What is Menopause?
Menopause is the time of life when monthly periods end and production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone decline.
Menopausal symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. The most effective way to treat symptoms is to replace the estrogen in the body.
Progesterone protects against uterine cancer. A large study of women 50 to 79 years old, called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), looked at the effect of taking Hormone Therapy (HT) - the ingestion of synthetic hormones - on various aspects of health. In 2002, the study found that post-menopausal women taking estrogen plus progesterone HT had a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. As a result, many women stopped taking these hormones and began looking for other treatments, such as Bio-identical Hormone Therapy.
What is Andropause?
By the time men reach between the ages of 40 to 55, they can experience an aging process similar to that of female menopause called andropause. Unlike women, men do not have a clear sign that this stage in their life is happening. Both men and women experience a drop in hormone levels: estrogen in the female and testosterone in the male. The bodily changes occur very gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in temper and mood, energy levels, sex drive and physical agility.
What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Bio-identical Hormones are identical to the hormones that women and men make in their bodies. (Other types of hormone therapy, like the one used in the WHI study, differ slightly from the hormones made in the body). Bio-identical hormones are sometimes called "natural" hormones, even though they are made in a laboratory, because they come from plant sources before being altered to be like human hormones. Not all hormones made from natural sources are bio-identical.
In the field of integrative and anti-aging medicine, physicians prefer bio-identical hormones whenever hormones are being prescribed. Practitioners want to provide their patients with the best method to deliver each hormone, carefully considering safety, effectiveness and potential side effects. In general, transdermal delivery (a cream applied to the skin) is preferred, as this method will bypass the liver and avoid potential conversion into unwanted metabolites. In some circumstances, oral forms are preferred.
The type, combination and dosage of bio-identical hormones are customized to fit each individual patient. The majority of bio-identical hormone prescriptions will be prepared at our on-site compounding pharmacy. This pharmacy adheres to strict regulations and certifications to ensure accuracy and quality when preparing the hormones as prescribed by the physician. Physical exams, PAP and breast exams in women, as well as prostate exams in men, are an extremely important aspect of hormonal therapy, and all patients are encouraged to have these done annually while on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
Benefits of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Polo Health + Longevity Centre
711 Columbia Street
New Westminster, BC V3M 1B1