Regulating Hormone Levels As We Age

One of the components available in our treatment programs for weight loss is hormone therapy. Addressing hormone deficiencies can slow down the aging process by stopping cellular degeneration and maintaining a healthy balance across the body’s various systems. Our offices’ hormone replacement therapy programs are customizable for each patient’s unique genetic makeup, resulting in more effective weight maintenance and overall improved quality of life.

Hormones – what are they?

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers that communicate with our organs, tissues, and cells. They keep the whole body in balance and are crucial to the health and vitality of both men and women. Hormones support the following bodily functions:

  • Food metabolism
  • Body temperature
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Healthy hair and skin
  • Sleep cycles
  • Mood regulation
  • Cognitive functioning

If certain hormones are out of balance, then any of the above bodily processes may be negatively impacted.

What happens to hormones as we age?

As part of the natural aging process, our hormone levels begin to decline starting at the age of 25, leading to deficiencies in many men and women over age 35. Because hormones help to regulate and balance our body’s various systems, deficiencies in these chemicals can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can include any or all of the following:

  • Muscle and bone loss
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Wrinkles
  • Mood swings
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of motivation
  • Weight gain

Without intervention, these symptoms can have a major impact on someone’s life, particularly their ability to control their weight.

How do hormones cause weight gain?

Hormones have a vast reach within the body, and many of them help to regulate our body’s metabolism. Hormones like insulin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and thyroid hormones all play a direct role in how the body is able to process food and convert it into energy. Without the right amount of these hormones, it is difficult for a person’s body to gauge how much food to consume in order to maintain necessary energy levels. This can result in not eating enough to support bodily functions or, more commonly, over-eating in an effort to compensate.

What is hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy is the process of medically treating hormonal deficiencies caused when the body can no longer adequately produce hormones on its own. There are different types of medications and methods that are used depending on a patient’s situation and preferences: pills, patches, injections, or devices placed within the body.

Our approach to hormone therapy strives toward “hormone optimization” – not by simply increasing depleted hormone levels, but by measuring and adjusting all the body’s hormones to achieve the best balance possible for our patients. We do this using the lowest dose necessary and with fewer side effects, resulting in a therapy program that is safe for long-term use.

What are the types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

There are two main categories of hormone replacement therapy (HRT): synthetic and bioidentical.

Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (SHRT)

Synthetic hormones are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies from both man-made and animal sources. The most common hormones used for HRT in synthetic form are testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and insulin.

Because synthetic hormones are artificial, they do not match human hormones, making them less effective with a high side effect profile. For example, synthetic estrogen is often produced from the urine of a pregnant horse and contains more than 40 different forms of estrogen. The human body contains three. In addition to containing many more forms than is natural for humans, synthetic hormones are prepackaged and cannot be individualized for different patients.

Although synthetic hormones have been in use for several decades, research shows they come with a host of risk factors. These include drug dependency and increased risk of adverse medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, and depression.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy uses naturally-occurring hormones that are extracted from plants and matched to an individual’s endocrine system. Bioidentical hormones create the same response as hormones found naturally in the human body, which means an effective treatment with low side effect profile. Because these hormones match the same chemical structure as our own, they can be customized specifically for each patient.

Bioidentical hormones have been available for over 50 years and have been proven through numerous studies to be a safer option for HRT than synthetic hormones. Several of these studies have even concluded that BHRT may decrease risk for heart disease and breast cancer.

Differences between bioidentical and synthetic hormones

The main difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones is in their chemical structure. Synthetic hormones are typically man-made and may or may not include animal hormones. They do not match the hormones in the human body and can cause dangerous side effects. Because pharmaceutical companies typically patent their synthetic hormones, the same product is used across patients regardless of those patients’ particular needs and differences.

Bioidentical hormones, as their name suggests, are identical to human hormones and can be tailored to an individual patients’ needs. This results in a better “fit” for each patient and better results. Our physicians only prescribe bioidentical hormones in HRT treatment plans due to their health benefits and ability to be customized.

Is hormone replacement therapy only for women?

No – HRT is not only for women! Men can benefit equally from HRT with the help of our doctors.

Men in their 40s and 50s often experience a male version of menopause called “andropause.” Andropause is brought on by a gradual drop in hormone levels, particularly testosterone, and occurs in almost all men as they age. The symptoms of andropause include emotional and behavioral changes, loss of energy, decreased stamina, and sexual dysfunction. This decline in hormone levels can expose men to health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke.

Our HRT programs for men use bioidentical testosterone to combat the effects of andropause and other conditions that cause an unnaturally low level of testosterone in male patients. Make an appointment with one of our physicians to discuss whether you could benefit from HRT.

How do I sign up for hormone replacement therapy?

When you attend your first appointment for a weight loss consultation, you can ask one of our doctors if hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is right for you. Our doctor will review your individual needs and determine if a prescription for HRT is appropriate for you and your weight loss goals. Alternatively, if you are going through menopause or have another hormone-related condition that would benefit from hormone replacement therapy, you can make an appointment for HRT only.

For more information, please contact us with any questions.


Photo by Anukrati Omar on Unsplash