It is estimated that up to 80 percent of adults in the US suffer from hormonal imbalances, and this issue becomes more common as we age. There are now many hormone therapy treatment options, but one of the simplest and most effective is pellet therapy, which allows for the slow release of hormones over several months. Read on to find out more about why hormonal imbalances occur and how we at Pellecome in Randolph, NJ, can help.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers, regulating the function of your body. They are secreted from endocrine glands in the body, for example from the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland, the ovaries, and the testes, and are released directly into the blood. From there, they are carried to the areas and organs where they are needed.
Some of the most important functions of hormones are regulating the development and growth of young people, metabolizing food, directing mood and cognitive function, and regulating sexual function. While these processes usually take place automatically, they can sometimes be faulty or change significantly over time, in which case we can offer assistance through hormone replacement therapy.
Your Ovaries or Testes
When we speak about therapy and hormone replacement, we usually mean the sex hormones: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, because they change the most as we age. This is because a woman’s ovaries shrink over time and eventually stop producing estrogen, which can lead to a series of symptoms like low sex drive, weight gain, and vaginal dryness.
In men, the testicular muscles also start to lose mass and produce less testosterone, so you may experience issues like loss of muscle tone, low libido, mood changes, and erectile dysfunction. These symptoms often occur at or after middle age, but it’s important to remember that hormonal imbalances can happen at any age. Treating the issue early is a great way to reduce the effects of the condition on your life and ensure you don’t have severe symptoms.
Hormone Stages in Women
Many women will start to experience significant hormonal changes as they start to enter menopause. You may be familiar with a number of the common symptoms of this life stage, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and the loss of reproductive function. However, many people are not aware that there are different stages to this process, and you may experience a range of changes throughout each phase.
Some people use premenopause and perimenopause interchangeably, but they are not quite the same thing. Premenopause occurs first and describes a woman who still has her full reproductive function. When you’re in this stage, you have periods, whether regular or irregular, and you could still have a child. There are not yet any symptoms of menopause. However, some hormonal changes may start to happen in the background, without you noticing.
Many healthcare professionals don’t tend to use this term because it simply describes a woman who is in her reproductive years, so technically it could be anyone, at any age, who has not yet gone through menopause. The technical word for the time just before you hit menopause is perimenopause.
This term means ‘around menopause’ and it refers to the time before your period stops, when you might start to notice the first menopausal symptoms. Most women enter this stage in their mid-to-late 40s, but everyone is different, so you might experience it earlier or later. You’re likely to remain in this phase for 2-8 years, and you’ll notice your body going through many changes.
Your cycle is going to change, with irregular bleeding and a longer or shorter cycle becoming more common. In addition, you might start to experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleeping problems, and often negative changes in your mood. Your sexual function is also likely to be affected, as vaginal dryness is a common issue women face. This can lead to pain during intercourse and therefore a reduction of sexual activity.
Menopause is the transitional period when you move from being in your reproductive years to being postmenopausal. Most experts agree that menopause is complete when you’ve gone for 12 months without having your monthly cycle, and the average age for this to occur in the US is 51. At this point, your estrogen production has fallen significantly and you no longer release eggs.
Experts can’t pinpoint the exact moment when you move from perimenopause to postmenopause, but you are considered in the latter stage once you haven’t had a period for a year. If you have to urinate more frequently or experience insomnia and forgetfulness, you are experiencing some typical symptoms of this stage.
Once you no longer have your reproductive function, you are moving into the postmenopausal phase of your life. Symptoms may still persist, especially the ones related to your sexual function, such as vaginal dryness and a loss of your sex drive. What’s more, cholesterol levels can sometimes be higher, so women in this phase are at a higher risk of contracting heart disease and should have their cholesterol levels measured regularly.
After 3-6 years, you will enter the late postmenopausal stage, and your symptoms will start to fade away. Despite this, the lack of estrogen and progesterone can bring some dangers with it in the long run. You might start to suffer from osteoporosis, which is a weakness in your bones, and heart disease continues to be a concern. Many women also experience a loss of muscle mass, weight gain, and persistent disruption in their sexual health.
Do You Need Hormone Therapy?
Pellet therapy for women can help you through the difficult menopausal years and prevent many adverse health conditions later on. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or are worried about your physical and sexual health, we may be able to help you. When you visit your local healthcare provider, they can accurately measure your hormone levels by using serum, blood, and saliva testing, and tell you whether this is a good option for you.
If they do find a hormonal imbalance, they will try to treat this with the lowest level of hormones possible. The goal is to reduce the negative effects of menopause, whether it has been induced through surgery or part of the natural process. But while the reduction of symptoms and restoration of your sexual function are important, maybe the most crucial aim of hormone therapy is to reduce your risk of serious conditions like osteoporosis.
Hormones in Men
Menopause is a well-known condition and talked about a lot, but the male version of this process, andropause, is not commonly known. Despite this, many men experience symptoms such as mood swings, a loss of muscle mass, a change in the shape of their bodies, a lack of energy, and reduced concentration. The big difference is that there isn’t a large, sudden drop in hormones like there is with women, but the decline is steady.
Starting at around age 30, men start to lose less than 2% of their testosterone production every year. While this isn’t usually a reason for concern, it can compound with certain lifestyle factors to create the above-mentioned negative changes. In particular, excessive and long-term stress, depression, and anxiety as well as a bad diet or lack of exercise can be major factors that contribute to these symptoms.
Erectile dysfunction and other negative changes to sexual function are common with age, affecting up to 70% of men after the age of 70. If you are experiencing this issue, it is likely to be a combination of the gradual drop in testosterone, your lifestyle choices, and the amount of stress you experience in your daily life.
Do You Need Treatment?
Men who are experiencing symptoms of andropause shouldn’t delay speaking to a medical professional. A doctor can test your hormone levels to check for a serious issue with your testosterone, and advise you on what changes to implement. For example, they may tell you to reduce your stress levels, improve your diet, or exercise more frequently.
In severe cases of hormone imbalance, therapy may be necessary. There are many options for you, such as injectable testosterone esters or gels, creams, and solutions. However, many patients find pellet therapy to work the best because it can provide the correct levels of testosterone for 3-4 months at a time, so you won’t have to visit the clinic frequently or spend time applying creams every day.
How Hormone Optimization Works
BHRT pellet implants, developed by Dr. Jacome, are a unique and easy way to address hormonal issues in both women and men. Inserting a pellet into your gluteal area is one of the easiest and most efficient ways that Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy can be administered, and is offered in many clinics around the country. The hormones that are introduced to your body are plant-based and identical to human hormones on a molecular level.
The main advantage of using pellets is that the release will be sustained and slow, so you won’t experience spikes and subsequent drops in hormone levels. They are also safe to use, easy to insert, and don’t carry the risk of being applied by an unauthorized person, which can sometimes happen with topical creams or gels. Pellets can also be combined with other methods. If you need additional help, and your physician will be able to discuss this option with you.
What To Expect from Your Appointment
When you visit your local clinic to have BHRT pellets inserted, you will be surprised by how quick and efficient this treatment is. You might only need to be at your doctor’s office for 15-30 minutes, 3-4 times a year, so it is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of administering hormone therapy. Once the pellet is inserted, you won’t have to worry about remembering to apply a cream or gel every day, but the hormonal release will happen automatically.
After your visit to the clinic, your pellet will start to secrete the hormone within 1-2 weeks and you will feel the effects two or three weeks later. Full results can be achieved about six months after your first treatment, but since your therapy will be tailored to your specific needs, this may vary. Your healthcare provider will be able to give you more details and discuss your desired results with you.
Restore Your Hormonal Balance Now
If you are experiencing the negative effects of menopause or andropause, you may be a great candidate for Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Administered in pellet form, this treatment can reduce many of your symptoms within a few weeks or months. To find out more about hormone therapy and to identify a local provider, contact us at Pellecome in Randolph, NJ today.