4 things to know about hormone replacement therapy

When one considers the fluctuation of hormone levels that can occur from PMS to menopause — it may be easy to understand why when searching “feeling hormonal” online the first three articles listed are geared toward women.

But as it turns out women don’t own exclusivity when it come to hormone imbalances.

Men and women can suffer from hormone imbalances.

Andropause is a term used by some doctors in reference to aging-related hormone changes in men.

“At our 20s, your hormones are typically at their peak,” said Mace Scott, M.D., who oversees hormone replacement therapy at CHRONOS Wellness in Metairie. “As you age, they decrease 3-10 percent each year after you turn 30. You start to feel it as you hit your 30s, 40s and 50s.”

“Most people think it (hormone replacement therapy) is for women after menopause. …  Usually 30s or beyond, you start seeing a decrease in hormones (in men and women).”

If there is a hormone imbalance, that’s where hormone replacement therapy becomes an option for men and women.

Symptoms

Dips in testosterone and estrogen can result in a hormone imbalance and lead to a variety of symptoms in men and women.

Some of the symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, depression, extreme fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, memory loss, aging skin, decreased muscle mass and loss of libido (sex drive).

It can begin to affect daily quality of life.

“People (experiencing the symptoms) know something is wrong,” Scott said.

Types of HRT

Estrogen and testosterone replacement can be treated with creams, gels and pellets, Scott said. The creams and gels can sometimes be messy and the absorption rate may be limited.

Pellet therapy delivers, “bioidentical hormones that utilizes small pellets about the size of a grain of rice that are painlessly inserted under the skin.”

Said Dr. Scott: “With bioidentical hormones, though not natural, they are derived from plants and their molecular structure is identical to human hormones.”

Consult your doctor

There are various studies weighing the positives and negatives of HRT, so Dr. Scott recommends people considering HRT consult their doctor.

“In patients who have symptoms of pre-menopause, post menopause or in men with symptoms of andropause it is important to talk to a knowledgeable physician to determine if the symptoms can be improved safely and to understand all options, benefits and risks,” Dr. Scott said.

Address the issue — get back up to speed

While Dr. Scott notes that optimizing hormone levels has many positive effects for men and women, including increasing muscle mass, decreasing abdominal adiposetissue, increasing bone density and libido, one of the biggest keys to seeing positive results from HRT is customization based on each individual’s needs.

“Each person should be treated as an individual and treated according to their symptoms and not their hormone level,” Dr. Scott said.

Once the symptoms are accurately assessed and addressed the chance for positive results increases.

“It (HRT) changes people’s lives. It gives them quality of life back that is lost.”

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