Changes in hormone levels are an inevitable side effect of the natural aging process. As you age, your body stops producing sufficient levels of critical hormones. This affects women and men alike and can cause you to feel like you are not quite yourself. Fortunately, incredible advancements in the medical field have identified the trigger of such hormonal imbalances and there is now effective treatment. At the office of Dr. James DeStephens in Gainesville, FL, we are excited to offer bioidentical hormone therapy.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a non-invasive way to help our clients bring balance to their hormone levels once more. If you’re worried about what this treatment entails, you’re in good company, but we can assure you that treatment is not painful and you will not risk dangerous side effects. Here’s what you need to know about this non-surgical treatment.
How Long Does Hormone Therapy Take?
Hormone therapy, otherwise known as BHRT, takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The vast majority of the appointment time will be discussing your current health and waiting for the treatment site to numb completely.
How Long Does This Treatment Take to Work?
You can expect to start seeing the benefits of this treatment within 24 to 72 hours of receiving your treatment. However, some people don’t see the benefits of hormone replacement therapy until one or two weeks following their treatment.
Your lifestyle choices, the dosage administered, and your body’s unique response to the treatment will determine how quickly the results become apparent. Be advised, you will receive better results if you incorporate healthy habits and nutritious meals into your lifestyle.
How Long Do the Results of This Treatment Last?
If you receive bioidentical hormone pellets, you can expect your results to last for approximately four months. After this time, you may start to notice the symptoms of hormonal imbalance once more.
To maintain your ideal hormone levels, you may need three treatment sessions annually. We will identify the ideal therapy session frequency during your initial consultation. If your needs change in the future, we will create a new schedule for you to maintain your quality of life.
What Is BHRT?
BHRT is a non-surgical treatment that balances your hormone levels by supplementing key hormones that are not being produced at an adequate rate by your body. There are many ways your hormone levels can be supplemented, including creams, injections, patches, nasal sprays, and pills. However, most people opt for hormone pellet implantation. This involves inserting a pellet into the skin, typically around the buttocks or hip region.
Before determining which BHRT technique is right for you, it is essential to come in for an initial consultation. Dr. James DeStephens will conduct a hormone level test to identify which hormones are insufficient. He will also discuss your lifestyle and personal preferences to determine whether hormone pellets are the best treatment for your unique goals.
Are Imbalanced Hormones Problematic?
Yes, imbalanced hormones are problematic. There are several damaging consequences of not keeping your hormone levels balanced. These negative side effects affect everything from your physical wellbeing and aesthetic to your emotions and cognitive abilities.
Numerous internal processes are damaged by imbalanced hormone levels. These changes can make you feel like you are no longer yourself. Among the effects you may feel if your hormone levels are imbalanced are:
- Reduced libido
- Poor sleep
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Moodiness and mood swings
- Memory loss and difficulty forming new memories
- Difficulty concentrating
- Chronic fatigue
It is also very likely you will experience physical changes as your hormone levels grow more imbalanced. The physical changes you experience are pleas for help from your body for hormone level balance restoration. Some people are more disturbed by the physical changes they experience as they age than the changes in internal processes, like heat regulation and libido.
Some of the physical changes you may notice while your hormone levels are imbalanced include:
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
- Inability to achieve or maintain a full erection
- Bone density loss
- Excessive sweating
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and hair loss
- Dry skin
When your hormone levels are balanced, your body’s processes are regulated. Hormones send communication to all of your body’s systems, including those responsible for maintaining body processes like digestion and temperature regulation. Hormones are also essential for mood regulation and memory. Essentially, when your hormone levels are imbalanced, there are faulty, flawed messengers in your body. This is what leads to physical, mental, and emotional changes and what makes imbalanced hormone levels problematic. Hormonal imbalances affect your quality of life significantly.
Gender and Hormone Therapy
Irrespective of sex, each human body creates identical hormones. However, men and women require different levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to function optimally. While both genders share negative side effects associated with hormone level shifts, hormone therapy is tailored to the individual. Remember, bioidentical hormone therapy is designed to supplement deficient hormones.
This is not the same as cross-sex hormone replacement therapy, a hormone therapy designed to change secondary sex characteristics through the introduction of higher levels of opposite-sex hormones. BHRT does nothing more than restores balance to the hormone levels of your sex. Here’s a closer look at the differences between hormone therapy for men and women.
BHRT for Women
Women who need hormone replacement therapy most often need estrogen. We can implant an estrogen pellet in our office to deliver the critical sex hormone into your system. Alternatively, you may benefit from a cream, patch, nasal spray, or pill. The primary benefits associated with estrogen replacement therapy include:
- Increased libido
- Improved bone density
- Stronger, healthier, more beautiful hair
- Improved skin moisture retention
- Improved sleep
- Better memory
- Reversal of chronic fatigue
- Better mood regulation
- Fewer hot flashes
- Less bloating
- Improved weight management
Women clearly notice the effects of hormonal imbalances triggered by perimenopause and menopause. Among the most common symptoms are regular hot flashes, night sweats, and mood disorders. Women need to seek treatment for hormonal imbalances because low estrogen levels increase the risk of osteoporosis, unwanted, hard-to-manage weight gain, and dry skin.
BHRT for Men
Men most commonly need testosterone supplementation when their hormone levels are imbalanced. We can implant testosterone pellets into your hip to deliver this hormone to your body. However, we also offer other testosterone delivery systems.
There are many physical benefits and improvements in bodily processes that will come from testosterone supplementation in men suffering from low testosterone. Normally, men seek hormone replacement therapy to reverse the symptoms of andropause. Among the benefits men can expect from testosterone replacement therapy are:
- Less sweating
- Less bloating
- Drastically reduced fatigue
- Improved memory and sleep
- Improved mood, including depression treatment
- Improved weight management
- Less hair loss
- Increased libido
In some cases, the changes that come about due to andropause are less obvious than the changes caused by menopause. Furthermore, men are less likely to talk about physical, mental, and emotional changes. However, these changes are a natural result of the aging process and can and should be treated. The most common symptom of andropause is sexual dysfunction, including a drastically lowered libido and the inability to achieve or maintain a full erection. Moreover, andropause causes poor sleep quality, regular mood swings, and hair loss.
What to Expect During the BHRT Process
Irrespective of gender, BHRT works the same way for women and men. Here’s a brief overview of the treatment process:
Your initial evaluation is the most important part of the hormone therapy process. During this evaluation, Dr. DeStephens will meet with you to learn about your symptoms and treatment goals. At this time, he will also answer all of your questions to help you determine the best treatment method for you. Additionally, your serum hormone levels will be tested to identify the insufficient hormones and the extent of your hormone deficiency.
It is advisable to keep a journal of which symptoms you experience when these symptoms arise, and how severe they are. Your symptoms can help us determine which treatment method is most appropriate for you. For example, women may benefit from creams if they are experiencing sexual symptoms, like vaginal dryness and low libido. However, your lifestyle choices and personal preferences will also play a major deciding role.
Men and women alike can expect the same pellet implantation process. Before each implantation session, we will talk to you about your symptom improvements. Depending on the efficacy of the treatment, we may adjust the hormone dosage you receive.
Cleansing and Numbing the Skin
The first step in the pellet implantation process involves cleansing and numbing the skin. Depending on your personal preference, we will cleanse your buttock or hip region. Once the treatment area is disinfected, a local anesthetic will be administered to keep you comfortable. Once the treatment area is numbed completely, the second step in the treatment process will begin.
The pellets used for pellet hormone replacement therapy are approximately the size of a rice grain. Over the course of several months, your body absorbs and dissolves the pellets and they are picked up by your bloodstream. A new pellet must be inserted under your skin once your body disintegrates the previous pellet. Both estrogen and testosterone pellets are inserted via a needle into the preferred location. This will only take a few moments to complete.
Besides the administration of a local anesthetic, pellet hormone replacement therapy is just like getting other kinds of shots. There are very few post-treatment restrictions. However, you should bathe with lukewarm water instead of steaming hot water during the first two days following your treatment. It is also advisable to refrain from participating in vigorous exercise for 48 hours following your treatment.
Good Candidates for This Treatment
Usually, people who seek this treatment are 41 years of age or older. However, if you are not yet 41 and experiencing signs of menopause and andropause, you will still qualify for this treatment if your symptoms are caused by imbalanced hormone levels.
Book Your Appointment Now
To find out whether your hormone levels are imbalanced, you need to come in for a serum hormone level analysis. To learn more about the incredible benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy, contact us today at the office of Dr. James DeStephens in Gainesville, FL to schedule an initial consultation. We can’t wait to meet you and help you on your journey to restoring balance to your hormone levels and regaining your quality of life.