HORMONES MENOPAUSE ANDROPAUSE BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE THERAPY
This blog is intended to inform but is not a medical recommendation for any individual. You may have contraindications to any/all of the general recommendations. Consult with your Doctor before making any changes based on this blog.
- Could I be having hormone changes even if I still have regular periods? Yes, perimenopause is the time before official menopause and lasts an average 7-10 years. Yep, this is a journey.
- In early perimenopause there may be no menstrual changes. Some women start to put on weight they can’t get off with methods that used to work. Other symptoms can be difficulty sleeping, sugar cravings and self doubt.
- In later perimenopause some women experience brain fog, irritability, swelling, joint aches and worsening energy.
- During menopause the period stops. Some women experience lower sex drive, more difficulty achieving orgasm and/or vaginal dryness. Anytime during this rollercoaster of hormones it is common to experience weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, infertility, declining bone mass, urinary incontinence, frequent urination, anxiety, facial hair growth, decrease in sex drive and memory lapses.
- These phases are not linear! They are often erratic and unpredictable. You are not alone. It is not your fault. We can help. Celeste and I love helping people with hormones in part because no one person's experience is the same. We love watching people's lives being significantly improved with hormones! So much FUN!
What about the men?
- Men go through andropause; similar to menopause in women. Men make less testosterone with age.
- Signs of andropause may include fatigue, difficulty converting fat to muscle, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, lower energy, less sex drive, difficulty achieving erection.
So you looked at these symptoms, and you have to admit, this may sound a little like you. What now? Yes, there is a lot of information floating around out there. And no, you don’t have to tough it out. Everyone’s body and health history is different, so it’s important to talk with your healthcare professional about what options are best-suited for you, your symptoms and for your safety. Let the professionals at Freeman Medical Clinic help.
Activities proven to relieve some menopause and andropause symptoms:
- Relaxation techniques
- Medications such as antidepressants.
- Hydrate! This may include regular IV Therapy
- Caffeine moderately
- Pelvic floor strengthening exercises
- Antimuscarinics (overactive bladder medications)
- For night sweats/hot flashes: Dress in thin layers (wicking fabrics like linen), layer bed covers, sip cold water, place ice pack under pillow at night and down at your feet. Check out chilisleep.com.au (chilipad cool mattress pad & sleep system).
- Trouble Sleeping: Go to sleep and wake up at consistent times (even on weekends), less or no caffeine, avoid blue light before bed (that means turn off the cell phone, iPad, computer an hour prior to sleep time), develop a relaxation-promoting bedtime ritual, keep the bedroom for bedroom activities only like sleeping and sex.
- Sexual Discomfort/Vaginal Dryness: vaginal moisturizers (Astroglide/Replens/K-Y Long-lasting Vaginal Moisturizer/olive oil/coconut oil/almond oil/Moist Again/Silk-E). Orgasm promotes vaginal health by increasing blood flow. Now, you tried all of the above and you’re still miserable. What are your options? Come in and let’s discuss Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT replaces the declining hormones that cause symptoms of perimenopause. They also decrease risk of osteoporosis. We’re talking estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Based on your symptoms and your hormone levels obtained through lab work your Doctor may recommend starting one or more hormones. They come in different forms; patches, pills, creams, suppositories and shots.
- In general progesterone helps with sleep and mood. It is calming, acts as a natural diuretic, increases metabolism and works as an antidepressant. Bio-identical progesterone has been shown to decrease breast cell growth, lower bad cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and lower the buildup of arterial plaque which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- In general estrogen reduces vaginal dryness, improves bone density and returns skin texture.
- In general testosterone increases sexual interest, promotes emotional well-being, converts fat to muscle, improves strength, tones skin, decreases excess body fat, helps maintain bone strength and reduces brain fog.
- Synthetic vs Bio-identical hormones. Synthetic hormones are man made often conjugated equine estrogens, which will breakdown into 45 percent estrone sulfate and 55 percent various equine estrogens. Bio-identical Hormones are derived from plant sources and are modified to replicate the structure of human hormones. These most closely mimic natural human physiology. Mounting evidence reveals that bioidentical hormones are safer and more effective.
- Is HRT safe? In the early 2000s the Women’s Health Initiative Study reported an increased risk of breast cancer associated with the use of Premarin and Prempro (both synthetic hormones). Doctors and patients alike were concerned and most hormone replacement was halted. The current consensus of the medical community based on evidence is that when bioidentical progesterone and/or estrogen are taken there is no increased risk of cancer or heart attack or stroke. Some studies show a decrease in heart disease when taking hormones in perimenopause and early menopause. Any type of HRT including birth control pills increase the risk for blood clots which in turn increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Is the risk worth the benefits?
Each individual woman and man is unique in their own right. For this reason, it is important to schedule a visit dedicated to hormones. Freeman Medical Clinic is one of many fine hormone specializing clinics in Austin, Texas. For your convenience we also offer telemedicine visits.
Since we don’t accept insurance we now have ALL the time needed to evaluate YOUR symptoms and craft a plan together.
What should you expect at your appointment?
A detailed history including your current symptoms, past medical history, and family medical history. There may be a physical exam. This may include a gynecological exam, pap smear, ordering a mammogram, ordering bone density. Your healthcare provider will likely order labs to check your hormone, thyroid, vitamin D and vitamin B-12 levels. Once your screening is completed and you and your medical provider have decided on next steps, you will follow up with your medical provider regularly (every 2 months to begin) to evaluate effectiveness, tweak dosages and medications + recheck hormone levels. We would love the opportunity to discuss any of the above symptoms and/or hormones with you. Originally published in Austinfitmagazine.com