Ribera Healthcare Clinic
Private Medical Practices & Board Certified Nurse Practitioners located in Albuquerque, NM
Hormone Replacement Therapy Q & A
What is BHRT For Women?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is the use of “bioidentical hormones” to supplement your body’s natural supply when you aren’t producing enough on your own for optimal health. Hormones are messenger chemicals that tell other parts of the body how and when to work. They control almost all tasks in the body. Low or imbalanced hormone levels can have widespread effects on your health and feeling of well-being. In women, BHRT is most commonly used to treat the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. However, hormone imbalances can occur at any age, even in women as young as in their 20s.
Bioidentical hormones are different from those used in traditional hormone replacement therapy. Traditional HRT uses hormones made from the urine of pregnant horses and other synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormones, which are man-made from plant estrogens, have the same molecular structure and act the same as natural human hormones. The most common hormones used in BHRT for women are estrogens (estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3)) and progesterone. testosterone, pregnenolone, and/or DHEA may also be part of a treatment plan for some patients.
Bioidentical hormones can be custom compounded for an individual patient, according to a doctor’s orders.
Hormone pellets are a unique delivery form created to replicate as closely as possible the way in which hormones are naturally released in the body. In a simple, quick office procedure, these rice-grain-sized pellets are inserted under a patient’s skin near the hip area via a trocar.
Delivering hormone replacement therapy in pellet form has multiple benefits:
Closest to nature — Pellets mimic the body’s natural delivery system more closely than any other method.
Consistency — Pellets supply a consistent level of hormones in the bloodstream.
Convenience — Hormone pellets only need to be inserted 2-4 times per year, replacing oral medications that must be taken daily.
Fewer side effects — Pellet therapy bypasses the liver, sending hormones directly into the bloodstream, and avoiding certain side effects of oral medications.
Some patients report feeling symptom relief in as little as four weeks, although complete symptom relief may take up to six months.
What are some of the symptoms? What are my treatment options?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can be utilized in both Men and Women.
Low or inbalanced hormone levels may produce the following symptoms;
- Low Testosterone levels
Testosterone is a sex hormone often associated with males, though females have small amounts.
It has many important functions, including:
- the development of the bones and muscles
- the deepening of the voice, hair growth, and other factors related to appearance
- the production of sperm
Testosterone production can slow as a person ages, and many older people experience symptoms of low testosterone.
The American Urology Association defines low testosterone as less than 300 nanograms (ng) of the hormone per deciliter (dl) of blood. The foundation also reports that about 2 in every 100 men have low testosterone.
- Low Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is a hormone that is important for health. Females have higher quantities of estrogen, but it is present in all people. Low estrogen can result in irregular periods, changes in sex drive, and decreased bone density.
In females, the ovaries are the main organs that produce estrogen and play an important role in sexual development and fertility. In males, the body converts some testosterone to estrogen, supporting overall health and some reproductive functions.
Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout life. In females, they naturally drop after menopause and after giving birth. This is typical, although it may result in various symptoms.
Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of their essential role in the body, even slight hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout the body.
Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system. Hormones travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it.
Hormones are essential for regulating most major bodily processes, so a hormonal imbalance can affect many bodily functions. Hormones help to regulate:
- blood sugar
- blood pressure
- reproductive cycles and sexual function
- general growth and development
- mood and stress levels
Imbalances in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline can affect males and females alike.
- Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which you are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. ED can be a short-term or long-term problem. You have ED when you
- can get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have sex.
- can get an erection, but it does not last long enough for fulfilling or satisfactory sex.
- are unable to get an erection at any time.
- Low Libido
Libido is a person's overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. Libido is influenced by biological, psychological, and social factors. Biologically, the sex hormones and associated neurotransmitters that act upon the nucleus accumbens (primarily testosterone and dopamine, respectively) regulate libido in humans. Social factors, such as work and family, and internal psychological factors, such as personality and stress, can affect libido. Libido can also be affected by medical conditions, medications, lifestyle and relationship issues, and age (e.g., puberty).
Menopause is a routine, non-pathologic condition involving the permanent cessation of menses for at least 12 months. Menopause occurs in all menstruating females due to non-pathologic estrogen deficiency. The median age of menopause is 51. Most women experience vasomotor symptoms, but menopause can affect many areas, some of which are the urogenital and cardiovascular systems.
Ribera Healthcare offers a wide array of treatment options customized to fit the individuals medical conditions. Options may include topical creams, injections, oral hormonal medications, and pellet therapy, as mentioned above. Patients treatment options would be determined and evaluated with a licensed and certified Ribera Healthcare medical professional.