Adults can see their hormone levels fluctuate in middle age. For women, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone production slows significantly, spurring many of the symptoms that are associated with perimenopause and menopause. For both women and men, testosterone levels slow gradually (about 1-3% per year), which can have a profound effect on mood, strength, and sex drive.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as Menopausal Hormone Treatment (MHT), has become a popular treatment for patients who want to replenish their diminished hormone levels. Dr. Lynne Ahn, a respected anti-aging regenerative medicine physician and integrative gastroenterologist, shares what makes BHRT an important consideration in optimizing health.
The Primary Difference Is How the Hormones Are Made
Although the name “hormone replacement therapy” may suggest that actual human hormones are used to replenish a person’s supply of hormones, that is not possible. Instead, scientists derive hormones from other sources to imitate the effects of human hormones.
What sets BHRT apart from HRT is their composition. HRT has traditionally used synthetic, chemical, and animal hormones to replicate human hormones. BHRT is derived from plant molecules like soy. It is crafted to be chemically identical to human hormones, so that the body responds to them in the same manner.
Why Dr. Ahn’s Patients Choose BHRT Treatment
- Limited side effects: Because BHRT more closely resembles natural hormones, patients report fewer adverse side effects than patients on HRT.
- Personalized care: BHRT is adjusted for each patient to maximize the benefits. Before treatment begins, Dr. Ahn administers a blood test to determine the patient’s existing hormone levels and whether they have hormone deficiencies. She then customizes BHRT levels to address any imbalances discovered.
- Natural ingredients: Some patients find using animal-derived hormones unethical, while others simply have more peace of mind knowing their hormones are generated from plant molecules.
- Improvements to quality of life: Patients on BHRT say that they feel happier and more energetic. It has also been found to limit hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings in women, and fight muscle loss, fatigue, and lowered libido in both men and women.
Options for BHRT
BHRT is available in multiple forms. Dr. Ahn can discuss your options to find one that matches your preferences.
- Patches: Patches placed over the skin can gradually release hormones into the bloodstream.
- Creams/gels: The patient regularly rubs gel on their skin so that hormones can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Oral medicine: BHRT is also available in pill or capsule form.
- Pellet therapy: Tiny hormone pellets (around the size of a grain of rice) are inserted beneath the skin to slowly release hormones into the body. Dr. Ahn does not perform this procedure at this time.
Many factors will be part of a woman’s decision to use a particular hormone product — her age, her risks, her preferences, available treatment options, and the cost of the product. Dr. Ahn, at Ahn Point Wellness, can help guide that decision for you.
Dr. Ahn offers BHRT or MHT to her patients in Wellesley with age-related hormone imbalance. She is pleased with the results and can tailor the choice of hormonal therapy to your needs. If you suspect hormonal imbalance may be affecting your physical and mental wellbeing, make an appointment at the Ahn Wellness Center to test your hormone levels. Depending on the results and your symptoms, Dr. Ahn can start you on a BHRT plan to help you feel more like your former self again. Call (781) 237-1600 today.