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Hormone Therapy For Women

Hormone Therapy isn't just about menopause anymore

Most women are familiar with the idea of hormone therapy of some sort.  Often - this hormone education started with the pill as a contraceptive measure.

More recently, estrogen therapy (HRT - hormone replacement therapy) has become quite common in going through menopause.  But these often require trial and error methods to find out which ones worked best and in what dosage.  

Neither are synthetic hormones designed with a balanced approach and on an individual basis.  They are designed to reduce menopausal symptoms, not bring the body back into balance, and they are produced in mass volume at predefined dosage rates.

Using hormone therapy in this one-size-fits-all way can cause a whole host of symptoms including:

  • Loss of sexual desire

  • Being moody/grumpy/overly emotional

  • Hot flashes and night-sweats

  • Mental fogginess (lack of mental clarity)

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Emotional ups and downs

Newer treatments involve bioidentical balanced hormone treatments that carry more than just estrogen in a one-size fits all tablet.  They actually mirror the normal body balances of hormones from when you were in your 20's and they are adjustable.  In certain situations, they may even give you a better balance than what you had when you were young.  

Both men and women carry certain amounts of both estrogen and testosterone.  While the estrogen is responsible for body functions having to do with child-bearing, testosterone can be responsible for drive, ambition, aggression, and sexual desire.  

Women who have a testosterone deficiency also often have a very low sex drive but this can be resolved with biologically identical hormones.    

Effects of biologically identical hormone therapy

The effects of hormonal therapy may be realized sooner or later, but eventually all will show up.  One of the first things women will notice is a strong increase in sexual desire starting after the first week or so and hitting peak at 3-4 weeks.  Some women report a much stronger desire than at any time in their lifetime.  Other effects take much longer to realize but as the body starts to become accustomed to the new old hormone levels again, it can start to back up age-wise as well.

Does this mean that a 50 year old woman will end up with a 30 year old body?  Not so fast.  While some aspects of her physical health, attitude, and libido might rival that or even be better than at age 30, you cannot stop or reverse the clock.  

Nevertheless, when combined with proper diet and exercise, many 50 year old women can be just as healthy and sexually active as their 30 year old daughters.  

Other thoughts

It is strongly recommended that both husband and wife go into this program together as hormone therapy for men is also available.  It isn't required, but women who go it alone can find themselves quite frustrated.  Must we elaborate?

How strong are the sexual effects?  To put it mildly, plan more leisure time in your life, and you might want to dust off that Victoria Secret credit card again... and double the credit limit.  

Other effects that you might see right away would include reduced mood swings, possibly also adding to but certainly complementing the effects above.

Many women also report a reduction or elimination of depression and anxiety, an increased ability to lose weight, better sleep, and reduced trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  

Are hormones safe?  

There have of course been many studies and problems found with HRT (hormone replacement therapy) in women, and particularly related to breast disease and cancer.  

These have almost exclusively been with synthetic hormones and European studies have concluded that bioidenticals are safer, but no hormone therapy should ever be thought of as without risks.

Bottom line - talk to your doctor and weigh all the risk factors, do additional studies on the subject, and start and continue with regular exams to determine your suitability to be on such a program.  

The downsides are simple:

As with any treatment regimen, you must start with a set of blood tests.  In this case, a hormone panel should be run to determine what your current levels are.  Unlike synthetic hormones that are made with a one or two size fits all, bioidentical hormones can be individually developed for a balanced approach.  

There's no way that you, your neighbor, your kid's teacher, your mom and your sister all have the exact same hormonal balance.  Yet there's a good possibility that you would all be on the exact same dosage if you are using synthetic hormones - not so with bioidentical hormones.  

If you or your family has a history of cancer in the family, be sure to disclose this to the doctor.  The risks aren't quite for the same reason as they are with synthetic hormones, but adding even a small amount of testosterone to your body could potentially affect the growth rate of a cancerous tumor.  

Talk with your doctor about additional tests that should be run.  Hormone therapy isn't for everyone.  

The cost isn't big, but you aren't buying asprin either.  If you smoke, give up smoking and you will save just about as much as the testosterone replacement program will cost you.

You might find that you spend far more time thinking of sex than what you are used to.  You might also find that your libido exceeds your time available.  A helpful suggestion - plan a long weekend honeymoon about 3-4 weeks into the program. 

Have fun!

 

 

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