Hormone Replacement

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Aging can be a scary prospect. In addition to the general stress and pains of growing old, we go through a number of physical and mental changes; for women, menopause is a major concern while men deal with andropause and low testosterone. Many of these age-related issues are the result of a hormonal imbalance. Excessive or reduced levels of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone can wreak havoc on your system, which is where we come in. We take the time and tests needed to identify your situation and help restore a proper balance.

What is BHRT?

BHRT is a way to fight aging and balance your hormones through the use of biologically and chemically identical hormones; making it a better choice than conventional HRT which uses synthetics. Options to administer BHRT include:

  • Pills
  • Injections
  • Creams
  • Gels
  • Skin patches

BHRT Results

While it may take several months, as we typically start with low dosages, measure progress, and respond accordingly, men and women who are treated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy see noticeable results.

  • Increased sex drive
  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Reduced pain
  • Better mood
  • Regained strength

Many women seek bioIdentical hormone replacement as a way to combat menopause. Menopause can be a result of age or by receiving a hysterectomy.

Some of the more alarming signs and symptoms of a female hormonal imbalance associated with menopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Migraines
  • Bone density loss
  • Forgetfulness or mental fogginess
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreasing bladder control
  • Increased anxiety

Just as women suffer from menopause, men deal with andropause. Andropause is often synonymous with low testosterone. As a man ages, his testosterone levels drastically decrease and lead to the condition also known as Low-T.

Low testosterone symptoms include:

Low sex drive
Fatigue
Muscle loss
Depression
Joint pain
Memory loss
Poor concentration

Rhea
I have taken a couple of different paths searching for a natural solution to hormone therapy after a very unpleasant experience with the Climara patch. I was very disappointed in the more natural approach until I started going to LifeStream. I am very satisfied and would highly recommend them to anyone searching for hormone therapy that really works.
Amanda
My labs came back looking like that of a postmenopausal woman, and I’m only 35! Susan worked her hormone/thyroid magic, and now, I have more energy, I sleep more soundly, and I feel better overall. I was also able to discontinue two medications because of the improvements. It completely changed my life!
Whether we are treating PMS, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, libido or menopause we prefer to use bioidentical hormones within a holistic, integrative, functional medicine approach. It’s not “alternative”, its scientific biochemistry!

Controversy

Recently there has been a lot of controversy in the news regarding bioidentical hormones, particularly with drug companies trying to discredit compounding pharmacies and influence the FDA to make obtaining bioidentical hormones more difficult. So, what are bioidentical hormones and why use them?

Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants processed to look exactly like the hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.) human bodies make on their own, thus “bioidentical.”

Most traditional hormone replacement therapies use synthetic versions of these molecules which have been altered in such a way that they can be patented.

Unfortunately the synthetic alterations often make it more difficult for the body to metabolize and detoxify these substances. Thus, they may be more likely to create unwanted or long term harmful side effects such as thyroid disturbances, insulin resistance and even cancer. It is important to understand that all hormones, even bioidentical ones need to be used judiciously, with attention to creating balance in the whole person. Not only do we need to evaluate estrogen levels but also thyroid and adrenal function, assess gastrointestinal function, and understand how all areas are influenced by nutrients, diet, stress levels, personal history, environmental toxicity and psycho-spiritual well-being.

Hormonal Imbalance

Most of our clients come to see us because of hormonal imbalances: bad PMS, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, erratic periods or menopausal symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. On top of that many are suffering from fatigue and mild depression.

The important thing to understand is that there is no one “pill” that is going to “fix” the problem. ALL organ systems in the body are related and influence one another–so it is really important to look at the “big picture”. Surprisingly enough, small changes in several different areas can make big differences in symptoms.

The first thing we do is assess and perform appropriate lab tests. The assessment will include a deep dive into:

  • How much stress are you under? For how long? In what ways? What are your coping mechanisms and tools?
  • What are you eating, drinking, or lacking in your diet which influences hormones?
  • How is your bowel function? Irritable bowel symptoms (Gas, pain, bloating, constipation)?
  • What toxic exposures have you had to antibiotics, medications, environmental factors?
  • How well is your thyroid working? (i.e. Hair falling out, depression, dry skin, brittle nails, cold hands and feet?)
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Breast Cancer

There is a lot of confusion regarding hormone replacement and its risk and benefits, particularly regarding breast cancer. A common question we get is whether hormones, especially estrogen, cause breast cancer? The answer is yes and no.

Yes, long term exposure to excessive estrogen (synthetic or bio-identical) can affect the growth of cancer, yet it is an indirect effect. Important mediators of cancer include not only your genetics, but your exposure to internal and external toxins as well as your body’s capacity to detoxify and get rid of excess estrogens.

No, estrogen itself doesn’t cause the cancer, it acts more like a fertilizer which encourages growth.

Important factors creating the DNA damage which induces cancer include:

  • Inflammation
  • Mineral and nutrient deficiency
  • Alcohol and sugar consumption
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Chronic stress
  • Adrenal and thyroid dysfunction
  • Recurrent antibiotics
  • Environmental toxins
  • Many drugs (including synthetic hormones)
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Detoxification ability
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