With all of the conflicting information about hormone therapy, you may feel confused and intimidated. Are hormones safe? Are some types of hormones safer than others? How do I know if hormone replacement therapy is right for me? If you are having bothersome symptoms, and you wonder if it could be your hormones, come in for a consultation. At Serenity Women’s Care, we can help you find answers and make decisions that are right for you.
What Is HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy for menopause is an attempt to restore the hormonal balance that may be upset by the onset of perimenopause or menopause. The symptoms of diminished hormones can occur at any age (sometimes up to 10 years before actual menopause), but we typically associate these with women over the age of 35. Common bothersome symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irritability and mood swings
- Weight gain
Many women also complain of a “mental fogginess,” during these years, with a sense of “dullness” in thinking, and less ability to focus on multiple responsibilities at once.
Sexual symptoms may include a profound decrease in sexual interest, vaginal dryness, and pain during intercourse. All of these complaints can significantly diminish a woman’s quality of life. The good news is that, for most women, hormone therapy can really help!
How Do I Start?
At Serenity Women’s Care, hormone therapy begins with a very detailed consultation, where we get to know you and explore your symptoms, medical and family history, work and family life, stress levels, and individual health risks. During the consultation, we also do blood work and possibly a physical exam, mammogram and/or pelvic ultrasound for a more complete medical picture.
When all of the results are available, we sit down with you and review everything in detail. We will also discuss your views and understanding of hormone therapy and your treatment goals. With your help, we develop a treatment plan that will be appropriate and suitable for you.
What Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Include?
A number of hormones may be part of a woman’s treatment plan. Among these are:
- Thyroid hormone
Some women need particular supplements, such as DHEA or Vitamin D3. As part of your hormonal treatment at Serenity Women’s Care, we will educate you about any possible side effects and monitor you for any complications. If concerns arise, we address them promptly. Your safety is our number one priority.
How Does It Work?
Hormone therapy is never “one size fits all.” At Serenity, depending on your situation, we may prescribe some of the following:
Hormone Pellet Therapy
This therapy is a method of delivering estrogen and/or testosterone by inserting small pellets, about the size of a “Tic Tac”, under the skin. We numb the skin well, and then make a tiny incision. We insert the pellets deeply into the fatty tissue. They work through time-release delivery, meaning that your body absorbs the hormones over time. Typically, women receive a hormone dose every 3-4 months, while men receive a dose every 5-6 months. The pellet delivery system keeps blood levels generally steady, and keeps people feeling great until it’s time to dose again.
Creams, Patches, and Gels
It is also possible to deliver hormones using creams, patches, or gels. With this method, the body absorbs the hormones into the bloodstream through the skin. The advantages of this method include the ability to adjust dosing easily, and infinite dose adjustability, in the case of the compounded products. The disadvantages are the inconvenience of needing to dose often, and the less reliable absorption of the hormones with variations in, for example, weather or vigorous exercise.
Lozenges and Troches
When dosing hormones through lozenges or troches (pronounced “Tro’ Keys”), they are placed under the tongue. The hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream across the oral mucosa. The lozenges are not swallowed. To achieve consistent blood levels, lozenges and troches should actually be dosed twice daily.
Oral Pills and Capsules
Historically, oral dosing of hormones was the mainstay of therapy. More recently, however, many clinicians have advised other methods over oral dosing, particularly in the case of estrogen. When hormones are swallowed, they make two “trips” through the liver. This means that a very large percentage of the hormone is lost to metabolism in the liver. A general rule with hormones, especially with estrogen, is to use the lowest possible dosage. Methods other than oral pills allow us to use much lower dosing. An exception to this is progesterone. Oral micronized progesterone is still the proven best way of dosing progesterone.
Bioidentical vs. Conventional Hormones
The term “bioidentical” hormones is a common description of hormones which are made under sterile techniques. A compounding pharmacy uses natural ingredients to formulate specific types of common hormones.
Bioidentical hormones have been popular for many years now, as they have been espoused by celebrities as being a sort of “fountain of youth” for women and men. Some authors, and even some health care providers claim that “bioidentical” hormones are safer than other hormones. They insinuate that if a woman takes a “bioidentical” estrogen, then they are, for example, not at increased risk for breast cancer. This is not true.
At Serenity Women’s Care, we use both compounded hormones and conventional hormones — whichever is preferred by an individual patient.
What Are the Results and Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you are experiencing a hormone imbalance, getting you on the right course of hormone replacement therapy can reduce or eliminate symptoms mentioned above, such as mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, and irritability. The effectiveness, as well as any side effects, will vary by person, which is why we will monitor your treatment carefully and make adjustments whenever necessary to provide optimal results.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women in Scottsdale, AZ
Starting hormone replacement therapy can be intimidating for many, which is why you want to explore this option with medical professionals you can trust. In Scottsdale, Arizona and surrounding areas,, that means Serenity Women’s Care and Aesthetics, where you will find empathic, nurturing, knowledgeable providers in a stress-free environment. Submit your contact information below or call (480) 877-0764 for your complete HRT therapy consultation today.