Are you experiencing age related hormone deficiency symptoms? These include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss, mood disorder, no interest in sexual activity, weight gain, dry skin, vaginal dryness, wrinkling, etc. Most of this is easily treated by giving you back a younger level of hormones.
What is natural/bio-identical hormone replacement? This is a treatment that involves replacing some of our hormones with the exact molecule that our bodies produced in great abundance when we were younger.
What would cause my hormones to decline? Planned obsolescence.
We are genetically programmed to self-destruct. There is a natural decline in many hormones with an associated deterioration in our body and its functions as we age. The result is age related disease and eventually death.
Well, isn’t that the natural way of things? Yes. And if that is the way you wish to go, then read no further.
Isn’t replacing hormones unnatural? Yes. Even replacing your hormones with hormones of the exact chemical structure found in nature, is artificially interfering with nature’s plan to turn you into compost.
Is it possible that these hormones could harm me? It is certain that the decline in these hormones is related to aging and the degenerative diseases thereof.
There are thousands of studies on all of these hormones, as they are absolutely essential parts of our biochemistry. Most of the studies are small, basic research. These are not the large expensive studies that are done to obtain FDA approval. Therefore, it is possible that there may be risks associated with replacing your hormones, although I believe the benefits outweigh the possible risks.
These are the hormones that decline as we age and are available for replacement:
Estrogen: What causes night sweats? Well, you could have malaria, but the more likely answer to what causes night sweats for a female over 40 is almost certain to be a lack of estrogen. There are several estrogens produced by the human female. The production of estrogen drops rapidly between age 40 and age 50 and is responsible for hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, low sex drive, etc. A tremendous amount of money has been spent researching estrogen replacement therapy with unnatural, artificial estrogens that are patentable, therefore profitable. Natural substances are not patentable and. therefore, are not profitable.
There are tremendous benefits in replacing your estrogen past menopause. Those women not replacing estrogen are far more likely to become demented or develop diabetes. These poor ladies are also more likely to get heart disease, osteoporosis, urogenital atrophy, urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and die 5-6 years earlier than those who replace their estrogen. It may be reasonable to assume that replacing one’s estrogen with natural human estrogens would do at least as well as the unnatural forms that were used in these large studies. I believe the multiple benefits of natural replacement far outweigh any potential harm. Of course, it is your body and you should educate yourself to make that decision.
Let me suggest The Sexy Years and Ageless by Suzanne Somers, Natural Hormone Balance for Women by Uzzi Reiss, M.D or The Hormone Solution by T. Hertoghe, M.D.
Progesterone: This hormone declines gradually, starting in the 30’s. This causes a relative insufficiency of progesterone in relation to estrogen (called estrogen dominance). These hormones work better together, and I sometimes suggest replacing progesterone as early as the teens to help all kinds of hormone related problems. While a woman is still menstruating, the routine suggested is to use progesterone the last half of each cycle. This usually relieves PMS symptoms. During menopause, progesterone is often taken orally at night. This can help insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, fibromyalgia symptoms, osteoporosis, headaches, sour attitude and reduces breast cancer risk by 69%.
DHEA: (dihydroepiandrosterone). This is the most abundant hormone produced by our adrenal cortex. Our bodies can convert it indirectly into estrogen or testosterone. Supplementing with DHEA increases the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Some people notice it gives a sense of well-being and increased energy. It is associated with decreased fat mass, increased muscle mass, increased sex drive and moisturizes dry skin. At 50mg most women will experience increased oil production in their skin because DHEA at higher doses causes increased testosterone levels in women. This is a desirable effect for older women as it decreases the dryness and increases the softness of the skin. Higher doses may even cause teenage-like acne and a few women will experience an increase in facial hair. This happens when some ladies are too efficient at making testosterone out of DHEA. Most women only experience the positive effects. If a woman experiences facial hair or acne at a particular dose, this can be alleviated by decreasing the dose. Higher doses in men (50 to 100mg/dy) causes undesirable elevated estrogen levels.
Melatonin: This hormone is produced by the pineal gland and is associated with circadian rhythms and sleep. It is also a powerful antioxidant and improves immune functions. Many people take anywhere from 1-20 m.g. per night. It works great for some but works only a little for most people. I usually suggest starting with 3m.g. per night. Increase the dose until you are sleeping better without a hangover. We carry 3, 10 and 20m.g. caps at the clinic.
Testosterone: I am speaking of natural testosterone here, not the artificial anabolic steroids taken in excessive doses that have received so much negative press. This is, of course, the hormone that is responsible for male characteristics, including increased muscle mass, higher energy level, a feeling of well-being and increased sex drive. Low testosterone can contribute to chronic fatigue. Treating low testosterone can correct sexual dysfunction. Treating low testosterone can help fibromyalgia symptoms. So, women with low testosterone are helped in more ways than one by testosterone replacement.
For women I sometimes prescribe testosterone cream used daily on the clitoris and around the introitus for improved sexual response.
The idea is to replace one’s growth hormone to the level that we had when we were perhaps 25 or 30 years old. Replacing this hormone has profound anti-aging effects. Low HGH can be associated with low testosterone levels, chronic fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia symptoms and generally the symptoms that go with aging. This is not covered by insurance. For more information read Grow Young with HGH by Ron Klatz. Or better just read on about GHRP-6 below.
GHRP-6: Now we have a more sophisticated way to increase your growth hormone level with a method that coaxes your pituitary to produce it on its own.
Cost: As mentioned above, human growth hormone is by far the most expensive hormone to replace (many thousand $ per year). Though the new way alluded to may be only $50-$300/month.
Testosterone for men may cost $40 to $100 per month.
Estrogen and progesterone replacement may cost $15 to $50 per month.
DHEA and Melatonin may cost $2 to $6 per month.
These prices mainly reflect the costs to our patients. You can expect to pay far more elsewhere.
Prescription and Non-Prescription Hormones:
Human growth hormone, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen are the only four that require a physician’s prescription. The others are obtainable over the counter.
Before anyone embarks on this adventure, I expect they will educate themselves much farther than this brief, superficial introduction. This is part of alternative medicine. If you go down this path, it is not like a well-worn freeway. It is more like a recently charted territory with cow paths and wagon trails. Using moderation, replacing one’s hormones to mimic levels of perhaps a 28 year old, will likely be extremely beneficial and hopefully safe long term. The consequence of doing nothing is predictable age related decline in health and well-being and eventual death from an age related disease.