How does a person develop hormone imbalance?
Hormone production decreases with age. This natural slowdown combines with lifestyle factors – such as poor sleeping habits, stress, obesity and poor diet to create an environment for hormonal imbalance. For women, this occurs rather quickly (over a few years) and produces what we know as menopause. For men this is a very gradual process that starts around age 25 – 30 and continues at a steady pace throughout the remainder of their lives. Some use the term “andropause” to describe this loss of male hormones. Just as you can’t see the hour hands of a clock moving, sometimes it’s hard to recognize the signs and symptoms of andropause because the hormone loss is so gradual.
Where do Bioidentical Hormones come from?
Bioidentical Hormones are produced using yams or other plant products as a base. Laboratory alterations produce a compound that is chemically identical to our own naturally produced hormones.
How are Bioidentical Hormones taken?
There are many ways to safely take Bioidentical Hormones. Most women will use topical creams or gels that are rubbed into the skin. Some may be taken orally. Most men will require weekly (or biweekly) painless injections with a very small needle to achieve optimum levels of free testosterone.
Are Bioidentical Hormones for women safer than Synthetic Hormones for women?
Very much so. Research has shown that Bioidentical Hormones do not have much in common with the side effects of Synthetic Hormones that were used years ago. These side effects were confirmed in the large Women’s Health Initiative Study in 2002. Users of newer Bioidentical Hormones have produced a large body of evidence that supports their safety. As a bonus, your baseline risks for breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis and sarcopenia (reduced muscle mass) are reduced.
Int J Cancer. 2005 April 10;114(3): Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2010,30:340-345
J Clin Endocrinol Metab 91: 1683-1690, 2006
Didn’t I read that Testosterone causes Heart Disease?
You may have read about a flawed study that was poorly designed and executed but heavily promoted by trial lawyers. It implied negative cardiovascular effects. This is untrue, and there are numerous well designed studies demonstrating cardio protective effects of testosterone optimization.
Does Testosterone treatment increase the risk for Prostate Cancer?
Absolutely not. There are many well designed studies which confirm that there is no increased risk. Dr. Abraham Morgentaler a well-known Harvard Urologist has published extensively on this and treats some men with known Prostate Cancer.
European Urology, Volume 50, Issue 5, November 2006, Pages 895-897 Prostate vol 47, Issue 1, p52-58, April 2001
Journal of Urology Vol170, Issue6,Part1,Dec 2003,p2348-2351
Why are Bioidentical Hormones not FDA approved?
There has been 30 years of very safe use of Bioidentical Hormones. Studies to demonstrate safety and effectiveness are commonly done by pharmaceutical companies. Since these compounds are found naturally, they cannot be patented and there is no financial incentive to pay for a study.
You should note that the synthetic estrogens and progestins (Premarin, Provera, Prempro) which have a confirmed history of significant adverse side effects are all still FDA approved as “safe and effective” with some qualifications.