Patients who have experienced incredible results with hormone replacement of course want to stay on this therapy for as long as possible, but they may be wondering how long is too long. At ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, IL, we offer bioidentical hormone therapy that is completely natural and safe to use on a long-term basis.
Deciding How Long To Stay on BHRT
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) remains the gold standard for safely alleviating many of the devastating symptoms that can present at mid-life. While some patients choose to use it on a short-term basis to get them through the worst part of menopause, many people are now recognizing that bioidentical hormones can be a permanent part of a healthy lifestyle.
Deciding how long to stay on BHRT is a personal decision that depends on your overall health and anti-aging goals, but we can assure most patients that this is a treatment which can be safely continued indefinitely. If you are feeling great while using bioidentical hormones, there is absolutely no reason to stop this therapy just because you have been on it for a long time or have reached a certain age.
Why Age Doesn’t Matter
It used to be thought that supplementing one’s hormones was only necessary during peak menopause to alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It is now recognized that the symptoms of hormone depletion can begin much sooner and end much later than previously thought. There are people in their 30’s who may benefit from BHRT, and others in their 60’s or 70’s who wish to continue to enjoy the lifestyle that BHRT has allowed.
Unless a person has a specific health issue that makes extended use of bioidentical hormone therapy ill-advised, this treatment can be safely continued on a long-term basis. A reputable clinic will of course monitor your health status throughout treatment and notify you right away if there is any reason why therapy should be paused or discontinued. We can also work with your other health care providers if needed.
The typical profile of a long-term BHRT user often looks like this: They begin a bioidentical hormone replacement program around age 40 during the early stages of perimenopause, and gradually increase their dose over the years to circumvent the worst menopausal symptoms that would normally present between the ages of 50 and 55. Their dose may be adjusted several times over the years to ensure a custom treatment plan.
A woman who starts BHRT in her 40’s will not ever experience full menopausal symptoms, but her dose will likely need to be increased eventually as her body’s own hormone production continues to dwindle. By age 60, menopause has normally passed, but treatment may still continue at a tapered dose so that a woman can continue to enjoy the benefits of BHRT into this next stage of life.
What About Men Who Use BHRT?
Men who have been using bioidentical hormone therapy to boost their testosterone can also continue this treatment on a long-term basis, as long as there aren’t any specific medical reasons to indicate otherwise. In most cases, a man can continue to use this therapy into his 60’s or 70’s, but if in doubt, always ask your doctor.
If You Do Wish To Discontinue Therapy
If you have been on BHRT for many years and have decided to experiment with cutting back your dose, it is very important that this be done gradually and under medical supervision. Cutting off your hormone supply abruptly can result in a resurgence of symptoms. Thanks to the highly customizable nature of BHRT, a person’s dose can be reduced very gradually over a period of months or years.
In some cases, a person does not necessarily want to go off treatment entirely but feels that they are at a stage in life where they no longer need the same hormone boost. Again, a gradual and medically supervised approach is key. We always want to keep patients at the lowest effective dose for them.
Why More Men and Women Are Choosing To Stay on Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Instead of a quick band-aid solution to menopausal and andropausal symptoms, BHRT is now recognized as a long-term natural health aid that can permanently alleviate hormone-deficiency symptoms such as mood disorders, insomnia, weight gain, fatigue, bone and muscle loss, sexual dysfunction, and even cognitive problems.
While some of these health issues are not always exclusively rooted in hormone loss, when they are, staying on BHRT can be the answer. In some cases, hormone loss only makes up part of the picture, but patients can still benefit from staying on BHRT in combination with other treatments they might be receiving from a physician.
Proven Benefits of BHRT
Hormone replacement remains one of the most thoroughly studied treatments of the past 40 years, so we know that balancing a person’s hormones can have very positive outcomes on many aspects of health and wellness. It has been established that hormone replacement can often achieve the following:
- More restful sleep
- Improved sexual performance
- Alleviation of hot flashes
- Easier weight management
- Better memory and focus
- Enhanced energy and vigor
- Stronger bones (in women) and muscles (in men)
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
How Long To Expect Symptom Relief
If you have experienced the debilitating symptoms that often come as a part of the natural aging process, when these symptoms disappear, it might feel too good to be true. Patients often ask how long they will likely be able to enjoy continued symptom relief.
While this can vary between individuals, if a person is on a medically supervised program with several “check-ins” per year to monitor their dose, it is unlikely that they will experience a resurgence in symptoms. We always advise patients to be self-aware so that we can address symptoms as soon as they start to re-emerge. If or when they do, all that is required is a simple dose adjustment.
Advice for New BHRT Patients
While introducing more estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone can sometimes feel like a miracle cure, it is important to note that hormones should always be administered under medical supervision. It is possible to have too much of a good thing, so achieving the right balance is key. It is also essential to use only the highest quality bioidentical hormones if you want to achieve ideal results.
Being an Informed Consumer
Unfortunately, there are many hormone-containing products available through questionable sources on the internet. Self-administering hormones is a bad idea for many reasons, not the least of which is that you may not be receiving hormones from a quality source or at the correct dose for your age, weight, and symptoms.
While hormone replacement is very safe when performed under medical supervision, there can be negative outcomes when dealing with dubious online sources. Finding a clinic in your area that specializes in hormone replacement using customizable bioidentical hormones is the answer.
Finding a Reputable Clinic
Do your homework to make sure you are working with a reputable clinic that only administers high-quality bioidentical hormones that are customized for each patient. Hormone pellets are considered among the safest and most effective delivery systems available today, as they allow for a slow but steady release of hormones into the body.
Ideally, you will find a clinic that offers pellets as an option. These tiny compounded pellets only need to be inserted a few times per year, so they are very convenient as well. Remember that hormones which come in pill or injectable form are not typically bioidentical.
When You Have Chronic Medical Conditions or Risk Factors
In addition to relief from the symptoms noted earlier, there are also patients who seek hormone replacement in the hope of alleviating or preventing certain conditions. We already know that increasing available estrogen can improve bone health in women suffering from osteoporosis, but there are also promising studies that show BHRT can help to prevent certain cancers such as colon and cervical cancers.
There is reason to believe that hormone replacement can also be helpful for preventing dementia. If you have a family history of any of these conditions, talk to your doctor to see if hormone replacement might be right for.
Do You Want To Learn More About Long-Term BHRT?
Whether you have only been on BHRT for a few years or are a long-time user, we would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about continuing this therapy indefinitely. Contact us today at ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, IL so that we can discuss your options for enjoying symptom relief and a better quality of life for many years to come.