjustments to help you get where you need to be. Our goal is always to get you to the perfect balance as quickly and naturally as possible.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
Because you’re experiencing a natural change, and because we are addressing the true root of the problem rather than simply masking the symptoms you’re experiencing, it will take a little time to see significant changes. The hormones have to be absorbed by the bloodstream, and the body needs some time to adapt.
Most people start to see a positive change within two to three weeks, but the final results usually take about two months to develop. Once you get to this point, we’ll ask you to come in every few months so we can check on your progress and levels and make any adjustments that might be necessary. Once we have just the right balance, of course, we want to keep you there!
How Long Is BHRT Necessary?
It’s hard to say how long any one individual will need BHRT. Some people experience only a short-term imbalance and can stop therapy after a few months. Other people will stay on hormone replacement therapy for a few years, and some more-or-less permanently.
When you come in for your consultation, we will get to know you and can give you a better idea of what to expect for your unique situation.
Is BHRT Right for You?
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of hormone imbalance, you don’t have to just live with them. Treatment and relief are available! Contact Your Family Medical in Lewisville, TX today to learn more and book your initial consultation. We can’t wait to help you get back to feeling like yourself!