Hormones regulate much of what happens inside the human body, from things as basic as hunger to truly complex things like sex and emotion. Thus, hormonal imbalances can only have a negative impact on your health. ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, Illinois offers Bioidentical Hormone Therapy to help you regain your optimal health naturally.
Hormones naturally decline with age, and hormone imbalances are responsible for many complaints associated with the passage of time. Hormone replacement therapy has also been used for decades to ease the symptoms of multiple conditions not necessarily related to age, such as thyroid disorders and insulin resistance.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is the replacement of a hormone that is deficient or absent in the body with an artificial hormone from an external source. Although hormone replacement is most often associated with menopause, it is used to treat many medical conditions. Both men and women, in many stages of life, may need to re-balance or restore hormone levels that have been affected by injury, surgery, or cancer treatment, to name just a few causes.
Hormone Therapy Isn’t New
Conventional hormone therapy replaces the hormone with a synthetic molecule that is very similar, but not identical, to the body’s own hormones. The body recognizes it and can utilize it to a certain extent. But by its very nature, the hormone cannot be utilized as completely or efficiently as the real hormone. It simply is not the same.
That isn’t all though, as conventional hormones for use in humans are also often derived from animal sources. Many people find this practice objectionable. The most well-known and commonly prescribed of these synthetic hormones is Premarin®, which is made with both a synthetic form of progesterone and the urine of a pregnant horse.
There are a lot of reasons not to like conventional hormone therapy. They are almost but not quite the right thing, they may or may not be natural, and, if they are natural, an animal probably didn’t enjoy the production process.
What Is “Bioidentical”?
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is also the replacement of a hormone that is deficient or absent in the body with an artificial hormone from an external source. But, in this case, the hormone is identical to what your body would produce on its own if it were able.
Is It Better?
The biggest problem with conventional hormones is that they are essentially foreign bodies: they do not truly match what the body is accustomed to. Bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, are molecules that have the exact same structure as those the body produces on its own. The body does not simply recognize them as something it can utilize up to a point. The body recognizes them as the real thing.
Most bioidentical hormones are produced from plants. But they may also be produced synthetically. However, no matter the process, they are biologically identical to the body’s natural hormones. Because they are indistinguishable from the “real thing,” they are naturally more effective.
Balanced Hormones Are Important
Hormonal balance is necessary throughout life. When hormones are balanced, the entire body functions better. Most adults remember adolescence with a shudder, as it is typically a time of wildly fluctuating hormonal activity. It seems as though we survive adolescence in spite of our hormones, not because of them.
As adults, we still need optimal levels of hormones for our internal organs to function properly. Hormonal imbalance is a stressor to the entire body because a deficiency of one needed hormone results in overabundance in one or more hormones that, although necessary, cause problems when off balance. Adrenalin (your flight-or-fight hormone) and ghrelin (your hunger hormone) are two of these, and when they are out of balance you are likely to be both hungry and angry.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?
Injury and surgery are common causes of hormonal imbalance. Either can happen at any time and result in a long term need for hormone replacement. “Surgical menopause” is a term often used in the case of hysterectomy. But an injury or trauma to the pituitary can have equally detrimental results. The causes of hormonal imbalance aren’t just due to youth or aging.
Injury or Surgery
Surgical removal of either the male or female sex organs is almost a guarantee that hormone replacement will be necessary. If the organ is no longer there, the hormone cannot be produced. Similarly, injury to either these organs, or to the pituitary gland, often results in a decline or complete cessation of hormone production.
Both men and women are often made to believe that health issues they’re dealing with, like decreased sex drive, menopause symptoms, weight gain, fatigue, or loss of mental clarity, are nothing more than an inevitable part of aging. That is a fact that can be disputed. However, it is true that these complaints are related to declining hormones, and declining hormones are definitely part of aging.
In women, decline in production of progesterone begins in the thirties, with estrogen production falling off in the forties and, finally, testosterone in the fifties. In men, a decline in testosterone production can begin as early as the forties.
What Else Could Go Wrong?
Because hormone imbalance is often communicated to the brain as “tired” or “hungry”, hormone deficiency is a prime cause of weight gain. Feeling tired all the time is associated with overeating, even though the body is not necessarily producing excess ghrelin.
Hormone Replacement Resolves Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone replacement can dramatically improve symptoms specific to menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. It can also relieve the symptoms of andropause or “male menopause.” Hormone replacement can also be beneficial in helping to ward off the general health consequences of aging, including cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, risk of bone fractures, and more.
Who Can Benefit From Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
As we have seen, hormonal imbalance can strike any person at any age and can have many causes. If you feel the time is right, then the time is right. If your hormones are fluctuating, you will probably recognize some items on this list of the most common effects of low hormones:
- Loss of interest in sex
- Problems sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Loss of muscle mass
- Weight gain
- Foggy thinking
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
A careful reading of that list reveals that not all of those issues are specifically “male” or “female.” Nor are they specific to aging. Everyone can experience fatigue, weight gain, mood changes, and memory loss.
In addition to treating the most common complaints of hormonal imbalance, Bioidentical Hormone Therapy may also reduce your risk for diabetes, tooth loss, and cataracts. There is also evidence that it can help improve skin thickness, hydration, elasticity, and even reduce wrinkles.
Measurable Medical Benefits
Hormone replacement has also been linked to a reduced risk of osteoporosis and, when used alongside vitamin D, even colon cancer. Some doctors will prescribe hormones to individuals with a high risk of colon cancer, and many women at high risk of osteoporosis are prescribed hormone therapy.
As we age, our risk of heart disease naturally increases. However, many studies have linked hormone replacement with a reduced risk of heart disease. Hormones may even have a role in staving off Alzheimer’s disease. They certainly are reported to help reinvigorate cognitive function and memory.
Arguably, even if hormones had no direct effect on mood, Bioidentical Hormone Therapy has so many positive physiological effects that it automatically has positive psychological benefits. Improved sleep alone is known to have positive effects on mood and cognitive function. And hormone therapy is known to improve sleep and reduce both the frequency and severity of insomnia events. Our mood is directly affected by hormones. At any age, keeping hormone levels in the right zone can affect both how we perceive stressful events and how we react to them.
Making a Sensible Choice
Of course, not everyone should use hormone replacement. There are certain medical conditions where hormones are contraindicated, and some conditions may have a cause that is not related to hormonal deficiency or imbalance. The use of hormones is seriously effective, and that is why we are serious about them. As with any treatment, it is always important to know your own body and health history.
You Are Probably a Good Candidate If:
- You want relief from hot flashes
- You want relief from night sweats
- You want reduced inflammation
- You want to sleep better
- You want to prevent fractures caused by osteoporosis
- You want to lower your risk of heart disease
- You want decreased risk of dementia
- You want to feel better
You May Not Be a Good Candidate If:
- You have breast cancer
- You have a family history of breast cancer
- You have heart disease
- You have a family history of heart disease
- You have high blood pressure
- You have liver disease
- You have a history of blood clots or stroke
Bioidentical Hormones Come in Many Forms
Depending on the condition being treated and the type of hormone being used, different methods of delivery are available. Topical creams and gels, oral drops, patches, shots, and implanted pellets are all common ways of introducing hormones into the body. Not everyone responds in exactly the same way, but we will find the method that works best for you.
Because everybody is different, no two people will react exactly the same. Bioidentical Hormone Therapy will increase health and vitality over time. It might take a few months to see the full result, but many people have said that those months felt like they were “aging backward.”
Start a Better You Today
No one is using the term “Fountain of Youth.” However, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that many of our clients feel younger and more vigorous after starting Bioidentical Hormone Therapy with us. And we are happy to know that they are feeling that way naturally. Conventional hormone replacement is a tried-and-true remedy in reducing the symptoms of hormonal imbalance or decline. Traditional wisdom is that the use of hormone therapy should be temporary and, ideally, only to ease the transition of aging. The risk of side effects is seen as too great.
But, what if that is only true when the hormone is not bioidentical? More and more people are asking if pain, insomnia, and low energy really are inevitable. And more and more doctors and researchers are agreeing that, if the hormone is bioidentical, the answer may be “No!”
If you are ready to look and feel younger, stronger, and healthier, call or come by ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, Illinois today. You’ll wonder why you waited.