What are Hormones?
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. The are produced in various organs throughout your body that together comprises your endocrine system. Hormones are critical to your overall health and longevity because they influence and regulate nearly every cell, organ, and function in your body, including:
- Sexual performance and function
- Cellular repair
- Cognitive function
- Mood and mental state
- Metabolic rate, including weight gain or loss
Your endocrine system is a highly complicated and delicately balanced system, with multiple feedback loops that help regulate the manufacture and release of hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, DEHA, progesterone, thyroid hormone, pregnenolone, and others. When this system isn’t working optimally, the result is hormone imbalance.
What is Hormone Imbalance?
Throughout your life, your levels of hormones will vary depending on many factors, including your age, developmental state, overall health, diet, exercise status, and others in a healthy person. The body will begin producing sex hormones in greater amounts during puberty and continue to produce optimal levels of these hormones throughout early adulthood. Sex hormones include estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and others. Throughout your life, you will produce hormones such as thyroid hormone (which regulates metabolism) and pregnenolone (sometimes called the “master hormone”). Hormones are designed to act in concert with one another. For example, estrogen and testosterone work both with and against each other, in both men and women. If a man has too little testosterone and too much estrogen, he is at increased risk of certain diseases and unpleasant symptoms like weight gain. Similarly, if a woman has too little estrogen and too much testosterone, she is also at risk of unwanted symptoms. Hormone imbalance occurs when the body is producing less-than optimal levels of any particular hormone or the body is unable to utilize the hormone(s) to produce the desired effect. Unfortunately, this is much more common among aging people because of the age-related reduction in hormone production. As a result, people over the age of 40-and sometimes even younger-will start to notice strange symptoms without an obvious explanation. In many cases, these symptoms are caused by an imbalance in hormone levels. These symptoms are often diverse and subtle, including:
- Trouble losing weight
- Sleep trouble
- Lack of energy
- Lack of motivation
- Depression or low mood
- Anxiety and irritability
- Loss of memory
- Sexual troubles for both men and women
- Lack of concentration
In previous generations, this was all considered part of “normal aging.” Today we understand that these symptoms experienced by so many men and women in Cookeville are often caused by the age-related drop in critical hormone levels, including testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and others. The decline in hormone levels is different for every person and doesn’t happen according to an even schedule, but it does eventually affect everyone.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
If you’re experiencing a hormone imbalance, there are several things you can do to relieve your symptoms and improve your hormone balance. These include getting exercise, and improving your diet and sleep habits— and many people benefit from hormone replacement therapy. With our highly skilled providers, Tennessee Health And Wellness has emerged as a leader in hormone replacement therapy in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland area. We specialize in the use of bioidentical hormones to naturally replace and restore optimal hormone levels. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) has been used since 1976. It’s important to understand exactly what bioidentical hormones are. Bioidentical hormone are natural analogs of your internally produced hormones. Hormone doctors have long used synthetic hormones in medical practice, but the use of bioidentical hormones has changed hormone replacement therapy in fundamental ways. Unlike the synthetic hormones used in the past, bioidentical hormones are considered natural because they are exact copies of the molecules your body produces and do not produce undesired effects that are associated with Synthetic hormone replacement.
What Are Synthetic Hormones?
Before the introduction of bioidentical hormones, physicians use to use synthetic hormones in hormone replacement programs, sometimes with dire consequences. Unlike their bioidentical counterparts, synthetic hormones are derived from animal sources or artificially created from compounds with hormone like properties and are not exact matches of the hormones your body produces. Bottom line, synthetic hormones are biologically active but with some crucial differences in the way they affect your body. The greatest example of the dangers of synthetic hormones was the widespread use of synthetic hormone therapy in menopausal women to reduce the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. For decades, millions of women were prescribed synthetic estrogen therapy, typically using strong estrogens that were derived from the urine of pregnant mares (horses). Recently however, one of the largest studies ever conducted, the Women’s Health Initiative, was released with shocking findings. According to the WHI, instead of protecting women this type of synthetic hormone replacement therapy actually increased the risk of stroke and breast cancer- the very conditions this type of therapy was supposed to reduce. As a result, millions of women immediately stopped taking synthetic hormones and the number of prescriptions plummeted. Since then, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about natural hormone replacement and can now offer safe and effective hormone replacement therapy without risk. The answer is bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) at Tennessee Health And Wellness in Cookeville.
How Are Bioidentical Hormones Made?
Bioidentical hormones are comprised of hormones that are an exact molecular match to endogenous hormones and are available in pills, patches, creams, pellets, and by injection.
Synthetic vs Bioidentical Hormone
Although both types of hormones are biologically active, bioidentical hormones have some powerful benefits over their synthetic alternatives. They are safer and more effective and interact with your body in a more natural way. Synthetic hormones include foreign compounds that your body won’t recognize. Internally, synthetic hormones do not act like bioidentical hormones. They bind to molecules differently and are sometimes not broken down properly. The result is a host of problems including an increased risk of blood clots, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and cognitive decline. Synthetic hormones can additionally prevent your body from being able to utilize your own hormones as you were designed to do. These side effects wouldn’t happen with a properly administered bioidentical hormone replacement program because the natural molecules interact with your body exactly the same as your endogenous or naturally produced hormones. They bind to cell receptors exactly the same way and are always broken down properly. The result is fewer side effects and greater benefits.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Cookeville?
BHRT is more than just prescribing hormones to alleviate symptoms. A properly designed BHRT program, like you will receive at Tennessee Heath And Wellness, begins with a thorough evaluation of you hormone status. This evaluation will typically include blood, saliva, or urine testing and an assessment of your symptoms by a highly skilled medical provider specifically trained in BHRT. The results of these tests will be used to design a personalized BHRT program based on what your body needs. The goal is to restore your overall hormone profile to the levels you enjoyed at your physiological peak, usually in your 20s or 30s. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all BHRT program. To be effective, your BHRT program must be tailored to your unique biology, stage of life, and hormone status.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Cookeville
The benefits of a properly administered BHRT program can be profound. You can expect an improved quality of life without the harsh side effects that synthetic hormones can have. Unlike the synthetic versions, bioidentical hormones are exact matches of the hormones your body naturally produces, so they are fully metabolized and connect easily with cell receptors. Benefits to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in include:
- Improved energy levels
- Better sleep
- Increased muscle mass
- Hair re-growth on the scalp
- Better exercise endurance
- Decreased pain in joints
- Fat loss
- Improved bone health
- Improved muscle tone
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Enhanced sex drive and performance
- And much more!
- Improved memory
Are There Side Effects to Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Because BHRT uses hormones that are exact copies of the ones your own body produces, the risk of side effects is much lower than with synthetic hormones. The key is to work with a provider in Cookeville that is highly trained in designing BHRT programs. At Tennessee Health And Wellness, our providers have specialized post graduate training in bioidentical hormone therapy and are here to help you achieve your health goals. When you’re ready for your comprehensive evaluation call to set up an initial consultation.