Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Many patients feel better when their hormones are optimized to stay in the upper ranges of normal, similar to levels they enjoyed in their youth. Hence, based on symptoms and blood levels indicating hormonal deficiency, treatment with Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is aimed at optimizing those levels into the upper range of normal or into the range representing hormone levels in youth. Often, with this approach , patients show a very predictable improvement in their symptoms which makes it easier to fulfill the other lifestyle parameters of living a healthy lifestyle.

BHRT or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy involves the use of natural hormones that are 100% identical in structure to the hormones naturally found in the body. These bioidentical hormones can be derived from soy, yam, and other sources, and modified to be 100 % identical to the hormones found in human body. Hence, these hormones are considered natural to the human body. On the other hand, synthetic hormones, that are produced and patented by drug companies, may be structurally similar, but NOT identical to the hormones produced by the body. Hence, these synthetic hormones , due to their chemical structures being different from the body's natural hormones, act differently and produce substantially different effects. A multitude of studies have demonstrated the many harmful effects of synthetic hormones, whereas the medical literature supports the beneficial effects of natural hormones when used in the correct fashion under the care of a physician.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

The Importance of Hormones

  • Hormones are molecules that are released into the blood stream to have direct effect on target cells.
  • Hormones control virtually all the functions of the body including sleep, metabolism, mood, along with mental and physical health.
  • Hormones tend to decrease in a very predictable manner with age. The age related decrease of hormones corresponds with a decline in energy, vitality, sexual, physical and mental health.
  • While it is true that nothing completely reverses aging, we can certainly slow down the aging process by optimizing hormone levels.
  • It is true that lifestyle, dietary, exercise , and stress levels all contribute to well being. However, optimized hormone levels provide an important foundation, that enhances one ability to live a healthy lifestyle.

In some cases, age related hormone decline can be quite sudden, such as in menopause for women where production of the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone essentially stops. In other cases, age related hormone decline can be gradual, such as the gradual reduction in testosterone that can occur in both men and women from their 30s onwards.

Interpretation of hormone levels and correlation with symptoms requires both a thorough testing of levels in the blood, as well as a thorough assessment of the patient's symptoms. Unfortunately, in an era of fast paced medicine, it is too common to be told simply that your levels are "normal". However, normal can often be a wide range and may not represent an optimal level depending on the patient's age and symptoms.

The following are some key hormones and some of the symptoms that you may be experience if they are out of balance:

Estrogen

estrogen

Thousands of medical studies support the important effects of estrogen in making women feel better and healthier. Estrogen improves the quality of day -to-day life for women by making them more youthful and energized. Women who take estrogen have better muscle tone, fewer wrinkles, and more enjoyable, satisfying sex life after menopause.

However, in 2002, the media alarmed the public by reporting that hormones can increase the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, based on findings of the "Women's Health Initiaitve" medical study. Unfortunately, the media does not know how to interpret the medical literature. They failed to report that these side effects were related to SYNTHETIC hormones, and that natural hormones do NOT pose the same risk.

For example, in the case of estrogen, synthetic estrogen was generally taken as the drug Premarin. This is a type of synthetic estrogen derived from the urine of pregnant horses, which contains many estrogens found in horses only and not in humans. On the other hand, NATURAL estrogen, contains the exact same identical estrogen to what you have in your body. The effects and side effects of the Synthetic vs. the natural estrogen are quite different, and unfortunately the media ( along with the pharmaceutical industry) did not make this important distinction.

The levels of estrogen fall dramatically at the onset of menopause (sometimes earlier), thereby causing deterimental effects such as hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, bladder problems, difficulty concentrating , and anxiety. Furthermore, the decline of estrogen can contribute to heart disease, stroke, osteporosis, alzheimer's , and a dramatic decline of wellness.

During your assessment, Dr. Rouzati will determine based on your symptoms and blood tests, whether you are a candidate for estrogen optimization. Estrogen optimization involves maintaining your blood levels in the higher end of the normal range while taking care to ensure that they are not beyond the normal range).

Progesterone

progesteron Natural progesterone is a very beneficial treatment for elevation of mood, enhancing sleep, and providing an overall sense of wellness. It is also an important hormone for treatment of symptoms of PMS such as irritability, bloating, and headaches . Natural progesterone can also protect against uterine cancer, and possibly against breast cancer as well. In contrast, the synthetic medroxyprogestrone (Provera) can increase the risk of cancer. Unfortunately, the media, along with the medical and pharmaceutical industry, often do not make the important distinction that synthetic progestin is very different (and basically causes the opposite effects in the body) to natural progesterone.

Testosterone

Testosterone is also a female sex hormone, not just a male hormone. In fact, testosterone plays a critically important role in physical and emotional health for women. Testosterone is secreted in women by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone levels can start to diminish from the mid 30 s and dramatically drop off after menopause. Optimizing this critical hormone can increase libido and sexual performance, improve skin tone, decrease fat, and increase bone density.

Testosterone is responsible for the sex drive of both men and women .Testosterone in men can reach a peak around age 20 and start to gradually diminish from age 30 onwards . This gradual decline in testosterone levels can decrease sexual performance and overall vitality , as well as accelerate the onset of age related illnesses. By keeping the testosterone levels in the high normal range or at the peak levels of younger age, sexual function and vitality can remain optimized. Far too common, patients may be told their testosterone levels are "normal" . However ,"normal" is a very wide range , and it is important to take into account the patient 's overall symptoms and differentiate how the levels correlate in comparison to peak levels in youth.

Additionally, testosterone supplementation can help reduce central abdominal obesity, improve cholesterol parameters (by raising the good cholesterol subtype), and improve other parameters to decrease diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, testosterone can help decrease incidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.

Testosterone can be administered in the form of injections and orally . However, these routes have associated side effects due to the matabolism through the liver via these routes. In contrast, topical bioidentical testosterone applied to the skin does not have these side effects. The dose of topical bioidentical testosterone is individualized according to the age, weight, and specific blood levels. Once bioidentical hormone replacement is initiated, the levels are monitored to ensure that the levels are maintained in the upper normal range similar to the conditions in youth. Hence, Testosterone optimization can be an important part of a medical wellness program. It can make a tremendous impact on quality of life, vitality, sexual function while helping to reduce and incidence of age related illnesses such as cardiovascular risk and Alzheimer's.

For an individualized consultation, please book an appointment with our BHRT specialist in Toronto.

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