Men and women age differently, but when it comes to the effects of aging, they are very similar. Effects like memory loss, mood changes and lack of focus seem to have become widely accepted consequences of growing old.
The majority of women, by the age of 50 have lost in between 30 to 35 percent of their estradiol, which is the most powerful form of estrogen, and probably have lost a lot more progesterone. The ratio of estrogen and progesterone in the body should be at least 200 to 1 in favor of the progesterone, according to Scott Nelson, D.O. of Newport Crest Medical Center. When an imbalance of this sort takes place, the dark side-effects of estrogen manifest. The most common side-effects are PMS, fluid retention, cramps, bloating, emotional instability, sleep problems and more. Bioidentical therapy will take care of these imbalances by resetting the right ratio in each woman’s case.
Around the same age, men experience similar symptomatology, lack of focus, poor memory, sleeping problems as well as, mood changes, lower libido and rectal dysfunctions. In men, the main two hormones responsible for these changes are testosterone and the human growth hormone (HGH). The right levels of these two hormones guarantee that a 20-year-old man would feel like a 20-year-old man. The normal range for testosterone goes from 1200 to 300. When an individual before his 30’s is used to levels around 800, and in his 40’s drops to 350, he feels like dirt compared to how he used to feel. In this case, the right hormone level management through bioidentical therapy will place the individual between 75 to 80 percent of their range for their age.
What is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy?
The term “bio-identical” means having the same molecular structure as a substance produced within the body. Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are chemically identical to those our body produces.
“The need for them arises from the fact that our hormonal levels decrease over a period of time, just as naturally as part of our life cycling and aging,” says Nelson.
He describes hormones as computer programmers or as the foreman in a work site, who provides structure and order helping everything to come together. In the same way, a cell needs to receive the proper instructions to function efficiently, and thus makes us feel good. For example, men’s testosterone levels range from 300 to 1200 at age 21, but from the age of 30 onwards, testosterone levels start decreasing at a yearly rate of 1.5%. Most men do not feel any changes until their 40’s and some of them not even until their 50’s. The main symptoms are lack of focus, drive or memory slips. This symptomology is the result of an unbalanced hormonal level, and therefore, maintaining the correct level is a key for good body performance and feeling.
In contrast, synthetic hormones are the result of today’s economic system. In this country, we cannot patent anything that exists in nature, and if we decide to do so, production cost is more than $600 million.
“At that point, you have a patent that yields pretty good economic results,” says Nelson.
In order to avoid the economic burden of copying nature, we produce synthetic hormones. They are the exact replica of a molecule in nature but with a slight change. This minor change produces what we call side effects. These do not affect everybody in the same way, and, in many cases, can be dangerous.
Synthetic hormones were tested in 2002 as part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). The study analyzed six million women and was based on estrogen plus progestin. This trial was stopped in July 2002 after investigators found that the associated health risks of the combination hormone therapy outweighed the benefits. Participants were followed for an average of 5.6 years. Substantial evidence emerged of an adverse effect on breast cancer risk in the context of an assessment that overall harms exceeded benefits for the combined hormone therapy group. By that time, approximately 40 percent of the participants had stopped taking study medication. Women who took estrogen plus progestin were at higher risk for heart disease, blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer, but at lower risk for fracture and colon cancer. (Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer 2012 by R. Chlebowski)
On the other hand, a similar study was carried out in France at the Service d’Endocrinologie et Medecine de la Reproduction, Hôpital Necker in Paris. After the 10-year study (Climacteric 2002; 5: 322-340) by B. de Lignieres et. al., it was found that natural progesterone does not increase breast cancer risk. Numerous other studies have documented safety also in terms of other cancers, such as heart disease and cerebrovascular disease with bioidentical estrogens, progesterone and testosterone, when properly used.
Bio-identical hormone therapy can be administered in different ways. Nelson recommends that women apply the prescribed cream on the inner part of the jaw, face cheeks and forehead area, alternating right and left side every day. These areas have a much higher absorption rate than other parts on the body where the skin is thicker. The absorption takes approximately five minutes. In the case of men, there are also creams available, but due to the erratic responses obtained, Nelson recommends injections. The cost of the treatment for women is in between $70 to $100 for a monthly supply and in the case of men, the cost of injections range from $80 to $145. The injections go for 20 weeks, and are self-administered. A male’s cream price is around $100 per month. The creams are produced by pharmaceutical laboratories and are pretty standardized around the country. Both the cream and testosterone for injections can be purchased at pharmacies.
Nelson’s initial consultation is around $300, after which he will order a blood test. He collaborates with Direct Laboratory Services, LLC, DirectLabs.com which offers huge discounts for the battery of tests. For example, the “10 most important tests people over 40 should take each year” has a retail price of $1,874 and is offered at the discounted price of $309.
“Bio-identical hormone therapy is something that people know is available and that they can get their hormonal levels tested…but, really, they are coming to feel better and return to the way they used to feel before,” says Nelson.
Please call for an appointment today: 949.722.7723 / 806.433.5582; Address: 3900 Campus, Newport Beach 92660; Web site: NewportBeachBioidenticalHormones.com