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Highland Park, IL 60035

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BioIdentical Hormones for Men and Women

Recently one of my patients declared, “At some point in a woman’s life, she gets bad healthcare.” Sad commentary, but women are often perceived by physicians as either complainers or having symptoms that are a “normal” part of aging.  My perspective… “Who wants to be normal?” What I mean by this comment is; in 2014 the aging process doesn’t have to be something that we just lackadaisically accept. We have no problem taking and prescribing medication to relieve pain, regulate menstruation, lower cholesterol, etc.; which treat health issues that are all considered “normal.”  Why not treat the signs of aging as well? We have the tools at our disposal that can offer us better quality of life! That personalized consideration is at the core of our hormone consultations, quality of life.

As we age, the organs that manufacture our hormones become less efficient, and in some cases, stop manufacturing hormones altogether. In women, this is called menopause, as the ovaries stop producing many hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. In men, some people have used the term “Andropause” or “Low-T”.  Additionally, while not normally thought of as part of the monthly hormonal “cycle”, or in the functioning of male sex organs, the thyroid too is involved in the complex mechanism of aging and hormonal balance.

With the decline in hormones comes decreased libido, sleep disruption, for women hot flashes, bone loss, decrease in mental acuity, and mood instability to name a few symptoms. Restoring hormone levels helps to prevent each of these symptoms. The question that is always lingering on the minds of our patients is: “But what are the risks?”

Unfortunately, the only data we have came from a longitudinal study (a group of women followed over many years) called the Women’s Health Initiative.  The women in the study were on various combinations of premarin (estrogen obtained from pregnant mares’ urine and hence the name) and methoxyprogesterone (a synthetic progesterone that does not resemble the progesterone manufactured by a human body). While there are a lot of factors to consider, including the risks of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, dementia and heart disease, one fact is clear, the Women’s Health Initiative did a disservice to women and women’s health. The outcomes that were published as news worthy were only the negative outcomes. The positive outcomes seemed to be swept under the rug so effectively that even some physicians are unable to piece together all of the collected information.

In a nutshell, here are the highlights of the Women’s Health Initiative:

  1. Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer while on hormone replacement therapy lived longer than those who were hormone free.
  2. Women on hormone replacement therapy had a lower incidence of osteoporosis and colon cancer.
  3. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and you are 10 years postmenopausal, oral estrogen can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke; but, if you do not have a preexisting complication, your risks are decreased.

What was missing from the study was looking at women who take “natural” or “bio-identical” hormones; and no one bothered to ask these women about their quality of life. And, of course, men were not included in the study at all.

In our consultations, we examine all potential risk factors both for and against taking hormones. We look at the form of hormone(s) that you should take (oral, sublingual, topically applied, or injected); and if you are a candidate, we come up with an individualized combination of “bio-identical” hormones, which are synthesized from natural sources to resemble what the human body actually produces. If you are not a candidate, then we may recommend micronutrient testing or other wellness care to assess any nutritional deficiencies that may be underlying your symptoms and combine supplements with herbal medicine to give you the best quality of life that you deserve.

I will end this by saying that while I agree with the comment that my patient made, I also extend that to include men. Men too do not get good health care.

Come in for a consultation with Dr. Josie and Dr. Ryan and see what we can do for you and your quality of life.

Happy Spring!

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595 Elm Place, Suite 208
Highland Park, IL 60035
847-681-8821