As we age, our body naturally decreases its production of hormones, primarily testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Men and women commonly begin to experience hormone deficiency as young as age 30, complaining of symptoms like depression, low libido, weight gain, and fatigue. Often, patients attribute these symptoms to “getting older” and are unaware that there are treatment options available to mitigate these symptoms.
The simplest and most effective treatment option for hormone deficiency is through the use of hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an area of medicine that is often misunderstood. One of the most common concerns we hear from patients and other doctors alike is that HRT increases increases patient’s risk for cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. In reality, it is only HRT that uses synthetic hormones which increases the risk for these diseases. Here at SageMED, we utilize bioidentical hormones, which studies have shown can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help protect patients brain and bones.
Before we explore the differences between bioidentical hormone therapy and hormone therapy using synthetic hormones, I want to give you an overview of the most common symptoms of hormone deficiencies in men and women, as seen below:
Difficulty building or maintaining muscle mass
I would argue that a majority of men and women suffer from some level of hormone deficiency as they age, and there’s no reason to suffer needlessly. Let’s explore your HRT options, and if you suffer from these symptoms, talk to your doctor and find out if hormone therapy is the solution for you.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Vs. Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy
The confusion surrounding HRT and the associated increased risks of cancer, dementia etc. are based on studies which looked at the impact of synthetic estrogen delivered orally. This synthetic estrogen is equine based, meaning it is derived from horses. The issue with this type of HRT is two fold: firstly, equine derived estrogen does not exactly mimic the structure of the hormones naturally produced in the body, and secondly, taking estrogen orally always presents an increased risk of blood clots. Bioidentical estrogen, if taken orally, increases the risk of blood clots by 20%, but synthetic oral estrogen increases the risk by 400% (Meikle, 2008). Comparatively, topical bioidentical estrogen decreases the risk of blood clots by 10% (Meikle, 2008). HRT covers a huge spectrum, and the outcomes of these studies need to be weighed with an understanding of the type of hormone used (natural v synthetic), in combination with the method of delivery. HRT can either greatly increase or decrease risk depending on how expertly it’s done.
Another example of the benefits of bioidentical hormones can be seen by looking at how the risk of breast cancer is altered based on whether a prescriber prescribes synthetic or natural progesterone. Synthetic progest shown to increase breast cancer risk, whereas natural progesterone has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer (Asi, et al., 2016).
Bioidentical HRT utilizes compounds that have an identical molecular structure to those your body naturally produces, and they act in the same way as hormones naturally produced by your body. As a result, the risks associated with bioidentical hormone therapy are significantly decreased, and studies have demonstrated that bioidentical HRT can in fact improve protection of patients brain, bones, cardiovascular health, and breasts.
SageMED is home to three physicians who are experts in bioidentical hormone replacement. Dr. Sage Wheeler, Dr. Eva Miller, and Dr. David Deichert have in fact just completed advanced training in BioTE testosterone and estradiol pellet therapy. In order to optimize hormones, we have seen the best results in patients who utilize a combination of subdermal pellet therapy (BioTE) and custom compounded creams which are tailored to the patients individual needs.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean feeling older. Here at SageMED, our dedicated providers can help you optimize your hormones, so you can continue to do the things that you love, feeling better than ever. Schedule your appointment today!
You can find cardiovascular study referenced above here. To learn more about BioTE, click here. If you would like to see more studies, please let us know and we are happy to provide them to you!
Asi, N., Mohammed, K., Haydour, Q., Gionfriddo, M. R., Vargas, O. L., Prokop, L. J., . . . Murad, M. H. (2016). Progesterone vs. synthetic progestins and the risk of breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews,5(1). doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0294-5
Meikle, A. (2008). Hormone Therapy and Venous Thromboembolism Among Postmenopausal Women: Impact of the Route of Estrogen Administration and Progestogens: The ESTHER Study. Yearbook of Endocrinology,2008, 279-280. doi:10.1016/s0084-3741(08)79192-3