Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) for Women

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) or natural hormone replacement therapy is the process of replacing the hormones in the body that occur naturally with a hormone that is
identical on a molecular level to endogenous hormones. Basically, this is identical to what your body makes naturally. The bio-identical hormones come from plant sources; this can be yams,
cactus, soy, or other plants.

Who is a Candidate for Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Women of any age and health background could be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy.  Factors that contribute to hormonal imbalance include use of birth control pills, IUD’s, processed foods, stress levels, and more. 

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The Benefits of Advanced Hormone Testing

When certain hormones are under or over-produced, the resulting hormonal imbalance can present with physical, mental, and reproductive health issues. Advanced hormone testing plays an important role in diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing certain symptoms, a hormonal imbalance may be responsible. Many times patients do not realize that certain symptoms they are experiencing are due to a hormonal imbalance.  This is why testing is so important.  Our providers will analyze your blood test results and symptoms to come up with a plan tailored to your individual hormone needs. 

Which Hormones Do You Focus on When Testing?

We focus on a variety of hormones and basic body systems such as liver, kidneys, blood counts, and more.  Below are a list of the hormones we frequently test.

Cortisol and Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA-S)

Both cortisol and DHEA are produced in the thyroid gland, though a small portion of DHEA is also produced in the ovaries. These are considered to be “stress hormones.”

Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol (Estrogens)

Estrogen is a category of sex hormone largely responsible for regulating the female reproductive system. Estrodiol, estrone, and estriol are three types of estrogen. Each estrogen is responsible for different functions in the body.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

This hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and vital to reproductive health. Low or high levels of FSH may cause infertility.

Luteinizing hormone (LH)

The Luteinizing hormone spurs ovulation and is vital to female reproductive health.  Luteinizing hormone is a hormone produced by gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland.

Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4)

The two main hormones produced by the thyroid.

Thyroid antibody testing (TPO)

This is helpful to diagnose conditions such as Hashimoto’s, a popular thyroid condition.

Testosterone (Total & Free)

Testosterone is a sex hormone to regulate reproductive health and secondary sex characteristics. Women and Men need testosterone in the body because it is vital to many functions. Many of our hormone panels measure total testosterone, which shows the total measure of testosterone in your blood. Free testosterone is the measurement of the amount the body has as usable testosterone.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

TSH is a snapshot of your thyroid function

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)

A protein made by the liver. SHBG binds certain hormones, like estrogens and androgens, together.

Progesterone

Progesterone is the most important progestogen in the body. It is an endogenous steroid and progestogen sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and embryogenesis of humans and other species.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

DHT is the sex hormone that stimulates the development of male characteristics.

*Additional lab tests completed as recommended by the provider on an individual basis.

Weight, Metabolism, and BHRT

Hormones play such a fundamental role in overall health and hormonal imbalances can manifest in a variety of ways. If the hormonal imbalance is impacting your weight and metabolism, common symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Unexpected and sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle exhaustion
  • Joint pain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Cold chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Hair loss
  • Low sex drive
  • Painful sex
  • Increased body fat
  • Acne
  • Facial hair

Often, hormonal imbalances that affect your metabolism may be related to an issue with the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small endocrine gland that regulates the production of certain hormones, including thyroxine or tetraiodothyronine (known as T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

The thyroid is a controller of the metabolism and having a thyroid imbalance can cause weight gain or weight loss.  Patients with untreated thyroid disorders can also have mental health complications because the thyroid helps to regulate the body on many levels.

Take Control of HORMONAL IMBALANCE

Find out if Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is right for you.
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Stress & Hormones

If you are experiencing stress, there may be hormone imbalances related to your adrenal glands. Two adrenal hormones are cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), known as the stress hormones. A cortisol and DHEA imbalance may lead to fatigue, depression and/or irritability. Hormone testing is valuable for determining possible adrenal issues, which may include Addison’s disease, a form of adrenal insufficiency where the adrenal gland does not produce enough of certain hormones.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

  • Low sex drive
  • Hair loss
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Increased body fat
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lips thinning
  • Drooping breasts
  • Decreased lipids
  • Facial wrinkles
  • Drooping skin
  • Decreased muscle tone
  • Brain fog
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Facial hair
  • Increased belly fat
  • Cheeks sagging
  • Receding gums
  • Insomnia
  • Low concentration
  • Nervousness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Depression
  • Increased hunger
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Heavy periods
  • Swollen lower belly
  • Dry skin
  • Reduced collagen production
  • Loss of ambition or drive
  • Decreased sexual satisfaction
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm

Frequently asked HRT questions

What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) or natural hormone replacement therapy is the process of replacing the hormones in the body that occur naturally with a hormone that is
identical on a molecular level to endogenous hormones. Basically, this is identical to what your body makes naturally. The bio-identical hormones come from plant sources; this can be yams,
cactus, soy, or other plants.

How are hormone imbalances treated?

We have several options for hormone replacement treatment.  Our treatment options for women include injections, creams applied topically, creams applied vaginally, pills, and dissolvable troches. Our provider will go over multiple treatment options to tailor one for you and your lifestyle.

What is the process of starting bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
  1. First, we will send you a lab form to have blood work completed prior to your visit.
  2. When we get the lab results back, we will schedule an appointment for you to meet with the provider to review everything.
  3. Meet with the provider to go over and review all labs. Currently, visits can be done through telemedicine.
  4. If medications are prescribed as part of a plan, the pharmacy will ship medications to your home or office.

We will schedule a follow up visit and labs to be completed in 4-6 weeks to see how everything is working in the body.  At this time, adjustments will be made if needed.  We check in with patients regularly to see how the program is working. 

Is BHRT safe?

The safety of BHRT depends on individual factors such as health history, age, and type/duration of use. While BHRT can provide multiple benefits, there are also risks associated with its use. Risks may include an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, heart disease, and dementia. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor before starting BHRT treatment and to use BHRT only under medical supervision.

What are the benefits of BHRT?

BHRT can relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. It can also prevent or reduce osteoporosis, improve sleep, mood, and quality of life, and improve sexual function. BHRT is also shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and fractures.

Who is a good candidate for BHRT?

Women of any age and health background could be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy.  Factors that contribute to hormonal imbalance include use of birth control pills, IUD’s, processed foods, stress levels, and more. 

How long does it take for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to work?

The effects of BHRT can vary depending on individual factors such as the form of BHRT used and the person’s symptoms. However, typically, BHRT may take several weeks for the hormonal levels to stabilize, resulting in the easing of symptoms. The duration of BHRT treatment may vary depending on the severity of symptoms, the form of BHRT, and a person’s overall health, among other factors.

Why are hormone pellets inferior treatment for hormone replacement therapy?

At Padgett Medical Center, we do not recommend or use pellets in our treatment plan for several reasons. 

  • Hormone pellets are placed in the body and blood capillaries form around them differently every time which changes the amount of hormones that are absorbed in the body.
  • There is no option of removing pellets once they are placed, due to possible migration. Therefore, if you are having side effects from the pellet such as hair loss, facial hair, deepened voice, or clitoral enlargement; you have to wait for the pellet to absorb in the body.  This is very stressful for anyone experiencing side effects to have to “wait it out.”
  • There is no option to change the dose after the pellet is placed. You have to wait 3-6 months until the pellet is absorbed to change dosing.
  • Example: You can have sally with a testosterone level of 13 and give her testosterone pellets in January. Her labs may come back with a testosterone level of 75.  Then 6 months later in June we repeat the same pellet dose and her labs go to a testosterone of over 200.  Then 6 months later we repeat the same pellet dose and her testosterone is a 45. You can see the inconsistency.  It is impossible to control. 

Two Convenient Locations

BHRT Tampa

BHRT
Ocala

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