“Do i need hormones?” “Are all hormones the same?” “what is the safest and the best hormones and when should i start?”
These are the most common questions I am asked from women transitioning through perimenopause or in menopause. Women concerned about changes they see in themselves, friends, or family seek ways to either make it easier or prevent unwanted changes associated with reduced hormones.
Changes that are most reported are hot flushes, fatigue, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood changes, mental fogginess, decreased libido, and weight gain in the mid abdomen. Long term, hair loss, loss of skin elasticity, decreased muscle tone, and reduced metabolism also occurs.
Reduced hormones during perimenopause and menopause increase the risk of heart attack by 10 fold, causes gradual weakness in the bones or osteoporosis, and worsen vaginal prolapse and urinary control problems.
The controversies surrounding the safety of hormone therapy that has raged for the past 30 years now is settled by several major studies. These studies show hormone therapy as a significant part of women’s health in perimenopause and menopause.
Studies also show that starting hormones in perimenopause or very quickly after menopause has the least risk and the greatest benefit. These benefits last as long as the hormones are used. We have also found that hormone customization is the best way to approach hormone replacement. We are all different and are affected differently as we go through the change of life. Evaluating a woman’s symptoms and testing guide the type of hormones her body needs and close follow up allows for adjusting the dosage for complete resolution of symptoms.
In my practice we use bioidentical hormones. These hormones are sourced from soy and yam and compounded to resemble the hormones naturally produced by a woman’s body. I feel that this similarity in hormone structure to natural hormones allow better acceptability and efficacy and minimize side effects. Also using creams to deliver the hormones through the skin has shown to eliminate the risk of deep venous blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks, a major concern with other delivery methods. The goal of hormone replacement is to maximize benefit and minimize risk.
Most women are good candidates for hormone replacement therapy with promise of better health and quality of life. If you are on hormone therapy and looking for better results, or thinking about starting, we are happy to see you. Please call us with questions or make an appointment for a consultation.