hormones

What Bioidentical Hormone Replacements Are Available?

Bioidentical hormone replacement is often used to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Bioidentical hormones are also being used to treat male menopause, or andropause. As we learn more about human aging—including the natural decline of sex hormones—the use of bioidentical hormone replacement is increasing. Many hormones—not just reproductive hormones—diminish with age, and it is becoming more common to replace those hormones in an attempt to “turn back the clock” and prevent or reverse aging.

Bioidentical hormone replacement to counteract the effects of aging can be as simple as slathering on some progesterone cream daily to deal with the hot flashes of menopause. Or it can be a complex and individualized treatment regimen based on careful monitoring of the levels of several hormones in your blood.

Age Management Therapy

One aspect of age management therapy is bioidentical hormone replacement. Hormone levels are adjusted to bring your hormone levels back to what they were when you were 25 or 30. This involves careful monitoring by a physician, frequent measurements of the levels of hormones so that your bioidentical hormone replacement can be adjusted, and taking creams, shots and pills on a daily basis.

Sex hormones are among the ones that will be replaced. Although we think of estrogen replacement for women and testosterone for men, both men and women normally secrete several sex hormones. Estradiol (the most common form of estrogen), testosterone and progesterone are monitored and replaced in both men and women. Of course, men require more testosterone and women more estrogen, but both are necessary for both sexes.

Human growth hormone is another common bioidentical hormone replacement. The decline in HGH is thought to be responsible for aging. Although HGH-releasing supplements are available, they do not replace HGH. They stimulate your body to increase its own production, but the result is not predictable. In age management therapy, HGH is usually replaced with injections of the hormone.

DHEA is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that diminishes with age. The decline in DHEA production is also thought to be responsible for aging. DHEA is taken as a pill.

Thyroid is not a hormone we think of with aging, but the secretion of thyroid hormones does diminish with age. It is the most commonly prescribed hormone, and is taken by pill.

Melatonin is a hormone that influences normal sleep cycles. We secrete it in response to darkness, and our production of melatonin diminishes with age. Many people believe this is why elderly people often do not sleep well. To return hormone levels to 30-year-old levels, physicians recommend taking a melatonin supplement after about age 50.

In addition to bioidentical hormone replacement, physicians may monitor the levels of insulin and cortisol. Although the production of these hormones do not decline with age, abnormal levels are common. Cortisol is produced in response to stress, and high levels indicate a need for stress reduction or management. Insulin levels (not blood sugar levels) are measured to make sure your body is still able to produce and utilize insulin.

Age management therapy is a relatively new treatment to prevent aging and maintain health as long as possible. Bioidentical hormone replacement is an important element of age management.


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