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Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy in Charleston, SC

“Most doctors are giving women synthetic (non-bioidentical) hormones, which just eliminate the symptoms, but it’s doing nothing to actually replace the hormones you have lost. Without our hormones we die.” — Suzanne Somers

How Do You Know If You Need Hormone Therapy?

Healthcare practitioners evaluate patients’ hormone requirements through a collecting a thorough history and lab testing (saliva/blood/urine). Based on this information a bioidentical hormone doctor writes a prescription tailored to the patient’s needs or recommends herbal and dietary programs to balance the endocrine system.

Hormone replacement therapy is used for a short-term treatment such as hot flashes, vaginal atrophy and even prevention of osteoporosis. But there are lots of medical uses for hormone replacement therapy.

Standard dosing with non-customized prescriptions often do not give patients the full benefits of natural hormone replacement and can have negative side effects.

What Are Bioidentical Hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are exactly identical in molecular structure to the hormones made in the body. The body does not know the difference between the hormone it makes and bio-identical hormones. These bioidentical hormones are extracted from natural substances like yam and soy or made in a lab. Synthetic,non-bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, have extra molecules which are not recognized by the body. They are NOT broken down by the body’s enzymes and thus may stay in the body unmetabolized for long periods of time as carcinogens and toxins.

How Are Hormone Levels Evaluated?

When hormone levels are tested, the results are frequently within normal ranges. This simply means that someone does not have disease. It does not mean their hormones are at optimal levels for health. Optimal levels of hormones are vital to preventing disease, maintaining energy and feeling young. This explains why people who are told their lab result look fine still feel lousy.

Are your Hormones Below Optimal Level?

  • Thyroid: Symptoms: fatigue, mental slowness, depression, weight gain, dry skin, constipation, hair loss and swelling of ankles. Thyroid hormone levels and function eventually decline with age for everyone.
  • Testosterone: Symptoms: loss of energy, thinning of bones/muscles, depression, increased body fat, impaired sexual function, changes in mood, attitude and confidence. In men, testosterone deficiency is linked to hypertension, obesity and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): Men less than 60 years old may be candidates for HCG treatment to naturally raise their testosterone level. Using HCG alone or in combination with testosterone is the preferred choice for men with symptoms of low testosterone but who still plan to have children.
  • Estrogen: In women, levels begin to decline around age 45 and usually diminish by age 51. Symptoms: hot flashes, skin and vaginal dryness, urinary infections, bone loss and cognitive decline. Men usually have the opposite problem. They can have too much estrogen starting as early as in their 40’s.
  • Progesterone: Symptoms in women: anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disorders, PMS, weight gain, mood swings, breast and ovarian cysts, heavier or irregular menstruation, fertility issues, and bone loss (osteoporosis).
  • DHEA: Enhances strength, memory, mood, sexual energy and immune system as well as potentially improving cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, abdominal fat, and bone density.
  • Melatonin: Known for its positive effects on sleep, mental sharpness, stress, and raising growth hormone. It also is a powerful cancer fighter due to its role in activating natural killer cells.
  • Pregnenolone: Positive effect on memory, concentration, and adrenal fatigue.
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Helps maintain connective tissue in joints, bones, muscles, fat and skin. Also, helps with body composition (reduction in fat, improved bone density) and preventing frailty.

How are Safe Levels Maintained?

Bioidentical hormones have been utilized in Europe for 60+ years and studies show that they are both safe and effective. The important aspect in utilizing bio-identical hormone replacement is to monitor the levels and hormone metabolites. Each hormone must not only be balanced with the others but achieve a lab level that is associated with safety and efficacy for both feeling good and preventive outcomes.

Today, millions of people are experiencing hormonal imbalances and deficiencies. It is well known that without replacing these hormones, our brain, bones, heart, joints, muscles, skin, mood and quality of life are put at risk. The frequency and severity of these symptoms will vary greatly from person to person. Merge Medical Center is a leader in the Charleston area for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy ensuring our patients live life to the fullest.