Hormone Therapy isn't just
about menopause anymore
Most women are familiar with the
idea of hormone therapy of some sort. Often - this hormone
education started with the pill as a contraceptive measure.
More recently, estrogen therapy (HRT
- hormone replacement therapy) has become quite common in going
through menopause. But these often require trial and error
methods to find out which ones worked best and in what
Neither are synthetic hormones designed with a
balanced approach and on an individual basis. They are
designed to reduce menopausal symptoms, not bring the body back
into balance, and they are produced in mass volume at predefined
Using hormone therapy in this one-size-fits-all way
can cause a whole host of symptoms including:
flashes and night-sweats
fogginess (lack of mental clarity)
ups and downs
Newer treatments involve bioidentical
balanced hormone treatments that carry more than just estrogen
in a one-size fits all tablet. They actually mirror the
normal body balances of hormones from when you were in your 20's
and they are adjustable. In certain situations, they may
even give you a better balance than what you had when you were
Both men and women carry certain
amounts of both estrogen and testosterone. While the
estrogen is responsible for body functions having to do with
child-bearing, testosterone can be responsible for drive,
ambition, aggression, and sexual desire.
Women who have a testosterone
deficiency also often have a very low sex drive but this can be
resolved with biologically identical hormones.
Effects of biologically
identical hormone therapy
The effects of hormonal therapy
may be realized sooner or later, but eventually all will show
up. One of the first things women will notice is a strong
increase in sexual desire starting after the first week or so and
hitting peak at 3-4 weeks. Some women report a
much stronger desire than at any time in their
lifetime. Other effects take much longer to realize but
as the body starts to become accustomed to the new old hormone
levels again, it can start to back up age-wise as well.
Does this mean that a 50 year old
woman will end up with a 30 year old body? Not so
fast. While some aspects of her physical health, attitude,
and libido might rival that or even be better than at age 30, you
cannot stop or reverse the clock.
Nevertheless, when combined with
proper diet and exercise, many 50 year old women can be just as
healthy and sexually active as their 30 year old daughters.
It is strongly recommended that
both husband and wife go into this program together as hormone
therapy for men is also available. It isn't required,
but women who go it alone can find themselves quite
frustrated. Must we elaborate?
How strong are the sexual
effects? To put it mildly, plan more leisure time in your
life, and you might want to dust off that Victoria Secret credit
card again... and double the credit limit.
Other effects that you might see
right away would include reduced mood swings, possibly also adding
to but certainly complementing the effects above.
Many women also report a
reduction or elimination of depression and anxiety, an increased
ability to lose weight, better sleep, and reduced trips to the
bathroom in the middle of the night.
Are hormones safe?
There have of course been many
studies and problems found with HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
in women, and particularly related to breast disease and
These have almost exclusively been with synthetic
hormones and European studies have concluded that bioidenticals
are safer, but no hormone therapy should ever be thought of as
Bottom line - talk to your doctor
and weigh all the risk factors, do additional studies on the
subject, and start and continue with regular exams to determine
your suitability to be on such a program.
The downsides are simple:
As with any treatment regimen,
you must start with a set of blood tests. In this case, a
hormone panel should be run to determine what your current levels
are. Unlike synthetic hormones that are made with a one or
two size fits all, bioidentical hormones can be individually
developed for a balanced approach.
There's no way that you, your
neighbor, your kid's teacher, your mom and your sister all have
the exact same hormonal balance. Yet there's a good
possibility that you would all be on the exact same dosage if you
are using synthetic hormones - not so with bioidentical hormones.
If you or your family has a
history of cancer in the family, be sure to disclose this to the
doctor. The risks aren't quite for the same reason as they
are with synthetic hormones, but adding even a small amount of
testosterone to your body could potentially affect the growth rate
of a cancerous tumor.
Talk with your doctor
about additional tests that should be run. Hormone therapy
isn't for everyone.
The cost isn't big, but you
aren't buying asprin either. If you smoke, give up smoking and you will
save just about as much as the testosterone replacement program
will cost you.
You might find that you spend far
more time thinking of sex than what you are used to. You
might also find that your libido exceeds your time
available. A helpful suggestion - plan a long weekend
honeymoon about 3-4 weeks into the program.