Frequently Asked Questions:
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are molecules that have the same structure as the hormones your body makes. You recognize them as your own and process them the same way. This is not true of non-bioidentical hormones. Non-bioidentical hormones somewhat resemble our own hormones and may accomplish some of the same tasks but may also cause toxic byproducts as your body breaks them down for use. This may cause a wide array for side effects like bloating, mood swings, water retention, and more seriously, cancer and heart disease. Not only do bioidentical hormones not cause these side effects but they can prevent them.
What happens to my hormones as I age?
As men and women age, they experience a drop off in hormones. In men this happens gradually starting in the late 30s or 40s. In women, some hormones decrease gradually and some drop suddenly at menopause.
Which hormones are we talking about?
For optimal functioning pre-menopausal women often need thyroid, progesterone and/or testosterone repletion. Post-menopausal women often need thyroid, progesterone, testosterone and estradiol. Men require testosterone repletion. Some may need thyroid care to feel their best.
Isn’t losing my hormones just a normal part of aging?
Yes and no. One hundred years ago the average lifespan was 53.6 for men and 54.6 for women. Hormone levels dropped and the we died. This is not so today. Many people are living into their 70s and 80s and beyond with very low or no hormones and very high rates of chronic disease. Adequate levels of hormones are needed to regulate body metabolism, immunity, heart and brain function to name a few.
Do I have a hormone deficiency?
Symptoms of hormone deficiency include weight gain, loss of muscle and bone mass, degenerative disease like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, autoimmune disease, wrinkling and thinning of the skin, depression and stress, cognitive decline, loss of sex drive, fatigue and sleep disorders. Do you have any of these symptoms?
As levels of hormones decline, so do our physical and mental capabilities. We lose our energy, vitality, strength, physique, and health. Diagnoses like osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, muscle atrophy, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction are common with age.
What will happen when I replace my low hormones?
By restoring hormones to a more youthful level, it is possible to improve our energy and strength. It is also possible to improve or reverse many of the symptoms and signs that we have come to associate with aging.
How do I get started with hormone care?
Schedule an initial consultation with Annie Macleod, Nurse Practitioner. She will order hormone laboratory testing. Based on the lab results and your symptoms and goals, she will formulate a replacement regimen that is specifically tailored to your needs. She will continue to adjust your regimen based on follow up lab tests and consultations until you are feeling optimally. This typically takes an average of 4 months.
Do I need to take hormones forever?
Once you are feeling optimally, Annie recommends follow up lab tests every six months to ensure your regimen continues to meet your needs. You may safely discontinue your hormones anytime, however, your body will never again make optimal level of hormones it did before levels began to decline in mid-life. No patient has chosen to discontinue their hormones after Annie has brought them to an optimal level. They simply feel too good.
Can’t my primary care provider just do this for me?
Yes and no. There is no good reason your primary care provider can’t provide hormone care for you. However, replacement of hormones is not emphasized during medical training. Your primary care provider would need to pursue additional training to safely and effectively replace hormones. Those that do, often use non-bioidentical hormones.
Adjusting hormones isn’t hard but when done well it is personalized, artful and takes practice. Most medical providers don’t feel equipped or confident enough to provide this service. Nor does insurance cover the labs and visits necessary to get started with hormone care. Annie sees you every 4-6 weeks for the first few months to adjust your dose and to monitor your response the regimen. Following patients closely does not fit into the conventional medical model of 15-minute annual visits.