What is Women’s Hormone Therapy and How Does It Work?
Women’s hormone therapy is the implementation of evidence-based programs and services for women experiencing hormone issues. These hormone therapy programs and services are designed to meet the needs of patients with reproductive life cycle issues by providing therapy, education, and support to restore hormones, metabolic balance, and overall wellness.
What Is the Reproductive Life Cycle?
The reproductive life cycle of women is divided into three stages:
1) The first stage, the child-bearing years, begins at puberty with menstruation and extends until forty years of age. During this time, there are dramatic changes in a woman’s body chemistry set within the backdrop of evolving social roles and relationships.
2) This transitional stage is referred to as perimenopause. It begins with irregular menses up to one year prior to their final menstrual period and ends with the onset of menopause. At this point in a woman’s life, her ovaries stop producing hormones: estrogen and progesterone decline rapidly and testosterone levels drop significantly (note: for some women, estrogen and testosterone levels surge as a result of fat accumulation).
3) After menopause, the final stage is referred to as postmenopause. At this point, a woman’s hormones have dropped considerably. The changes and challenges faced by women during this stage vary greatly and continue to evolve as estrogen and testosterone levels decline. The extent of these changes depends on a woman’s bio-individuality, age at menopause, lifestyle, dietary habits, prior hormone therapies (birth control pills/patches/shots), stress levels, fitness program adherence, etc.
All three stages can affect sexual function and overall wellness; however, it is important to note that not all women experience changes at the same rate or intensity for each hormone.
Why Hormone Therapy?
Women’s hormones affect every cell in their body:
- Brain Function
- Neurotransmitter Balance
- Bone Health
- Cardiovascular Health
- Blood Sugar Regulation
- Moods Balance
- Skin Tone and Texture
- Sex Drive and Response to Sexual Stimuli
When the reproductive life cycle is interrupted or lacks continuity for extended periods of time due to aging or other factors, it affects a woman’s overall wellness.
Hormone therapy is used to re-balance the hormones in a woman’s body and restore and maintain wellness and quality of life.
How is Women’s Hormone Therapy Administered?
Women’s hormone therapy is available in many formats: orally, transdermally (via patch), sublingually (under the tongue), intramuscularly (injection as used with birth control shots), as vaginal creams or suppositories, or as pellets implanted into fat tissue. There are also bio-identical hormones that can be delivered via injection or intravenously.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
As defined by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the term bioidentical hormones “refers to compounds that have the same chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced in the body.” The term bioidentical refers to how these hormones are made.
Hormones that are not bio-identical are referred to as synthetic hormones. These types of hormone therapies use man-made chemicals that act like natural hormones within the body; however, they do not perfectly mimic what the body would produce on its own. As a result, synthetic hormone therapy may trigger negative side effects and/or discomfort for patients.
What Are The Common Forms of Bioidentical Hormones?
The major female reproductive hormones are estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone.
For women’s hormone therapy, bioidentical estrogens include estradiol. Estradiol is a natural estrogen produced by a woman’s ovaries. It is made from testosterone and has both short-term and long-term benefits when used for hormone therapy. Estradiol is the most abundant sexual hormone in women and serves many functions.
Another bioidentical hormone is progesterone. Progesterone is a natural hormone that regulates the female reproductive system. It is produced by a woman’s ovaries and placenta, depending on whether she is pregnant or not. When estrogen levels are low, progesterone levels naturally rise to balance out the hormonal effects of estrogen deficiency.
The last bioidentical hormone is testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone made in a woman’s ovaries and deposited into her blood, where it is then transported to the liver. Testosterone is much like estrogen in that it maintains healthy sexual function and libido in women. Low testosterone levels can lead to low levels of sexual desire and arousal, vaginal dryness, and deleterious changes in mood and cognition.
How Do Bioidentical Hormones Differ From Synthetic or Non-Bioidentical Hormones?
When used for hormone therapy, bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic hormones. They are safer because they more closely match up with a woman’s natural hormones, and they have fewer negative interactions with the body.
There are many potential side effects from synthetic hormone therapy because chemical compounds in these types of drugs do not perfectly mimic natural hormones found within the female body. This difference may trigger negative health issues for patients using synthetic hormone therapy, such as the increased risk of blood clots, heart disease, breast cancer, and stroke.
American Medical Wellness Hormone Therapy in Las Vegas
At our practice, we are passionate about helping women stay their healthiest. We’re also passionate about providing you with the highest-quality care to help alleviate menopause symptoms. Our thoughtfully designed approach lets you take control of your health and wellness, feel at ease, and regain energy to live life to the fullest. Schedule your consultation today to learn how bioidentical hormone treatment can help you start feeling young again.