Sometime around middle-age, many people start to feel less like themselves. They may struggle with persistent cognitive, physical, sexual, and emotional issues. The variety of symptoms that tend to occur during this stage of life can often be traced back to hormone production.
Numerous studies have shown the adverse effects that can stem from hormonal imbalance. Likewise, and fortunately, numerous studies indicate that bioidentical hormone therapy can safely and effectively bring frustrating symptoms under control.
At Imago Medical Spa in Salt Lake City, UT, we are proud to assist our clients with their wellness goals. We do so by customizing bioidentical hormone therapy to their unique needs.
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones represent a type of hormone therapy that allows for greater customization and safety. Historically, hormone therapy has involved prescription synthetic hormones, which are made in a laboratory, often using derivatives of animal products. Bioidentical hormones are derived from naturally-occurring plant substances that have been clinically proven to mimic the hormones produced by the human body. The structural similarities allow these hormones to function identically to the hormones the body makes. It also allows them to be metabolized in the same way.
The hormone therapy developed at Imago may involve the use of pellets that are inserted into adipose tissue, where the body can absorb and utilize hormones as needed. Bioidentical pellets are about the size of a grain of rice and are made to replace testosterone and estradiol. Some patients require further optimization, such as the use of progesterone. In these cases, a custom dose of progesterone is made by a compounding pharmacy.
All of these things can leave you feeling less than spectacular. In a one-on-one consultation with you, it will be determined whether testosterone levels in your body could be causing these negative effects.
How Do You Know If Your Hormone Levels Are Unbalanced?
Hormone imbalance is often associated with a small group of symptoms, such as a decrease in sex drive for women and, for men, erectile dysfunction. There are several more signs that bioidentical hormone therapy may be indicated. These include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increase in abdominal fat
- Difficulty losing weight
- Memory problems
- Mood irregularities
- Anxiety and depression
Will I Need Blood Tests?
Yes. Comprehensive lab testing is a cornerstone of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. It serves as the guide for the most effective dosing. We perform lab work after our initial consultation and monthly until hormone levels are optimized. Once levels are regulated, lab work is performed every 6 months. *Lab tests may vary with each patient.
What Are The Benefits Of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone therapy most often includes the insertion of tiny pellets of estradiol or testosterone into adipose tissue in the upper, outer buttocks. This method is advantageous because it is comfortable and convenient. Pellet insertion occurs every 3 to 4 months for women, and every 4 to 6 months for men. The insertion process is painless with a quick injection of a local anesthetic. There is no downtime after the treatment, though patients may need to avoid certain activities until the tiny nick in the skin closes completely. Until that time, a dressing is worn over the skin.
In addition to convenience, bioidentical hormone therapy offers significant benefits in the area of wellness. The optimization of hormone levels can reduce symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. Better hormone regulation may support weight loss and muscle growth, and is known to improve sex drive.
Are There Side Effects?
Because bioidentical hormones mimic the structure of naturally-produced hormones, there is less of a risk of side effects. Our team carefully develops each treatment plan to include the ideal dosage of hormones for each patient. In doing this, the risk of side effects is reduced even further. Some of the side effects that may occur include:
- Redness at the insertion site
- Blurry vision
- Mood swings
- Cramping or spotting in women
- Breast tenderness
Side effects are usually mild and they resolve within days. If side effects are pronounced or do not resolve after a few weeks, contact our office.
When Will I Feel The Effects Of Treatment?
Bioidentical hormone therapy can begin working right away. Once the pellets are in place, the body can begin using the hormones immediately. Some people start to notice positive changes in energy, mood, or other areas within 2 to 3 weeks. It can take approximately 8 weeks for the full effect of treatment to occur.
Will Insurance Cover The Cost Of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
At this time, bioidentical hormone therapy is not regulated by the FDA. As such, treatment is considered elective, so most insurance companies do not cover the costs. This includes lab fees.
Our hormones are chemical messengers that contribute to numerous physiological functions. Optimization of hormone levels can improve health and well-being in ways that make life more enjoyable.