When people are in their thirties, their bodies produce hormones efficiently in sufficient amounts to maintain optimal levels of hormones. As we age, the body's ability to create hormones decreases, causing an imbalance to occur. This imbalance causes other systems of the body to operate at less than optimum levels and can lead to conditions that cause severe degeneration of general health and overall quality of life.
Hormone deficiency can come in the form of low testosterone or low estrogen. Hormone imbalance can produce a wide variety of symptoms, including decreased mental clarity, mood swings, memory loss, fatigue, increase in body fat with a decrease in lean body mass, anxiety, depression, and diminished sex drive. Some report inability to sleep, dry eyes, and migraine headaches. Hormone deficiencies have even been linked to osteoporosis and central obesity. Many of the symptoms mimic and amplify the aging process and can be mistaken for clinical depression.
Problems in Traditional Treatment
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement should not be confused with synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Although there may be situations where the use of synthetic hormones is appropriate, they carry risks which may outweigh their benefits. Synthetic hormones are chemically altered so that they may be patented, and women's bodies often experience difficulties assimilating these chemicals. The use of synthetic hormones has been linked to increases in strokes, heart attacks, breast cancer, cardio-vascular disease in women over 65. These results are documented in a 2003 study by The Women's Health Initiative, sponsored by the National Institute of Health. The study also concluded that there were no clear benefits on quality of life for patients on a combined course of estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement medicines and creams sometimes produce unpleasant androgenic side effects, such as acne, hair loss, deepening of the voice, and growth of facial hair. These are usually caused by an imbalance of hormones in the opposite direction, meaning levels of hormones that are higher than normal. The reason for this is that the "one-size-fits-all" medications react differently from individual to individual. The body needs lower levels of hormones when it is at rest and higher levels during times of physical activity or stress. It is nearly impossible to maintain optimal hormone levels with traditional medicines and creams.
Pellet Hormone Delivery
One of the most exciting developments in the field has been the use of pellets implanted under the skin to deliver supplemental hormones. When the person increases her level of activity, whether to perform activities of daily living or to engage in vigorous exercise, the increased flow of blood around the pellets causes them to release more hormones. This process mimics the action of the glands that naturally produce hormones. In the same way, a normal increase in stress will trigger an increase flow of blood and cause the pellets to release an appropriate amount of hormones. Properly designed, monitored, and administered, pellets can maintain hormone levels that are closer to the optimal levels produced by naturally by the body in its prime.
Course of Treatment
A prescribed dosage of pellets is inserted under the skin of the upper hip using an instrument designed for the purpose. The procedure is performed in the doctor's office and administered after numbing the area with a small dose of lidocaine. A small piece of tape is used to cover the incision, and the patient is instructed not to exercise for the remainder of the day. After approximately four to six weeks, the patient is tested to determine how the body is responding to the increased dosages of hormones, and the dosage may be adjusted up or down. Once an optimal balance is reached, a routine test as part of each annual checkup is all that is needed, unless signs of imbalance begin to manifest.
Results of Hormone Balancing
Results are often experienced within days to weeks after the pellets are administered. Patients have reported that a feeling of well-being emerges and a sense that a weight or veil has been lifted off them. This positive emotional reaction is in part attributable to the freedom of not having to administer daily doses of pills or creams, but is also due to the body's perception of a new balance within-a return to the normal optimal functioning of youth. Over time, patients may also experience improved mental clarity, reduction in mood swings, renewed interest in sex, and greater zest for life. In addition, the patient may develop healthier skin and hair, giving the added bonus of a more youthful appearance.
Good treatment begins with accurate measurement of current levels of hormones by testing blood. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, you should schedule an appointment for a consultation and evaluation, including hormone determination. From there, the doctor will be in a better position to determine whether hormone pellet treatment is right for you.