Hormone replacement therapy isn’t a rarity anymore. Many people can significantly benefit from hormone replacement therapy, and more and more doctors are beginning to offer hormone replacement therapy as a treatment option for their patients.
If you notice that you aren’t feeling much like yourself as you graduate further into adulthood, this could be a result of declining hormone levels.
Here’s how to recognize the symptoms of low hormones and start a conversation with a doctor about the health and wellness concerns that can come with declining hormone levels.
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is a therapeutic medical treatment that helps to replace and restore hormones missing from or inadequately produced by the body.
There are more than 50 known hormones within the human endocrine system, and each hormone plays a different role in the growth, development, biological processes, and maintenance of the healthy human body. It’s possible to be deficient in any of these hormones, and the effects of low hormone levels are more likely to become pronounced with age.
When people talk about hormone replacement therapy, they’re generally referring to sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. As men and women mature into older adults, the body naturally produces less estrogen or testosterone.
Hormone replacement therapy can help mitigate many of the side effects people experience as their hormone levels begin to naturally taper off with age. Hormone replacement therapy can help to restore health and improve the function of the human body while also promoting a better mood and improving the aesthetic appearance of the body.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe?
Hormone replacement therapy is safe for most people who are substantially lacking essential hormones. There are risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, and every patient needs to be evaluated for proper candidacy before hormone replacement therapy can begin.
There are also risks with every medical treatment or medication. If the potential benefits outweigh the risks and the likelihood of risks occurring is low, hormone replacement therapy is generally safe.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Effective?
Hormone replacement therapy is effective when prescribed and administered exactly as your doctor instructed. Most changes or improvements that come as a result of hormone replacement therapy won’t be immediately noticeable. The body needs time to adapt and utilize the hormones.
Most people find that there is a substantial change in most of their health and wellness concerns after following their treatment program for six weeks. Some benefits and results may take longer to appear, and hormone replacement therapy maintenance treatments are required to maintain these benefits.
Hormone replacement therapy can help with many concerns, but it may not be the full solution. It’s important to have realistic expectations about what hormone replacement therapy can achieve. You’ll also need to make healthy lifestyle changes and mindful choices to restore the overall health of your body.
People looking to address low energy levels or adult acne may also benefit from treatments like nutraceutical vitamin B therapy, which can safely be used in conjunction with hormone replacement therapy. Eating right, regular physical activity, and taking good care of your skin are just as important as balancing your hormones and getting your vitamins.
What Are the Signs That Women Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Most women notice the signs and symptoms of declining hormones right before, during, or after menopause. During menopause, the body significantly decreases its output of estrogen. This can lead to many symptoms that women find distressing, uncomfortable, or even disruptive to their normal lives, such as:
- Low libido
- Difficulty sleeping
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Intimate area dryness
- Uncomfortable vaginal sensations during or after intimacy
- Loss of calcium in the bones or osteoporosis
- Unexpected changes in mood
- Anxiety or irritability
What Are the Signs That Men Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Some men will continue to produce sufficient amounts of testosterone into their senior years. Other men will experience a noticeable decrease in testosterone somewhere between their thirties and their fifties. The process is different for every man, so there is no specific age or period of a man’s life where he’s more likely to need testosterone.
Men with low testosterone will often notice changes that impact their mood, the way they look, the composition of their body, and their physical strength.
- Cognitive issues, like lack of mental focus
- Hair thinning or hair loss
- Low sex drive
- Dry skin
- Unwanted weight gain
- Changes in body shape
- Loss of muscle tone
- Anxiety or irritability
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low energy levels
What Are the Different Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy comes in many forms. Each form of hormone replacement therapy comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. If your doctor believes you would benefit from hormone replacement therapy, you’ll be able to discuss different forms of hormone replacement therapy and decide on which form is the best for you.
Gels or Creams
Hormone gels or creams are the least invasive method of hormone replacement therapy. Creams and gels are rubbed onto the skin. In some cases, estrogen creams are used specifically on the vaginal area.
While these creams are the easiest to use at home, they’re also less effective than other forms of hormone therapy. If your need for hormone replacement therapy is substantial, topical preparations may not be the best solution for you.
A small pellet that slowly releases hormones can be placed under the skin. This is a simple procedure performed under local anesthesia (numbing injections) with no downtime. You’ll go home the same day.
Many people enjoy hormone pellets because they last for a long time and there’s no need to remember to use your hormone replacement therapy. The downside is that pellets are difficult to remove if you experience unwanted side effects of hormone replacement therapy.
Discontinuation can be a complicated process, which is why people new to hormone replacement therapy may want to wait until they understand how their body responds before choosing a pellet.
Hormone therapy injections can be administered by patients at home. These injections are administered according to a specific schedule, which can be as often as once every two weeks or as little as once a month.
The injection goes straight into the muscle. It’s only mildly uncomfortable, and it’s very easy to do yourself. Injections are highly effective and easy to manage, making them one of the most popular options for hormone replacement therapy.
How Is Hormone Imbalance or Deficiency Diagnosed?
Diagnosis ordinarily begins with dialog. If you feel as though you’re recognizing signs that you need hormone replacement therapy, mention them to your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate your overall health and order blood tests. These tests will show your doctor the presence of hormones in your system, allowing your doctor to determine if the levels of specific hormones are too low.
During this time, your doctor will be able to address any related concerns you have. If you need to do more to improve your overall health, the best time to start is immediately. If you commit to positive lifestyle changes before you begin hormone replacement therapy, your overall outcome will be substantially better.
Only a Doctor Will Know for Sure
The sooner you begin hormone replacement therapy, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits.
Elite HRT makes it as easy as can be. Our telemedicine doctors will work with you to set up necessary medical testing in your area. After reviewing your results and your medical history, we’ll be able to make a determination on your candidacy for hormone replacement therapy.
If you are an ideal candidate, we can provide you with the tools you need to look and feel like yourself again. Contact our experienced team of hormone replacement doctors today.
What is the Endocrine System? | US EPA
Changes in Hormone Levels, Sexual Side Effects of Menopause | North American Menopause Society
Low Testosterone (Low T): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic