Millions of men and women suffer from hormonal health issues that can be improved or even completely cured through the use of BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy). Sadly, many of those who can benefit may not even realize that they have a medical issue, because the symptoms of hormone imbalance are often ignored or mistaken for normal “signs of aging”.
Our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy program at Mission Health & Wellness office is tailored to suit your individual needs.
Our provider realizes that “normal” can be different for everyone and will work with you to achieve hormone balance based on your individual symptoms, lab results, and health goals.
BHRT restores the hormones that your body naturally makes. This will help you feel better, be healthier, and overcome the negative effects of aging.
Each hormone controls different functions within your body, and they all work in concert with each other so that your body is in balance.
However, if levels of any one hormone are not balanced correctly, this can affect other hormone levels. So it is important to get a complete picture of all hormone levels and work to get them all properly balanced.
Our lab testing is comprehensive and includes testing of hormones, key vitamin levels, and many other health markers. In this way, we get a holistic snapshot and treat you from a whole-body perspective versus just treating symptoms or taking a tunnel-vision approach to certain hormones.
Additionally, we have phlebotomy services available if you do not want to go to a public lab.
Our provider and staff at Mission Health & Wellness are devoted to understanding our patients’ health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, and more.
We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness.
Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Progesterone is primarily made in the ovaries, however, a small amount is also produced in the adrenal glands. In pregnancy, progesterone is also made by the placenta. The word “Progesterone” originates from Latin. “Pro” means “for,” and “Gesterone” means “gestation.” Progesterone tends to have a relaxing effect, easing stress and improving sleep.
Child-bearing women who have low levels of Progesterone have more miscarriages and uterine fibroid tumors. One of the roles of Progesterone is thickening the endometrial lining to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If this doesn’t occur due to low levels of Progesterone, or if levels don’t rise after implantation of the egg, then pregnancy can’t be sustained.
As women transition from their child-bearing years towards menopause, they go through a period of perimenopause. It is during this time that Progesterone and other hormone levels begin to wane. This is one of the reasons that women can start to have irregular or heavy periods, and why they may start to have difficulty with sleep. Replacing lost progesterone with bioidentical progesterone can ease and even eliminate those symptoms.
Read more about Sleep issues and how this relates to Progesterone.
More about the benefits of Progesterone:
Progesterone is sometimes thought of as the miracle hormone. It has a calming effect on both the mind and the body. Depleted amounts can cause mood swings and increased anxiety and/or depression. Progesterone is also classified as a neuro-steroid which means that it stimulates normal brain processes and helps the nervous system to function properly. We recommend taking your bioidentical Progesterone before bed since it has a sedative effect and can help resume normal sleep cycles.
Other benefits of Progesterone supplementation include:
- Eases anxiety
- Promotes memory
- Helps to prevent overgrowth of certain types of cells, which can help protect against some cancers including those of the breast or the uterus
- Helps to prevent overgrowth of cells of the endometrial lining and prevent endometriosis from forming
- Helps prevent fibrocystic disease and ovarian cysts
- Helps with symptoms of PMS
- Increases ability to handle stress
- Helps the metabolism by contributing to the use of fat for energy
- Assists in preventing plaque from forming on arterial walls
- Helps to lower triglycerides
- Essential for bone growth
- Assists in the proper function of the thyroid gland
- Can help to slow down the aging process
- Improves insomnia
- Improves libido
- Reduces or eliminates migraines
- Reduces inflammation and joint pain
- Regulate menstrual cycles
- Reduce hot flashes
- Reduce weight gain
Progesterone is one of many hormones that your body produces, and they work together like instruments in a symphony do. Imbalances or deficiencies in one hormone can affect others. Progesterone and Estrogen work together, and if levels of Progesterone are low, this can create a condition called Estrogen Dominance if the ratio of Estrogen to Progesterone is too high. The two hormones also work together to balance the body’s release of insulin and if levels are not optimized, you can have an increased risk for Insulin Resistance or Diabetes.
Bioidentical Progesterone can be administered orally, vaginally, or through a cream applied to the skin. Your provider can help determine what method is best suited for you.
Our provider is an expert in hormone balancing and prescribe only bioidentical hormones. Our lab testing will look at not only your Progesterone but all of your hormones so that we can determine where deficiencies or imbalances exist. Once we have the “big picture,” we are able to determine which hormones need to be prescribed in order to help you feel like your old self again!
Is it Safe?
Bioidentical Progesterone has many benefits. There can be some confusion around this topic because the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) halted hormone replacement therapy studies which included over 80,000 women, due to safety issues, including an increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots. It’s important to understand that the WHI was researching the use of synthetic progestins, and not bioidentical Progesterone.
Another thing that can contribute to more confusion for women is that not all providers have not stayed up to date on current research because they don’t specialize in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Because of this, some physicians believe that estrogen and progesterone only should be prescribed together if a woman still has her uterus (for protective properties to the uterus) and usually will only prescribe estrogen by itself. However, every cell in a woman’s body has both an estrogen receptor and a progesterone receptor and protective benefits are realized throughout the entire body, and not just the uterus. Our provider is up to date on research and can discuss any questions you may have regarding safety and any potential risks regarding BHRT.
A bioidentical hormone is molecularly identical to what is produced in the body. Conversely, Progestin is a synthetic hormone with a different molecular structure. It does not metabolize the same compounds, and instead of providing protective health benefits, it actually has some serious health risks. The most commonly prescribed synthetic Progestin used in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is MPA, or Medroxyprogesterone Acetate, which, as the Women’s Health Initiative revealed, can be dangerous.
After the Women’s Health Initiative did their studies on synthetic Progestins, bioidentical Progesterone (and other hormones) have been studied extensively, and no harmful side effects have been noted. These studies have shown that Progesterone can not only help with unpleasant side effects noted in menopause and perimenopause but can also provide long-term health benefits. We do realize that there are some health conditions that place women at higher risks for diseases associated with any type of hormone therapy, however, we will go over your health history in detail before prescribing bioidentical hormones.
Our provider at Mission Health & Wellness is devoted to understanding our patients’ health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, and more. We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the necessary foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Contact our office for an in person or phone consultation today. We can answer any questions or concerns you have, and explain how our approach can help with hormonal balance and disease prevention so that you can enjoy a vibrant and healthy life!
Your levels of estrogen begin to decrease in perimenopause and continue to decline as you reach menopause.
Estradiol is the most prevalent and active metabolite of estrogen. Since the ovaries mainly produce it, estrogen can become quite depleted for post-menopausal women.
Estrone, a weaker form of estrogen, is found in fat and muscle tissue after menopause.
Estrogen affects sleep quality, mood, libido, focus, and memory. It also protects bones, the heart, the urinary tract, vaginal health, and skin.
A deficiency also produces hot flashes, an uncomfortable symptom that so many women experience.
Estrogen also aids in the production of collagen, which affects the elasticity of skin and hair growth.
Supplementing estrogen deficiencies with bioidentical hormones can prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.
It also increases HDL, the good cholesterol.
Some studies have indicated that a deficiency in estrogen can contribute to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and even cardiovascular disease.
You can take bioidentical estrogen, estradiol, as a pellet, capsule or use it as a cream, where it will be absorbed through the skin. You should take it in the morning, and dosages are determined by your labs and by your symptoms.
Side effects are not common but can include breast tenderness, hot flashes, irregular menses, and mood swings.
Both men and women need healthy levels of testosterone, as it helps with maintaining muscle and bone mass.
By age 50, most women and men are producing about half of the amount that was produced in their 20s. Hormone production declines gradually over a long period. This decline can often start much sooner.
Testosterone deficiencies can cause feeling sluggish, fatigued, having a low mood, and contributing to weight gain. Imbalances also can cause a poor tolerance for exercise and a lack of motivation.
The benefits of testosterone supplementation include:
- Providing heart protection
- Improving libido and desire
- Enhancing lean body mass
- Neurocognitive benefits
- Improved mood
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis and alzheimer’s disease
- It also provides an increase in energy and adds more pep to your step!
We prescribe bioidentical testosterone in pellet form, in a cream form to be administered topically and injectable forms. Women are typically prescribed only about a tenth of what men are given.
If applying topically, it is important to rotate application sites. Be sure to wash your hands after application, as you can transfer this medication to others through contact.
Side effects can sometimes include oily skin, acne, headaches, hirsutism (too much-unwanted hair on the body), and irritability. Often times when one experiences these side effects it is due to receptor site sensitivity from underlying insulin resistance, so this may be something we need to work on as well.
Progesterone is often thought of as the miracle hormone. It is one of the first hormones to decline as we age.
This is one reason that women going through perimenopause can start to have heavy periods and trouble sleeping.
The ovaries primarily produce progesterone, but the adrenal glands also make a small amount.
Progesterone supplementation has a calming effect on the mind and body. And depleted amounts can cause insomnia, mood swings, and increased anxiety and/or depression.
Long-term health benefits of progesterone include:
- Preventing the overgrowth of certain cells (which can protect against some cancers).
- Protecting against nerve damage.
- Acting as a neurosteroid which plays an important part in brain function and the ability to handle stress.
- Affecting metabolism by contributing to the use of fat for energy.
- Helping to block plaque from forming on arterial walls and can help lower triglycerides.
- Essential for helping to build bone.
- Aiding in the proper function of the thyroid gland.
We prescribe progesterone as a capsule or sublingual. Doses can range from 50 to 400 mg, and sometimes even higher if needed depending on your labs and symptoms. Progesterone is best taken before bed because it helps with sleep, but you can also take it in the morning if taking sublingual.
Side effects are not common with bioidentical progesterone unlike progestin, but in rare cases may include stomach upset, headache, bloating, and breast tenderness. Most often though progesterone is used to successfully manage these symptoms.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the lower front part of the neck.
The thyroid produces hormones that are carried out in the blood to every tissue in the body. It helps regulate metabolism, or how the body turns food into energy. It also plays a role in keeping the organs functioning properly and helping the body conserve heat.
Your thyroid gland is your life force; you need it in order to survive.
The thyroid is considered the master gland but is controlled by the pituitary gland. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulating energy production.
The normal thyroid gland produces about 80 – 90% T4 and about 10 – 20% T3. However, T3 possesses about four times the hormone strength as T4. This is one reason Synthroid doesn’t work for most people, as it’s only composed of T4. If T4 isn’t being converted to your active thyroid hormone T3, you will still be symptomatic.
Some people’s bodies aren’t able to convert the T4 hormone into T3, which causes symptoms of hypothyroidism but you may have a normal TSH. Drugs like Synthroid or Levothyroxine will not help treat these symptoms well.
Hashimoto’s Disease is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system views the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and produces antibodies to attack the thyroid. About 80% of people who have hypothyroid symptoms actually have Hashimoto’s disease. It’s important to identify the cause of the thyroid problem so that it can be treated correctly.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism or sub-optimal thyroid function can include:
- Sluggish metabolism
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Feeling cold all the time
- Low blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Dry skin
Our lab testing tests for TSH, free T3, free T4, and sometimes a reverse T3. We also test for antibodies that would indicate Hashimoto’s diagnosis. By doing this comprehensive testing, we can provide an accurate diagnosis and treat your condition correctly in combination with your symptoms.
For the best absorption, it’s important to take your thyroid medication on an empty stomach and by itself. Wait at least one hour until you eat breakfast or take any other medications or supplements.
We prescribe only bioidentical thyroid medications such as Armour™ or Naturethroid™. We can also prescribe compounded T4/T3 medications.
Side effects can include anxiety, shakiness, headaches, and heart palpitations. These often go away once your body becomes used to the thyroid medication. However, if you experience these side effects, we ask that you immediately contact our office for further instructions.
DHEA is produced by cholesterol in the body and by the adrenal glands.
It is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen for men and women. DHEA levels will naturally decline with age, just as sex hormones do.
Low levels of DHEA can contribute to being more vulnerable to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. It also results in a loss of muscle strength and a reduction in lean body mass.
Having adequate amounts of DHEA can also decrease insulin resistance and thus aid in controlling body fat accumulation.
Studies also show that DHEA can have an anti-aging effect and play a role not only in clearer thinking but also in skin improvement.
DHEA, at sufficient levels, has neurosteroid properties and can help protect cells in the brain. It provides improved clarity of thinking and a sense of well-being.
DHEA is administered in a tablet form ranging from 5 to 50 mg and taken in the morning.
Side effects of too much DHEA can be similar to having too much testosterone. These include oily skin, acne, and feelings of irritability or aggression.
Vitamin D3 is considered a precursor hormone.
Taking a Vitamin D supplement is an easy and effective way to ensure that you have adequate levels of this very important vitamin in your system.
Vitamin D is essential to having a healthy immune system. It’s also crucial for strong bones and for its multiple protective qualities.
Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. How much vitamin D you make depends on your age, your skin tone, and how much skin you uncover.
Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin will make 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D in one sun exposure, on average. (Sunblock with an SPF of over 15 blocks 100% of vitamin D production in the skin.)
There are so many advantages to taking Vitamin D3. It helps to maintain calcium balance, boosts immunity, and has a role in preventing Type II diabetes, cancer prevention, autoimmune diseases, mood and hypertension.
We carry both liquid and capsule forms of Vitamin D3. Your daily recommended amount is determined by your lab levels and symptoms. Since a large body of science shows vitamin D works closely with calcium and magnesium, it is best to take your vitamin D in combination with calcium and magnesium to maintain a proper balance.
Research published since 1997 suggests that the upper limit for adults is overly conservative and that vitamin D toxicity is very unlikely in healthy people. People can take up to 10,000 units per day for six months and not have adverse effects.
However, people with Sarcoidosis, Tuberculosis, Lyme disease, Lymphoma, and Kidney Disease have to be supplemented carefully because of an increased risk of their blood calcium level becoming too high.
Melatonin is an important hormone crucial to getting quality sleep.
It is produced in the pineal gland and triggered by exposure to sunlight. It’s also produced in the gut.
Exposure to “blue light” devices at night, such as televisions, smartphones, or computers, can disrupt melatonin regulation and cause sleep problems.
Melatonin can be supplemented and is recommended to take at night before going to bed.
Most people need about 3 to 10 mg, but in some cases more is needed to reach efficacy. You can increase your dose each night until you achieve your desired sleep. Higher doses can be compounded.
Melatonin has shown to be beneficial to modulate the immune system as well.
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