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Hormone Replacement Therapy
As we age gracefully it is natural to seek extra support for energy, low mood, low libido, memory changes and other common effects of declining sex hormones. Supporting the body with bio-identical hormone replacement can support many different aspects of health during aging. Expert providers Amber Belt, ND, and Paul Despres, NMD, and Alexandra Mele, ND, at Aspen Integrative Medical Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, have extensive experience treating women and men with hormone imbalances. To learn if you’re a good candidate for hormone replacement, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Why would I need hormone replacement therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when your hormone levels are too low due to menopause, perimenopause or andropause or simply to support changes that accompany graceful aging. Hormones activate your immune system and regulate every part of your body, including your:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Sex drive
- Thyroid function
- Hunger and fullness
- Bone strength
- Muscle growth
- Memory and recall
To keep your body systems functioning, you need to maintain specific blood levels of each hormone. Health conditions, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep, and stress can cause low hormones as well as natural rhythms of life such as menopause and perimenopause for women or andropause or low testosterone for men.
However, you can also be in good health and develop a hormone imbalance. The production of some hormones naturally declines as you get older. For example, levels of cortisol, insulin, thyroid hormones, and human growth hormones (HGH) drop over the years.
When do women need hormone replacement therapy?
Women may need HRT for health conditions like hypothyroidism, but many seek hormone replacement when estrogen production falls at perimenopause or menopause. Loss of estrogen causes:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Painful intercourse
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal dryness
- Memory problems
HRT restores estrogen levels, treating these symptoms and preventing diseases caused by low estrogen, such as osteoporosis.
When do men need hormone replacement therapy?
Men’s testosterone levels gradually decline as they get older. They may also have health conditions that affect testosterone production, such as pituitary gland problems, stress, metabolic dysfunction, and sleep issues.
Symptoms that you may need HRT include:
- Loss of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Loss of body and facialbeard hair
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
Low testosterone may also cause depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
What should I expect with hormone replacement therapy?
Your provider reviews your medical history, completes a physical exam, and runs blood tests to verify hormone levels. If you don’t have a health condition that prevents you from taking hormones, they prescribe bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) which can be filled at a compounding pharmacy..Common prescriptions include topical (patches, gels, creams), oral (pills, troches) and injectable preparations to support health.
Bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as your body’s natural hormones. As a result, they produce the same effect and cause fewer side effects and are more customizable than generic pharmaceuticals.