Men and women can both experience very dramatic hormonal transitions. For women, estrogen rises at puberty and during pregnancy, then falls at menopause. Similarly, men experience dramatic results when testosterone levels are low or andropause.
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In response to these universal and natural changes, hormone replacement has grown to be the biggest attraction in our office. Why? Because it’s very effective and very affordable! Even some of our own staff members enjoy the benefits of this life-changing care.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produces primarily in the testicles.
It helps maintain:
- Bone Density
- Fat distribution
- Muscle strength and mass
- Facial and body hair
- Red blood cell production
- Sex drive
- Sperm production
What are the benefits of high Testosterone levels?
- More Confidence
- Look & Feel Younger
- Higher Energy Levels
- Sharper Memory
- Positive Outlook
- Healthier Heart
- Easier to Burn Fat
- Improved Sex Drive
- Faster Muscle Gain
- Optimal Circulation
What happens when testosterone levels decrease?
Some of the signs and symptoms that occur as a result of lower testosterone levels can include:
- Changes in sexual functions: This may include reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections, and infertility.
- Changes in sleep patterns: Sometimes low testosterone causes insomnia or other sleep disturbances
- Physical changes: Various physical changes are possible, including belly fat, loss of muscle tone and strength, and decreasing bone density, sagging or tender breasts (a.k.a. Man-Boobs) and body hair loss are possible. Unexplained fatigue, lower energy and slower tissue and wound healing times from injury or surgery. It also makes it hard to gain muscles.
- Emotional changes: Low testosterone may contribute to a decrease in motivation or self-confidence. You may feel sad or depressed, or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
- Increased Risk of Alzheimer's disease, Joint Pain, and or Heart Disease
Do testosterone levels change with age?
Generally speaking, testosterone levels peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone levels gradually decline, typically between 1-2% per year from as early as age 30.
My family doctor did a blood test and told me my testosterone level is within normal range. Is it still possible that I could benefit from Testosterone Replacement Therapy? This is actually quite common. While some people may fall within the “normal range” on the lab chart, their level of testosterone is less than what is optimal. In cases such as these, Testosterone Replacement Therapy proves to be very beneficial.
How is Testosterone Replacement Therapy administered?
There are four basic methods to administer Testosterone replacement: Injections, pellets, patches, and gels. In our office, we have found injections to be the most effective with fewer risks and side effects, plus an overall lower cost of delivery. The injection is quick and for most people, painless. Most patients describe it as feeling like a mild pinprick.
What are the risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
As with any medical procedure, there is always a degree of risk. Though very uncommon, some of these include:
- Sleep Apnea
- Acne or other skin reactions
- Stimulation of non-cancerous growth of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and growth of existing prostate cancer
- Enlarge breasts
- Limit sperm production or cause testicle shrinkage
- Higher red blood cell count which can increase the risk of clotting
How long does it take to see positive results with Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
We have had patients who felt a noticeable improvement shortly after receiving their first treatment. For most men, however, a period of 3 to 4 weeks is required. From there, it just keeps getting better and better until you reach your optimum testosterone level.
What are the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
For women, hormone replacement therapy is not just limited to curing menopausal symptoms.
There are also other benefits, including:
- Improves Your Memory- When estrogen levels drop, your memories can become fuzzy, making learning and daily recollection more difficult. Studies show that menopausal women using hormone replacements can remember word lists and perform other standard cognitive tests significantly better than those who don’t.
- Prevents the Risk of Osteoporosis and Colon Cancer - Hormone replacement therapy can help women stay in shape by preventing the hormonal imbalance that can lead to weight gain and slowed metabolism. Studies show that hormonal therapies produce significant reductions in the risks of osteoporosis and colon cancer. (The bone density gains after menopause which is the main reason women were kept on hormone replacement therapy long after they would have left any acute menopausal symptoms.)
- Prevents Alzheimer and Dementia - Studies have revealed that estrogen plays a significant role in the brain regions involved in learning and memory. Not only does hormonal therapy make daily recall easier - as mentioned earlier - but it can assist in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia as well.
- Prevents Vaginal Ulcers & Urinary Infections - A lack of estrogen often results in the thinning of the vaginal lining, known as atrophic vaginitis. Hormone therapy can assist in keeping this lining healthy, which prevents conditions such as ulcers and infections.
- Boosts Health Overall - In addition to the other listed benefits, there is evidence that hormonal therapies can reduce a patient’s risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
While hormonal therapy is commonly associated with women, it offers benefits to men as well. It can help you maintain a healthy sex drive, maintain muscle strength, prevent hair loss, and improve iron levels in the blood.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are typically derived from plant extracts and chemically modified to be similar in structure to human hormones. Sources for these hormones often include soy or yams. Most importantly, they are a safer alternative to conventional hormones, making it easier to replace the body's decreasing estrogen and progesterone.
When Should I Start Hormone Replacement Therapy?
For women: You should consult us when menopause begins. If you are between the ages of 45 to 51 years and are going through a state of postmenopausal symptoms (like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, etc.), you possibly have a reason to undergo hormonal therapy. According to the North American Menopausal Society, if you are over 65 and suffer from moderate to severe symptoms, you can take hormone replacement therapy as long as its benefits outweigh its risks.3 Always discuss your medical and family history with your doctor to evaluate this risk.
For men: In men, testosterone is converted into estrogen in the brain to have a better brain function. However, beginning at age 30, testosterone levels drop, on average, about 1 percent a year. About 5 percent of men between the ages of 50 and 59 have low levels of testosterone along with symptoms like loss of libido and sluggishness.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe?
For women hormone replacement therapy is safe if you are at age 50 and also safe if you are at age 60 only if you’ve started it when you are at age 50. It is unsafe to start hormone replacement when you already reached age 60. The benefits of hormone replacement therapy typically outweigh the risk. According to the Women's Health Initiative, the potential harm of hormone replacement therapy was overstated for healthy women younger than 60.5. To be on the safer side, we always prescribe the lowest dose of hormone replacement therapy in the beginning and may raise the demand depending on the situation. In addition, we limit it to a shorter period to avoid any illnesses and backfires.
Is Bio Hormone Replacement Therapy Effective?
Bioidentical hormone therapy has fewer or no risks and adverse effects in studies to date, and was equally or more effective than conventional hormone therapy.
What are the Risks of Traditional Replacement Therapy?
Traditional replacement therapy for menopause increases a patient’s risk of developing heart-related diseases, strokes, blood clots, or blockages in the veins. Because of this, we do not prescribe treatment in men who have had a stroke or heart attack within the last six months or who are at high risk for prostate cancer. However, if this therapy is undertaken before the age of 60 or in 10 years of menopause, the benefits would be more than the risks involved. Individual risk is also based on whether only estrogen is given or the dose is combined with progestin.
I want to start feeling good again. How do I get started?
If you are looking for hormone therapy in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading or any nearby area, call us today at (717) 652-5550 to schedule an appointment. Your first visit will include a medical examination and blood tests. After that, you will return for a full report of our findings and we’ll let you know if you are a candidate for this type of treatment.