Bio-identical Hormone Therapy is known by a variety of different names – hormone replacement therapy, natural hormone therapy, HRT, etc. The reason it is often referred to as Natural Hormone Therapy is because the hormone we prescribe is an exact replica of the hormone made by your body. Therefore, the body accepts it as its own naturally-produced hormone. Hence, the name Natural Hormone Therapy.
As a women gets older, it is natural for the amount of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone that is produced to be reduced. At Premier Age Management, we will help increase and balance these hormones. Continue reading below to learn more about Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.
Estrogen creates the female shape (breasts, hips, pelvis, and even face) and controls the menstrual cycle. It keeps skin smooth and unwrinkled, prevents excess hair growth, and keeps the vagina moist. It enhances sexual desire, increases physical endurance, and contributes to a positive mood. Estrogen keeps the eyes and mouth moist and the eyes shining. It produces a positive mood – happiness, enthusiasm, and zeal – and prevents depression. Estrogen prevents menstruation-related migraines. Estrogen develops sexual desire and the desire to love. It fights fatigue, reduces the risk of heart disease, retards osteoporosis, protects the brain, keeps the joints healthy, and supports immune function.
Estrogen is actually a family of “feminine” hormones. Though many have similar effects, for the most part when we say estrogen we are referring specifically to estradiol, the most common (and potent) natural form used in supplements. Men’s bodies need estrogen, too – without it, they are infertile and might have a low libido – but men are not actually treated with supplements because they can cause prostate problems.
At puberty, the ovaries start producing significant amounts of estrogen, with a helping hand from the pituitary gland, which stimulates the ovaries with other hormones (FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone, and LH, luteinizing hormone). Some estrogen is made in fat cells by metabolizing other hormones originating in the adrenal glands. At menopause, as the ovaries dramatically decrease production, fat tissue becomes the predominant source of estrogens. Either way, estrogen is a very powerful hormone. Consider that a woman’s body typically produces 80 mcg (micrograms) of it each day, which is enough to balance the 25,000 mcg of androgens (male hormones) it also produces.
Levels of this hormone in the body vary cyclically. Every month, estrogen builds up a mucous membrane on the walls of the uterus, preparing it to receive a fertilized egg. In the absence of such an egg, estrogen levels drop toward the end of the cycle and the uterine lining sloughs off as menstruation. If there is a fertilized egg and pregnancy occurs, there’s a nine-month hiatus from the regular cycle, during which several hormones alter their patterns, including estrogen, which sky-rockets.
If you are a woman without sufficient estrogen, you’ll have hair loss on the top of your head; plentiful small, fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth and especially above the lips; and dry, irritated eyes. Your breasts will shrink and/or sag and you’ll lose some of the plumpness that adds the curves to your figure at the chest, hips, and pelvis. You’ll experience vaginal dryness and lack of sexual desire and possibly painful intercourse. You might have excessive hairiness or hair growth patterns similar to men’s. A deficiency of estrogen can make you tired all day long, give you a tendency toward depression, and encourage feelings of discouragement. And of course it would cause a host of menstrual problems: inadequate, nonexistent, or protracted (more than five days) flow, painful periods with severe cramps, and/or cycles that are irregular (either too short or too long).
Lowered estrogen levels are the source of many of the familiar symptoms of menopause, most famously hot flashes. Younger women might also get hot flashes during menstruation if their estrogen levels are too low.
Progesterone is dominant during pregnancy and otherwise regulates the menstrual cycle. Its main job is to prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg by relaxing it while closing the cervix. Progesterone production reaches 40 mg per day in the second half of a regular menstrual cycle, skyrocketing to 500 mg a day during a normal pregnancy. That’s a hormone world record – thousands of millions of billions of new hormone molecules created every day! During pregnancy progesterone acts as a “serenity hormone,” lessening worry and bringing a sense of peace and sometimes even a little laziness.
In women progesterone is secreted mainly in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It prevents PMS, including bloating, irritability, anxiety, breast tenderness, and migraine, by balancing the estrogens that can promote these things. It also tones down heavy flow and eases painful periods.
Progesterone protects the heart and bones and has anticancer effects, particularly against endometrial and breast cancer. It can also help prevent endometriosis. Finally, progesterone relaxes and calms, reduces worry and nervousness, and provides better and deeper sleep. It can trigger a sense of deep tranquility and inner peace.
Progesterone is made primarily in the ovaries as well as by the placenta during pregnancy. The adrenal glands produce small quantities in both men and women, and the testicles also make a small amount.
The most common sign of progesterone deficiency is painful, tender, swollen breasts before your period. Other signs include anxiety, aggression, irritability, bloating, bad headaches, and a tight and painful lower stomach before your period, painful periods with a hard and swollen belly and back and extremely heavy periods. Without enough progesterone, your face, hands, and feet will be bloated as you retain water. Your facial muscles will be tense, and you’ll have a nervous, aggressive look as if you are under a lot of pressure. Obesity in the lower half of the body, with a ballooning stomach, is another telltale sign. Your breasts can provide other clues to progesterone deficiency, including being too large and developing cysts. Ovarian cysts can also indicate insufficient progesterone, as can uterine fibroids.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone synthesized in both men and women. It is the most active hormone of another group of hormones called Androgens, which have masculine effects.
The proper amount of testosterone is essential for development of the bones and muscles, and contributes to better general health and libido. Testosterone decreases with age in both sexes. Recent research regarding the effect of testosterone on aging demonstrates a gain in lean body mass and a possible decline in bone loss when used in elderly patients.