Q: At what age should a person consider hormone replacement therapy?
A: Many individuals notice changes in their 40s and 50s, evidenced by minimized mental sharpness, fatigue, hot flashes (in women), and diminished sexual desire. Although symptoms usually begin in the 40s, women start losing progesterone and testosterone in their 30s (long before they lose their estrogen) and men begin to lose testosterone in their 30s.
Q: What are the benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
A: Re-establishing optimal hormone levels with bio-identical replacement therapy brings function back to cells, organs, and organ systems, and it can slow down the aging process. This not only improves quality of life, but also diminishes the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and elevated cholesterol.
Q: What is a bio-identical hormone, and how is it different from a synthetic hormone?
A: Synthetic hormones are formulated with molecular structures different from the ones we make. Bio-identical hormones are formulated by natural sources like soy and wild yam, and have the exact same cellular structure as those produced in the human body. The difference is like having a key that fits a lock and having a key that is similar, but does not fit perfectly. Bio-identical hormones are the key that fits.
Q: Are there any risks or side effects with bio-identical hormones?
A: The proper balance must be administered and monitored to avoid any imbalances. Bio-identical hormones have a lower risk profile than synthetic hormones, which pass through the liver and increase cardiovascular risks.
Q: How is the bio-identical hormone typically administered?
A: There are several ways that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can be administered for delivery to the bloodstream and distribution to the cells and tissues of the body. Some of the more familiar ways are oral ingestion, injections, and topical creams and patches. These are dosed daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the type; and can greatly improve low hormone levels. The sub-dermal insertion delivery (or “pellet”), developed in the late 1930’s serves as a most effective format for hormone therapy and is becoming a frequently preferred method among delivery options.
Q: How quickly do symptoms of menopause and/or andropause disappear?
A: Some individuals report noticeable improvement within days, and others experience a more gradual improvement over a number of weeks.
Q: What should people look for in a doctor who is prescribing bio-identical hormones?
A: It is important that your physician has a thorough understanding of BHRT as well as metabolic function. Your practitioner should have ample experience administering hormone therapy to females if you are a woman and males if you are a man.
Dr. Sharon Harley
Harley Anti-Aging Institute
1800 Peachtree St., Ste. 455
Atlanta, GA 30309
Dr. Harley is a board certified OB/GYN who is fellowship trained in Anti-aging and Holistic Medicine. She has more than 23 years of experience in private practice in the Metro Atlanta area. Her interests include Laparoscopic Surgery, Hysterectomy Alternatives, Bioequivalent Hormone Replacement Therapy, Preventive Health and Perimenopausal/Andropausal Medicine