Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is It Right for You?
When it comes to treating hormonal imbalance, there is no uniform approach. Yet, many in the medical field continuously prescribe “band-aid” treatments that may work for some but don’t offer all patients optimal results, nor do they address their full scope of health concerns and symptoms.
Hormonal imbalance can come from various sources, but no matter the cause when left untreated, the consequences can be severe. One approach many practitioners use to help patients find balance is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
While BHRT has been around for years and had great results, we have seen a resurgence in its use. Read on for all things BHRT, hormone pellet therapy, and how you can improve your health!
What Are Hormones and Why Do They Matter?
Before diving into hormone replacement therapy, let’s cover the basics of hormones. For something that plays such a significant role in our bodies, many don’t know much about hormones!
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our blood and enter cells, tissues, and organs, telling them what to do and when to do it.
From here, they can regulate everything from our emotions to reproduction to our general wellbeing. Essentially, hormones control and coordinate various activities throughout our bodies.
- Hormones carry messages between cells and organs.
- Hormone levels will naturally decline with age. However, when left untreated, you could have health issues.
- Hormonal imbalance can impact both men and women of any age.
Furthermore, because hormonal imbalance can happen at any time and can cause serious health problems, regular check-ups and monitoring are essential to keep your body in balance.
What Are the Signs of a Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance is the result of too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. As we know, hormones play an important role in our bodies. And, even the smallest change can cause a ripple of side effects throughout the body.
Hormones regulate major processes and bodily functions, like:
- Metabolism and appetite
- Heart rate
- Sleep cycles
- Reproductive cycles and sexual function
- General growth and development
- Mood and stress levels
Both women and men can experience hormonal imbalance, and while symptoms are often unique for each person and can vary greatly. There’s a list of common symptoms experts agree are solid indicators of potential hormonal imbalance.
Both Women and Men
We’ll break down the symptoms between men and women later, but keep in mind that many symptoms can affect anyone.
The more common causes of hormonal balance tend to produce the following symptoms in both men and women:
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Poor sleep
- Brittle or weak bones
- Irritability and anxiety
- Long-term fatigue without reason
- Lowered sex drive
- Very dry skin or skin rashes
- Unexplained or excessive sweating
- Changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
The list of symptoms goes on and on, which is why it’s important you speak with your trusted medical provider to see if your symptoms are indicative of hormonal imbalance.
A few more specific symptoms often experienced by women include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
- Deepening of the voice
- Irregular/heavy/painful periods
- Thinning or brittle hair
Some common red flags for men dealing with hormonal issues include:
- The inability to achieve and maintain an erection
- Changes in blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Gynecomastia (the development of breasts)
- Longer recovery times from injuries
While these symptoms are important to look for, many patients report noticing hormonal imbalance after feeling “off” for some time.
If you just don’t feel right, pay attention to your body. Keep notes of your symptoms as well as any important lifestyle changes at the time and be sure to bring this information to your consultation.
Where Do Hormonal Imbalances Come From?
Often, hormonal imbalances are just a part of life and occur naturally as we age. However, some other common culprits of hormonal imbalance can be:
- Extreme stress
- Thyroid issues
- Poor nutrition
- Abuse of certain medications
- Environmental factors
Your healthcare provider can walk you through potential causes for your symptoms on your journey to finding an effective treatment.
Because symptoms can impact everyone differently and often mimic other health conditions, you should meet with your medical provider to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
BHRT is a type of hormone therapy that uses hormones that are structurally identical to the substances as they naturally occur in your body. It has been a favorite for both men and women going through the aging process and dealing with hormonal imbalance.
Other hormone therapy options include pills, patches, and creams, but don’t offer an individualized approach for your unique needs and health concerns. BHRT is the natural alternative to synthetic hormone treatments that often don’t provide relief.
We use BHRT through hormone pellet therapy. Hormone pellets have been around for decades but were pushed aside when pills and patches flooded the market.
However, many practitioners are turning back to hormone pellet therapy to offer their patients a more individualized approach to restoring balance and optimizing hormones.
Which Method is Best for Me?
With various options and tons of information out there, it can be a lot of pressure deciding which method is the best for you. Take some time to read through these FAQs to get a better idea of what hormone pellet therapy is all about and how it can help you.
What are hormone pellets?
Designed for both men and women, hormone pellets are roughly the size of a grain of rice and composed of an estrogen hormone or testosterone.
They come from organic plant materials that mimic the molecular structure of those hormones found in the body. And, these tiny pellets are inserted under the skin, usually in the buttocks, in a simple and painless in-office procedure.
How do BHRT pellets work?
The pellets release small amounts of hormones directly into the bloodstream similar to the way your body would in previous years.
Also, the pellets will release the hormones in response to physical activity or emotional stress, both the good and bad kind. They also allow for a steady stream of hormones, which can help curb symptoms and side effects of your hormone levels.
What are the pros of hormone pellets?
BHRT with pellets is preferred by many patients thanks to its incredible convenience. Rather than remembering to take daily pills or apply cream throughout the day, most patients need only to visit their practitioner 2-3 times per year for pellet implants. With hormone pellets, you can truly restore order to your life!
Are there any cons of hormone pellets?
For some patients, the idea of a procedure can be scary. Though the insertion method is painless and straightforward for most, there is always a possibility for discomfort.
Also, there is a little downtime required post-insertion; you should not practice any strenuous physical activity or have prolonged water exposure for the first few days after implantation.
Finally, BHRT with pellets can be slightly more expensive than other forms of hormone therapy, but it is also recognized as more reliable and valuable.
Is the cost of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy worth it?
Certainly, it’s no surprise BHRT with pellets can drastically improve your health and your life, but it’s also a highly personalized treatment that includes various steps.
For example, to enjoy optimal results from BHRT with pellets, you’ll need:
- First, a consultation
- An insertion procedure
- Finally, follow-up monitoring
Prices vary depending on location and practitioner, but it should go without saying BHRT with pellets is a sound investment in your wellbeing.
Is hormone pellet insertion painful?
Most patients experience no pain with their hormone pellet insertion. However, to help alleviate any discomfort, a local anesthetic is applied to the insertion site before the procedure.
Tenderness, redness, and a little bruising is standard up to 3-4 days after insertion, but the entire process is viewed as quick and painless.
How long does it take for hormone pellets to work?
Although every patient experience is unique, most report symptom relief within 2-4 weeks, but full hormone optimization could take closer to 6 months.
Which is why regular follow-up and contact with your BHRT pellet provider is important following the procedure; this allows your provider the opportunity to monitor and customize hormone optimization based on your symptoms and bloodwork.
Can hormone pellets help me lose weight?
As we mentioned above, unexplained weight gain is a common indicator of hormonal imbalance. So, when you use BHRT with pellets, you can get help managing your weight.
Also, hormone pellets can restore hormonal balance, giving you more energy and regulating your metabolism, both of which can help you address weight gain.
What happens to the pellets after insertion?
Because BHRT pellets are natural, they will completely dissolve and be absorbed by your body over time, leaving nothing behind.
Why hormone pellets over conventional hormone therapies?
BHRT with pellets delivers consistent levels of hormones into the bloodstream allowing patients to avoid fluctuations that commonly occur when using creams, pills, and patches.
Additionally, the process is less of a hassle and can last longer with fewer doctor visits and the benefit of not having to remember daily medications.
Apart from navigating daily life with a hefty list of symptoms making things more complicated, keeping your hormones balanced is crucial for your health.
Hormonal imbalance has been linked to various diseases such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and even certain cancers.
Imbalanced hormones don’t always produce symptoms. So, even if you don’t notice any of the warning signs, it’s crucial to have your hormones checked. Your specific set of symptoms along with other factors (age, stress levels, weight, etc.) will be an important influence on when to have your hormones tested.
Likewise, timing will also be a considerable factor on when you’re able to have hormones tested; for example, women under the age of 40 will need to plan hormone testing around their menstrual cycle. For best results and optimal efficiency, it’s always best to plan with your doctor and discuss an appropriate time for hormone testing.
There are some lifestyle changes you can make to naturally encourage hormone balance. So, even if you undergo BHRT with pellet therapy, adding the following methods to your routine can help improve your health.
Skimp on your zzz’s too often, and you may interrupt your circadian rhythm, and its ability to release certain hormones. Prioritize an established sleep schedule and plenty of rest to stay healthy!
Routine exercise can benefit your physical and mental states. Switch up your workouts by implementing strength training, aerobics, and endurance training. Not in the best shape? Start out slow with daily walks around your office building or neighborhood.
Address Your Stress
We’ve already mentioned how stress can negatively affect your hormones. Take some time to pinpoint areas of stress in your life and work to reduce them. Try taking 10 minutes of quiet for yourself periodically throughout the day as a simple stress management tool.
Get Help Today!
Our hormones are just as unique as we are. So, finding the best treatment path to help you achieve balance requires time and collaboration.
Schedule your consultation today to speak with one of our hormone experts and take the first step toward restoring balance!