Conditions Treated with Bioidentical Hormones
Rebecca Hart, M.D. diagnoses and treats a number of conditions that are associated with hormonal imbalances. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help relieve conditions that are the result of hormonal decline.
Some of these conditions include:
Research has concluded that while hormones may be lost with chronological aging, physical aging occurs partly because hormones are lost. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can re-supply the body with hormones that are becoming deficient, and this prevent or reverse many physical signs of aging. Many people have been able to maintain a more youthful appearance, improve muscle tone and strength, increase libido and sexual function, grow thicker more lustrous hair, improve bone density, lose weight, and increase overall energy levels with the help of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help resolve hormone imbalances because it replenishes deficient hormones with hormones that are identical in molecular structural and function to the hormones produced by the human body. Because hormones are associated with almost all bodily functions, a deficit can have pervasive negative effects on the body. Bioidentical hormones can help people restore hormone balance without the adverse side effects associated with the use of non-human hormones. Many thousands of people have been able to improve sexual desire and function, sleep, energy, emotions, muscle tone, mental cognition, bone health, and their overall sense of wellbeing through the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can greatly improve the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue syndrome. Adrenal fatigue is a stress related syndrome that occurs when prolonged periods of high stress wears down the adrenal glands, causing an increase in the hormone cortisol. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue usually include mental and physical exhaustion, salty food cravings, feeling burned out, feeling more awake after 6 PM, trouble getting out of bed, and insomnia. Replenishing hormones with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women suffering from this condition to feel more awake, improve sleep, reduce mental fogginess, improve energy, and reduce food cravings.
A lack of thyroid hormone production is known as hypothyroidism. This condition can be improved with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Thyroid hormone controls many metabolic functions in the body, and when it is lacking people may experience sudden weight gain, constipation, intolerance to cold, hair loss, irregular periods, cold limbs, and fatigue. As the body ages, so does the thyroid gland. Valuable thyroid hormone producing cells senesce and are replaced with connective tissue. Re-introducing thyroid hormone with bioidentical hormones can help men and women improve their thyroid hormone levels, improving the thyroid’s important functions of energy production, basal metabolic rate, and temperature regulation.
Hyperthyroidism is caused when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Because thyroid hormone controls many aspects of metabolism, too much of this hormone can speed up metabolic functions and cause adverse health effects. Symptoms such as sudden weight loss, a faster heart rate, increased bowel movements, anxiety, heart palpitation, bulging eyes, and increased metabolism occur with hyperthyroidism. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help people with hyperthyroidism after successful treatment for this condition. Treatment often involves stopping the function of the thyroid gland altogether, which leaves a deficit. Dr. Hart replaces thyroid hormone lost after ablation or surgery to remove the thyroid. This helps patients restore a healthy weight, calm their heart rate, and reduce anxiety.
Hormone related headaches are a common issue among both men and women. While women may suffer from headaches during certain phases of their menstrual cycle, men can suffer from more continuous headaches related to steadier testosterone decline. Hormone imbalances can play a role in headaches because hormones affect blood flow, and headaches can occur when the blood vessels in the brain are disrupted by changes in blood flow. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can stabilize blood flow and reduce the instances of hormone related headaches. Migraine headache is particularly amenable to treatment with this hormone therapy.
Many women and men going through hormone decline experience night sweats. This is because the hypothalamus in the brain, which is the body’s temperature control center, gets mixed signals with erratic levels of hormones, and it cannot regulate body temperature properly. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help both men and women to balance their hormones to reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and in doing so improve sleep.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can get to the root of hot flashes because body temperature is regulated by hormones. Both women and men can suffer from hot flashes, which are usually associated with hormonal decline that occurs during perimenopause, menopause, or andropause. As is true with night sweats, bringing hormones back into balance can help regulate the hypothalamus, which normalizes body temperature. Regaining hormone balance will prevent and reverse inconvenient hot flashes and body temperature fluctuations.
Imbalances in hormones that occur during both male and female hormone decline can lead to an ongoing low-grade fever. In the body, hormones help regulate the hypothalamus, which is the body’s temperature control center, and when they fall out of balance, the body cannot efficiently regulate temperature. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help replenish deficient hormones and improve the functioning of the hypothalamus. Patients can reduce low grade fevers, hot flashes, and night sweats through the use of bioidentical hormones.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an autoimmune condition that is characterized by a lasting feeling of mental and physical fatigue for no obvious reason. In this condition, people may also experience swollen lymph nodes, a chronic sore throat, body aches, low-grade fever and other flu-like symptoms; mental fogginess, and insomnia. Whatever the cause, the symptoms seem to reinforce and prolong each other, becoming chronic. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been able to reverse many of the symptoms of many people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—improving their energy, sleep, and mental clarity.
Countless individuals suffer from pain and inflammation in various parts of their bodies due to trauma, old injuries, or autoimmune conditions. Replenishing hormones with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can reduce both the sensation and the cause of pain and improve a person’s overall quality of life. In the body, hormones help regulate pain receptors, and poor hormone balance can increase the activation of these pain receptors. While a number of therapies or medications may be able to reduce the sensation of pain, balancing one’s hormones with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can also help lower the inflammation that causes the pain. In particular, Testosterone is known for its natural anti-inflammatory effects.
Many people suffer from sleeping issues, the incidence of which increases as we age. A large percentage of these people may be experiencing insomnia as a result of hormonal decline. In women, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has helped regulate sleep disturbances that result from the estrogen decline that occurs during perimenopause and menopause. In both sexes, hormone therapy helps to regulate the hypothalamus, which helps control the body’s sleep cycles. Both men and women have been able to improve their sleep with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Falling testosterone levels in both men and women can lead to low libido. In women, perimenopause and menopause are the times when they usually experience a reduced sex drive. In men, andropause can lead to a lack of desire for sexual activity as well as erectile dysfunction. For women, supplementing deficient estrogen reverses vaginal dryness allowing women to enjoy sexual relations again without pain. Supplementing deficient hormones with BHRT can help both men and women regain a healthy sex drive, rekindle intimate relationships, and improve feelings of youthfulness.
Anxiety and Depression
Because hormones impact moods and brain chemistry, anxiety and depression can result from or be intensified by a hormone imbalance. Replenishing and rebalancing deficient hormones with bioidentical versions can help reduce both depression and anxiety. Often, patients can reduce or even discontinue the use of anti-depressants and anxiolytic medication after treatment with bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women improve moods and reduce outbursts of anger, anxiety, depression, and sadness. Hormones have receptors in the brain that affect moods. When hormones are at lower levels or are fluctuating erratically, men and women can experience moodiness and an overall reduced sense of wellbeing. Bioidentical hormone replacement can replenish hormones that promote receptors in the brain that transmit feelings of calmness and contentment, and improve overall mood.
In both men and women, outbursts of uncalled for anger may be the result of hormonal fluctuations. For example, estrogen increases the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid). Often during menopause, the loss of estrogen triggers an increased in anger in women. In men, testosterone fluctuations can directly trigger aggressive behavior. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women get along with each other and improve their individual sense of wellbeing.
Allergies can result from poor immune function and increased inflammation. Certain hormones work to reduce inflammation and improve immunity. When these hormones decline, patients may experience more allergic symptoms, such as rhinitis, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, skin rashes, itching, or digestive issues. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women balance their hormones, which can help the body to improve overall immune function and lower inflammatory responses.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorders
Many people suffer from GI disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome BS (IBS). Chronic stress is often the cause. Some GI problems are brought on or exacerbated by food sensitivities, poor dietary habits, or autoimmune conditions. Patients can feel abdominal cramps, nausea, pain, and bloating. Improved diet and reduced stress can help correct these problems. However, it is known that poorly balanced hormone levels can be a source of stress by themselves. Hot flashes may cause sleeplessness – resulting in daytime fatigue and stress. Anger from the irritability of menopause or andropause raises cortisol levels as a stress response. Replacing deficient hormones helps to improve these stress induced GI problems.
Both men and women can suffer from urinary issues due to hormonal imbalances. In women, urinary incontinence, cystitis, or leakage can result from atrophy of the mucous membranes of the urethra. Supplementing estradiol and estriol with bioidentical hormones can help maintain urinary health, and reduce urinary leakage, irritation, and inflammation. In men, an enlarged prostate may occur due to lower testosterone and increased estrogen levels. An enlarged prostate compresses the bladder, causing urgency and frequency. Improving testosterone levels with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help lower estrogen levels, improve prostate health, and reduce urinary urgency and frequency. Dr. Hart can also do a thorough evaluation to see if other causes of incontinence, leakage or pain may be at fault. She is happy to help patients restore urinary health.
Water Retention is often caused by a lack of progesterone, a natural diuretic. This can occur in women before their menstrual periods or during perimenopause or menopause. Retaining water can also happen in men as a result of imbalanced hormones. Balancing progesterone and other hormones can help reduce water retention. Restoring hormones to their normal levels can help men and women lose water weight and feel more slender around the middle.
Weight Loss Resistance
Usually imbalances in estrogen and progesterone are to blame for weight loss resistance. In women going through perimenopause and menopause falling estrogen levels can cause the body to hold onto body fat because it contains estrogen, and a lack of progesterone causes water retention because it is a natural diuretic. In men, low testosterone can be replaced by a rise in estrogen, leading to a slower metabolism and more body fat. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help both men and women replenish deficient hormones and correct imbalances. Fat loss is improved in patients receiving individualized hormone therapy.
Alopecia (hair loss)
Alopecia is a condition that causes a person to lose large amounts of hair on their scalp or body. Some of this hair loss may be hormone related. In women, hair loss can result from hormonal fluctuations after pregnancy and during menopause or perimenopause. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help women to reverse hair loss and grow thicker and more lustrous hair. In men, hair loss can occur during andropause, or male hormone decline. During this time, men may lose healthy testosterone, which leads to a rise in dihydrotestosterone. This type of testosterone kills healthy hair follicles. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help reduce this form of testosterone by restoring free testosterone, which may prevent further hair loss. Other therapies can also assist patients with hair loss, and decrease di-hydro-testosterone levels. Dr. Hart is happy to assist patients in restoring hair growth for a youthful look.
Psoriasis is a common autoimmune skin condition that affects millions of individuals. This disease occurs when the skin produces cells faster than they slough off, which results in thickened plaque formation on the skin. Patients experience redness, itching, swelling, and flaking of the skin. Classically, this is treated with creams, medications (immune modulators) and light therapy. BHRT can also play a role by improving overall immune function.
Eczema is another autoimmune skin condition occurring in which the body attacks skin cells causing symptoms of redness, itching, and flaking. It is associated with food allergies, asthma and stress, as well as a genetic predisposition to dry skin. Bathing in hard water is also implicated. This condition can be improved by reducing stress, using soft water, eliminating certain foods, and improving skin nutrition. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help improve this immune function and slow the age-related thinning of the skin. By doing so, BHRT reduces the symptoms and progression of eczema. Patients with eczema may be able to experience healthier and more radiant skin with the help of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Many adolescents and adults suffer from acne, or skin breakouts. Due to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, women may experience skin breakouts before their menstrual periods, during peri-menopause, or in times of stress. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy corrects these imbalances and reduces acne or skin blemishes. In men, increases in testosterone during the teens or twenties can lead to acne. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, if not done carefully with precision, can result in an outbreak of acne. When done with skillful expertise, however, this side effect will be avoided. Men and women can enjoy smoother, more radiant, and brighter skin with the help of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Rebecca Hart, M.D., a Houston Bioidentical Hormones Doctor, has had great success in helping men and women to reduce the consequences of these conditions and improve overall health and wellness levels.