Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For You?

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For You

When women go through menopause, their hormone levels, both estrogen, and progesterone decline; in this case, hormone replacement therapy can help many women curb the unpleasant symptoms plaguing women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond. Not only for women, but hormone replacement therapy can also address men’s hormonal imbalance.

What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is often just a part of life and occurs naturally when age increases. However, some other common culprits of hormonal imbalance can be: 

  • Extreme stress 
  • Thyroid issues 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Abuse of certain medications 
  • Environmental factors 

Because symptoms can impact everyone differently and often mimic other health conditions, it is best to consult a medical provider to ensure an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Hormona Imbalance?

The hormone levels can only be checked via blood tests and lab results, but it is also good to start by assessing the symptoms when experiencing:  

  • fatigue 
  • hair loss 
  • low energy 
  • lack of libido  
  • poor body composition 
  • low sperm counts 
  • enlarged prostate for men  
  • acne  
  • difficulty sleeping  
  • weight gain 
  • high blood pressure and cholesterol 
  • irregular menstrual periods 
  • mood swings 
  • headaches  
  • infertility  
  • erectile dysfunction

What Are The Types of Hormone Therapy for Men and Women? 

When diet and exercise do not work independently, HRT can be a helpful intervention for both men and women. If results are still not seen after giving time and attention to the health regimen, it may be time to explore alternative solutions. Also, HRT is not gender-specific, just like testosterone is not just found in males and estrogen is not only in females. 

HRT can help both men and women replenish hormone levels and be their best athletic selves. HRT looks like testosterone supplements for men to help with muscle gain and fat loss. For women, HRT looks like progesterone, estrogen, or a combination of the two (for combination hormone therapy). 

How Does Hormone Therapy Work?

Once diagnosed, the chosen general practitioner should prescribe hormone replacement therapy to those experiencing symptoms of menopause. In fact, some doctors do testing before advising HRT, while others do not. Typically, patients begin with low dosages due to the needed trial and adjustment period only because people react differently to HRT. 

Later on, this dosage can be increased, but it takes at least a few weeks for the benefits of the treatment to be visible, including the potential side effects. Usually, experts recommend trying HRT for three months to see if the symptoms wear off. If the symptoms are still there, a change of dosage or the type of HRT will be done while the patient goes through the adjustment process again. 

Moreover, no limit is imposed on how long a person can take HRT, but women usually stop using it when menopause symptoms are no longer there after a certain number of years. Although HRT can be stopped suddenly or gradually, it is recommended to do it step by step not to shock the organism and prevent the symptoms from reoccurring. 

Are There Types Of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

HRT is mainly used to replace the women’s hormone estrogen in the body. Below are the two main categories of estrogen therapy, which includes:

  • Low-dose products are used via the vagina. They come in the form of tablets, creams, or a ring. When it comes to menopause, a low-dose type of therapy is used most often to treat urinary or vaginal symptoms.
  • Systemic hormone replacement therapy. They come in the form of pills, rings, patches, gels, sprays, or creams containing a higher amount of estrogen.

For men, several options are available for testosterone therapy, which include:

  • Intramuscular testosterone injections. The doctor will inject these into the muscles of the buttocks every two to three weeks.
  • Testosterone patches. These patches are applied daily to the back, arms, buttocks, or abdomen. Be sure to rotate the application sites.
  • Topical testosterone gel. Apply this each day to the shoulders, arms, or abdomen.

Who Needs Hormone Replacement Therapy?

The hormone levels will naturally decline due to the aging process. That said, the treatment is just right for those who may begin to experience some of the following symptoms once the hormone levels drop too low:

Frequent Fatigue 

One of the most frequently reported symptoms associated with hormone deficiencies is fatigue. People experiencing this symptom may constantly feel run down, even when obtaining adequate sleep. They may suffer from a hormone deficiency if they have been experiencing seemingly unshakeable fatigue.

 Metabolic Dysfunction

Hormones play a key role in regulating metabolic function. With hormone deficiency, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy weight or build lean muscle mass. This symptom is prevalent among male patients, as testosterone is essential for proper metabolic function. 

Mood Swings or Depression

Hormones are responsible for regulating processes within the human brain as well. A hormone imbalance could cause feelings of depression and mood swings.

What Are The Possible Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Although rare, HRT has been connected to an increased risk for certain cancers, especially breast cancer. Some studies discovered a link between Hormone Replacement Therapy and breast cancer, referring to people being treated with EPT but not estrogen alone. However, no studies show that bioidentical HRT is any safer than synthetic HRT.

On the other hand, a higher risk for uterine cancer also exists when menopausal people with a uterus use estrogen (ET) only.

Other risks for people undergoing HRT include stroke. 

Who Should Not Receive The Treatment?

While it’s a safe procedure, hormone replacement therapy is not recommended for people who:

  • May be pregnant
  • Have issues with abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • With a history of breast cancer (either personal or family)
  • Have a personal history of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, or liver disease
  • Have a family history of gallbladder disease
  • Are you allergic to estrogen or progesterone

Final Thoughts

Hormone replacement therapy is a viable treatment option for women experiencing troublesome symptoms of menopause. In fact, many experts believe the benefits of HRT may outweigh the risks. Waco Center for Functional Medicine, PLLC offers Hormone Replacement Therapy, which utilizes advanced testing to identify hormonal imbalances and personalize your treatment with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and/or herbs to get you back on track and feeling your best.

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