When most people talk about sex hormones, they discuss estrogen and progesterone for women and testosterone for men. We forget that throughout the fertile years of any woman, testosterone is being produced by the ovaries. In fact, women have a higher level of testosterone circulating than they do estrogen. There is a reason women have testosterone and it’s not for child bearing.
Sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are messengers to all of the cells of our body. Most of our cells and tissues have receptors to these hormones on them. Our muscle, liver, kidneys, pancreas, brain and about every other tissue and cell receive messages from these hormones. Hormones are messengers. Testosterone is a powerful messenger for a woman’s body to function properly.
Testosterone is important for growth, muscle mass growth and maintenance, sexual function, energy production levels, cardiovascular performance, fat production regulation, recovery time, brain performance, bone strength and general well-being. If testosterone levels fall or become low in women, then all of these functions can be altered and fatigue, low energy, muscle loss, fat gain, lower brain performance, and decreased bone health occur.
At menopause or when the ovaries fail and no more periods occur, testosterone levels, like estrogen and progesterone, drop dramatically. Many of the symptoms of menopause are in fact related to low testosterone levels. By replacing lost hormones, many of these debilitating symptoms and issues can be resolved.
When I talk with other doctors, it is rare to find one who would consider testosterone replacement in women. They will tell me there have been no major studies regarding the use of testosterone in women. They are incorrect. There have been well over 200 major studies, many done at leading U.S. universities, that are peer reviewed and have been published in major medical journals regarding the use and benefits of testosterone in women.
It’s possible that this is the case because there is no pharmaceutical company that sought approval or produced a brand of testosterone for use in women at this time. Natural testosterone products have been used to treat women with low testosterone for years. The testosterone is made by FDA certified labs that produce compounded hormones for individual patients.
I have been using biologically identical sex hormones in both men and women patients when appropriate for the past seven years. They are safe and very effective when medically indicated. Patients must be screened for past medical history and any underlying medical conditions, but for the most part, if these hormone levels are low and replacement is warranted, very positive effects can be obtained.
These hormones can be administered via topical creams, oral lozenges, injections and subcutaneous pellets. There are a few oral preparations also, but most products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are synthetic and not biologically identical to a patient’s own hormones.
If you’ve been to a doctor who told you that all the symptoms and issues experienced after menopause are normal and just the aging process, you need to get another opinion. After menopause, the aging process accelerates dramatically. Dry skin, dry and brittle hair, vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction, low energy, fatigue, loss of muscle mass and tone, increase in fat deposition, bone loss, memory changes, brain fog, sleep problems, and a feeling that your body is not behaving as it used to are all related symptoms to sex hormone loss.
A knowledgeable doctor can be your guide through the evaluation and treatment of this common problem. Discussing risk factors and benefits are important in the conversation to decide if and how to implement hormone replacement or optimization therapy.
Initial testing and follow up testing is needed. This can be done through simple blood tests or in some cases, saliva or urine tests. In my office we perform the blood tests. Continued preventive care is needed just as before hormone therapy with regular self exams and mammograms. These hormone replacement treatments are prescription medications and monitoring by your doctor is essential.
If you are struggling with any of the above listed symptoms, it is time to at least discuss this with your physician. Again, if your doctor doesn’t work with hormone replacement, it is not a negative about his or her competence. This is usually due to the fact that the practice of medicine covers many aspects of a patient’s body and health and getting this additional training is lengthy and costly.
There are many health providers that have become trained and experienced in hormone replacement treatment and can be a source for help and assistance.
We have assisted thousands of patients to improve both their health and life functions through the use of BHRT (BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy).
Consider your current age and body health and decide if it’s time to get help in reviewing your hormone status.