Hormone Replacement Therapy
For several years we have had the pleasure of working with many patients as they begin the process of using bio-identical hormones. Our goal has always been to be a resource of information for patients; to help educate and provide the necessary understanding of how these hormones work. If patients can gain the knowledge about the benefits of hormone replacement then their appreciation translates into greater compliance and better outcomes.
Menopause means the pausing of menstruation; and more precisely the last menstruation. It is, in fact, a diagnostic term that describes a period of time that has elapsed where there have been no menstrual periods for 1 year. Today, the term is sometimes loosely used to cover all the years of hormonal change. Even though there is more predictability that a woman is anovulatory she is also consistently being challenged emotionally, day after day. If no hormonal intervention is made symptoms may persist or abate, but the aging process will continue to accelerate, affecting many aspects of the cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, etc.
Andropause is the male version of menopause which usually starts between the ages of 45 and 50 years. It is an age-related hormonal change, a decrease in testosterone, which can profoundly affect a man’s health and happiness. Unlike women’s cessation of menstruation in menopause, men encounter no clear signs of andropause, only a slow, almost imperceptible decline in various bodily functions. Similar to menopausal women, men often suffer subtle physical, mental and emotional symptoms. These symptoms include insomnia and depression, as well as a decline in sexuality and mental acuity. Like menopausal women, andropausal men face a growing risk of serious age-related diseases, including heart attack, stroke and, even, osteoporosis. Although breast cancer is very rare in men, prostate cancer is extremely common, and benign prostate enlargement is almost universal. Natural or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy provides significant benefits for men’s health, just as it does women’s.
When starting bio identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), taking these hormones is only the first step. The more daunting task is finding the optimal dose as well as in some cases, finding the right ratio or combination of hormones.
Lab tests can help determine if the hormones are in range, but they do not offer much in determining optimal levels. Therefore, optimal levels can only be achieved by knowing what your particular symptoms are, tracking those symptoms as you go through a replacement cycle, and then making the dosage adjustments based on the symptoms that are persisting. This is the purpose of the BHRT Calendar or Calendar Journal which you can pick up at our pharmacy or download on this website. It is your tool to track the persisting symptoms and to record them on the days that they occur along with the dosages used.