Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
Many of us can recall a time when we experienced a fluctuation in hormones, but likely not since puberty. However, as we get older or as a result of certain medical conditions, one’s hormone levels can change. Men and women alike can experience hormone imbalances at any age and the symptoms can disrupt daily life or overall wellbeing. These include but are not limited to decreased libido, moodiness and weight gain. A common form of treatment is what’s known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. BHRT is a safe and effective method for restoring balance in the body. Our New Jersey office offers bioidentical hormone replacement for both men and women.
What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Bioidentical hormone replacement refers to a non-surgical procedure that treats irregular hormone levels. It achieves this by using plant-sourced chemical compounds that mimic (or are identical to) the structure of hormones that are naturally produced by the body. These include estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, for example. This is different than hormone replacement therapy, which uses synthetic hormones that are man-made and do not share the same structure as the ones found in the body. The type and amount of hormones a patient requires will be up to the physician, as each prescription is custom to the individual and their needs. There are oral and topical forms of BHRT including creams, gels and tablets or subcutaneous methods that employ the use of pellets or injectables.
How Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Work?
To begin the bioidentical hormone replacement process, patients will be asked to discuss their current symptoms, personal and family medical history, diet and/or lifestyle with their doctor. Then, the physician will perform diagnostic hormone testing. These tests include evaluating a patient’s blood, saliva and urine. The results will determine which specific hormones the patient is deficient in and the best method of treatment. If the pellet approach is appropriate, this therapy includes placing small, rice-sized pellets underneath the skin through a minor incision using a local anesthetic. Implantation sites typically include the hip or buttocks. Once inserted, the pellets will deliver a continuous dose of hormones for the body to gradually absorb. This is a procedure that takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to perform.
What is the Recovery for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
There is little to no downtime associated with this procedure. Some patients may experience a relief in symptoms as quickly as 24 to 48 hours after pellet implantation. Although, most notice a positive effect after two to four weeks. It is normal for there to be redness, swelling, bruising or discomfort around the incision site. This should begin to lessen after 3 or 4 days. A bandage will be placed over the incision after treatment and the site should be kept dry for the first 24 hours. After that, patients are encouraged to change the bandage daily and avoid strenuous activities for one week. Pellet therapy can be repeated a minimum of two times per year and up to five.
Who is a Good Candidate for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Men and women experiencing a disruption of daily life from symptoms caused by hormone deficiency are good candidates for bioidentical hormone replacement. This imbalance could be a result of aging, stress, diet, injury or a medical condition. There are, however, certain risk factors that may hinder a patient’s candidacy. Women who have a personal or family history of estrogen-dependent cancers or blood clots should not undergo BHRT. Men who have been or are currently being treated for prostate cancer should also not receive bioidentical hormone replacement.
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