Hormone Health and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Treatment

Progressive Medical Center Provides Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy at both of our locations in Georgia (Atlanta & Peachtree City) as well as four of our locations in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Frisco, and San Antonio).

What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and What Does it Treat?

For Women: Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is most commonly used to treat the symptoms of menopause. However, bioidentical hormones may also be used to manage issues during puberty, or issues relating to thyroid and weight management.

For Men: The most common use of hormone replacement therapy in men is the use of bioidentical hormones to treat low testosterone. Andropause (male menopause) is caused by low testosterone, as testosterone levels decrease about 2% each year in men.

If you suffer from any of the above issues (or any closely related issues), we have provided additional information for men and women below.

How are Bioidentical Hormones Made?

Bioidentical hormones are manufactured in a lab to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body. This allows us to take an individualized approach with each patient treated by our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors. We begin with laboratory tests of your hormone levels, what we call a hormone panel. When warranted, we prescribe a precise dosage of bioidentical estrogen, testosterone or DHEA that is created in a compounding pharmacy to meet the needs of the individual patient. Each patient is monitored carefully through regular follow-up hormone panels to ensure they achieve symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage. In the initial stages we will test a hormone panel every three months. Once balance is restored, we’ll do one panel a year at the time of your annual exam. Bioidentical hormones are thought to be safer than synthetic hormones and carry two practical advantages:

  1. They can be matched to the patients individual needs as opposed to the one dose fits all approach of synthetic hormone treatment
  2. They are more easily metabolized which is thought to minimize side effects

Bioidentical Hormones: What are They?

While bioidentical hormones are manufactured to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body synthetic hormones are intentionally different. Drug companies can’t patent a bioidentical structure so they invent synthetic hormones that are patentable (Premarin, Prempro and Provera being the most widely used examples). These are thought to be harder to metabolize, carry more serious side effects and dosages are not tailored specifically for the individual. Progressive Medical Center is always cautious when prescribing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Although results have been positive and they are thought to be safer than synthetic hormones they have not been well studied for long-term use. The great majority of women can rebalance their hormones without the use of drugs. We have found that close to 85% of patients can find relief through an approach that combines medical-grade nutritional supplements, gentle endocrine support and proper diet and nutrition. We recommend that every patient start with this combination approach before turning to hormone therapy.

Should Bioidentical Hormones be used Long-Term?

While many “clinics” promote the use of bioidentical hormones as a long-term solution to anti-aging and hormonal imbalances, we feel it is irresponsible to do so. We don’t recommend that any hormones be used long-term unless essential for symptom relief and only with a complete risk assessment. We also don’t support the idea that bioidentical hormone therapy should be used indefinitely for anti-aging purposes.

Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Right for You?

After reading this, you’re probably curious about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and want to know more. Instead of scouring the internet getting bits and pieces of incomplete information (half-truths), why not contact us today at 1-855-766-8228 and schedule a consultation with one of your premiere providers of hormone replacement and other integrative treatments.


Safe and Natural Bio-identical Hormone Supplementation for Men

Hormones are powerful chemicals and are constantly held in a precise balance by the body. Some men thrive with robust levels of hormones while other men feel at their best with moderate levels of hormones. But most men feel bad if they have very low hormone levels. Men with low testosterone may experience weight gain (abdominal), poor memory, depression, fatigue, weakness, low muscle mass, bone loss and lack of sex drive. It is important to find a knowledgeable practitioner of integrative and functional medicine to determine what is right for you and customize a hormone treatment specific for your body’s biochemistry. Hormones are transported throughout the body and are important in growth, development and overall wellbeing. There are a number of glands in the body which release hormones as needed for a variety of process occurring within the body. The most common functions of hormones are:

  • Growth
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Stress management
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism
  • Bone growth

Throughout life hormones change. Testosterone and estrogen levels begin to decline as men age. Evaluation of hormone levels can identify hormonal imbalances and inform your doctor how to prescribe the specific bio-identical hormone replacement formula needed to get you feeling better. A true understanding of male hormonal health will involve not only testosterone, but also estrogens and progesterone. Estrogen, while sometimes neglected for its role in male hormonal health, helps promote libido. On the other hand, if a man has excess estrogen it can increase his risk for prostate cancer. In addition to sex hormones, it is also important to evaluate adrenal function, thyroid function, and bowel function. These systems are all interconnected in the body and a knowledgeable physician must take these other factors into account to fully balance a man’s hormones. Hormones, like all therapies, should be done with the individual’s overall clinical picture in mind. What may seem to be simply a hormone imbalance could be caused by other imbalanced systems in the body.

What Symptoms are Associated with Hormonal Imbalance in Men?

Most men begin to experience hormonal imbalances as they age, primarily due to the gradual decline of testosterone as men enter their 30s. The decline in testosterone may cause a number of symptoms which are listed below. Low Male Hormones

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness and Atrophy
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low Libido

Excess Male Hormones

  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Acne
  • Prostatism (nocturia, dysuria)
  • Male Pattern Balding

Declining testosterone levels not only impact men physically but may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. Testosterone replacement has been found to improve a number of conditions associated with hormonal imbalances such as insulin resistance, bone loss, and poor muscle mass. Testosterone may be utilized as a predictor of diabetes and bio-identical hormone replacement with testosterone improves insulin resistance. Testosterone replacement is also known to increase muscle tissue and improve bone density in men with declining testosterone levels. A man with low testosterone may find dramatic improvement in his health after using bio-identical hormone supplementation. However estrogen levels in men are also important. With too little estrogen, a man can have poor libido. Excess estrogen or problems getting rid of hormones can pose a problem for a man with prostate cancer. Progesterone levels are also measured for comprehensive men’s health care.

How Does Progressive Treat Hormone Imbalance in Men?

The clinicians at Progressive Medical Center treat the whole person, not simply a low hormone lab result. We do this by listening to what symptoms you describe, and even if your lab results are normal, we will still assess the underlying cause if you are feeling unwell. Bio-identical hormones (testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, and progesterone) can improve energy, libido, memory, and muscle mass, in a man with low hormone levels. DHEA has been shown to improve the cardiovascular health of middle-aged men. If you are concerned about the safety of hormone supplementation, then an integrative medical doctor is your best option. Excessive hormone supplementation can cause unwanted side effects. For safe bio-identical hormone supplementation, integrative medical doctors use your test results and symptoms to determine the minimum dosage needed to resolve your symptoms. Integrative medical doctors often institute measures to enhance the safety and efficacy of this treatment. Each patient is monitored carefully through regular follow-up hormone panels to ensure they achieve symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage. In the initial stages, hormone testing will be done every three months to monitor treatment and hormone levels. Once hormonal balance is restored, hormone levels will be monitored yearly. Your doctor will assess and support your body’s ability to clear hormones, which is fundamental to safe and effective bioidentical hormone replacement.

What are Other Causes of Hormone Imbalance?

Hormones have powerful effects on the body’s tissues, cells, metabolism and growth. Sex hormones are just one chemical system in the body but they communicate with many other systems in the body including hormones from the adrenal glands and the thyroid. The gastrointestinal tract must be working well so that the body has everything it needs to make hormones and remove them from the body. Healthy hormone balance requires a tune-up of all of these systems.

Adrenal Health Many people are chronically stressed which can deplete the body’s levels of hormones. Adrenal testing allows the physicians at Progressive to look more closely at the impact of stress on your hormones. If you always feel stressed, have extra abdominal fat, are having trouble sleeping and waking up, and easily feel overwhelmed by things in life, then you are probably suffering from adrenal fatigue. Testing adrenal function allows our physicians to customize treatments to help raise your energy levels and endurance by supporting adrenal function. Your doctor will also evaluate your lifestyle and determine when it may be necessary to utilize stress management techniques.

Thyroid Health Thyroid balance is very important when adjusting sex hormone levels. The thyroid is often called the “master regulator” because it is vital for so many systems in the body and controls metabolism, which helps you to maintain the optimal weight for your body type. Thyroid testing allows us to evaluate if your body has adequate thyroid hormones to function properly. If your thyroid is not working correctly, it will interfere with balancing hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. By using your thyroid test results, we can determine the best course of nutritional and dietary treatment to support optimal thyroid function and metabolism. Read about the Biochemistry of Thyroid Function.

Gut Health Gastrointestinal health is critical for making hormones and getting rid of hormones. Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients gives your body all the building blocks it needs to manufacture hormones. Gut health is critical in eliminating hormonal waste products that no longer are needed by the body. A stool test may be run to evaluate your gut health. Your practitioner may also choose to do a food sensitivity test. Food sensitivities can create inflammation that may cause hormonal complaints such as fatigue, weight gain, or brain fog.

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Achieving Your Dynamic Feminine Balance with Bio-identical Hormones

Hormones are powerful chemicals and are constantly held in a dynamic balance by the body. Some women thrive with robust levels of hormones while other women feel at their best with moderate levels of hormones. But most women feel out of sorts if they have very low hormone levels. It is important to find a knowledgeable practitioner of integrative and functional medicine to determine what is right for you and customize a hormone treatment specific for your body’s biochemical make-up.

Hormones are transported throughout the body and are important in growth, development and overall wellbeing. There are a number of glands in the body which release hormones as needed for a variety of process occurring within the body. The most common functions of hormones are:

  • Growth
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Stress management
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism
  • Bone growth

Throughout life hormones change, estrogen levels begin to decline as women age; as will progesterone and DHEA which begin to decline in a woman’s mid-20s and 30s. It is for this reason that evaluation of hormone levels is particularly useful to identify hormonal imbalances, restore balance, and resolve the associated symptoms. A true understanding of female hormonal health will involve not only estrogen and progesterone; but also evaluating adrenal function, thyroid function, and bowel function. All are important for achieving optimal hormone health. Hormones, like all therapies, should be done with the individual’s overall health in mind. What may seem to be simply a hormone imbalance could be caused by other imbalanced systems in the body that must be resolved first.

What symptoms are associated with Hormonal Imbalance?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances that may vary depending on whether a woman is premenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal. Women troubled with infertility may have hormone imbalance. A fairly common phenomenon in premenopausal women is premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A variety of symptoms may be associated with PMS including physical discomforts such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • General unhappiness

At the start of menopause, estrogen levels decrease and women may experience symptoms such as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Incontinence
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes

Declining estrogen and progesterone levels not only impact women physically but may also increase the risk of bone loss. Both estrogen and progesterone may be utilized as part of bioidentical hormone replacement. When a woman has a hormone imbalance, treatment with topical hormones can resolve her symptoms sometimes instantaneously.

How do we treat Hormonal Imbalance?

The clinicians at Progressive Medical Center treat the whole person, not simply a low hormone lab result. We do this by listening to what symptoms you describe, and even if your lab results are normal, we will still look to re-balance your whole system. The symptoms that are commonly associated with imbalanced hormones can be corrected by utilizing bioidentical hormone replacement (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone). Bioidentical hormones are utilized to correct hormonal imbalances, most commonly in the treatment of symptoms of menopause. However, even women with other symptoms such as headache, infertility, weight gain, or sleep disturbance may benefit from bioidentical hormone treatment. If you are concerned about the safety of hormone supplementation but you have a hormone imbalance, then an integrative medical doctor is your best option. Excessive hormone supplementation can cause unwanted side effects. For safe bioidentical hormone supplementation, integrative medical doctors use your test results and symptoms to determine the minimum dosage needed to resolve your symptoms. Integrative medical doctors often institute measures to enhance the safety and efficacy of this treatment. Each patient is monitored carefully through regular follow-up hormone panels to ensure they achieve symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage. In the initial stages, hormone testing will be done every three months to monitor treatment and hormone levels. Once hormonal balance is restored, hormone levels will be monitored yearly. Your doctor will assess and support your body’s ability to clear hormones, which is fundamental to safe and effective bioidentical hormone replacement.

What are other associated problems?

Hormones have powerful effects on the body’s tissues, cells, metabolism and growth. Sex hormones are just one chemical system in the body but they communicate with many other systems in the body including hormones from the adrenal glands and the thyroid. The gastrointestinal tract must be working well so that the body has everything it needs to make hormones and remove them from the body. Healthy hormone balance requires a tune-up of all of these systems.

Adrenal Health

Many people are chronically stressed which can deplete the body’s levels of hormones. Adrenal testing allows the physicians at Progressive to look more closely at the impact of stress on your hormones. If you always feel stressed, have extra abdominal fat, are having trouble sleeping and waking up, and easily feel overwhelmed by things in life, then you are probably suffering from adrenal fatigue. Testing adrenal function allows our physicians to customize treatments to help raise your energy levels and endurance by supporting adrenal function. Your doctor will also evaluate your lifestyle and determine when it may be necessary to utilize stress management techniques.

Thyroid Health

Thyroid balance is very important when adjusting sex hormone levels. The thyroid is often called the “master regulator” because it is vital for so many systems in the body and controls metabolism, which helps you to maintain the optimal weight for your body type. Thyroid testing allows us to evaluate if your body has adequate thyroid hormones to function properly. If your thyroid is not working correctly, it will interfere with balancing hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. By using your thyroid test results, we can determine the best course of nutritional and dietary treatment to support optimal thyroid function and metabolism. (See these articles on Thyroid Health)

Gut Health

Gastrointestinal health is critical for hormonal balance and determines how we handle hormones. Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients gives your body all the building blocks it needs to manufacture hormones. Gut health is critical in eliminating hormonal waste products that no longer are needed by the body. A stool test may be run to evaluate your gut health. Your practitioner may also choose to do a food sensitivity test. Food sensitivities can create inflammation that may cause hormonal complaints such as hot flashes, fatigue or brain fog.

Why would I choose bio-identical hormones over a synthetic hormone?

Bioidentical hormones have a molecular structure similar to the hormones naturally produced by the human body. They are not made from synthetic or fake substances that the body cannot recognize. Bio-identical hormones are thought to be safer than synthetic hormones for two practical reasons: they can be customized to the individual needs of the patient as opposed to the “one dose fits all” approach of synthetic hormone treatment. Bioidentical hormones are thought to be recognized by the body and easier to metabolize, which is thought to minimize side effects.

What are the side effects?

The main potential side effect is taking excess hormones than what is appropriate for your body. This is avoided by analyzing your hormone levels consistently over time, listening to your symptoms, and finding the minimum hormone dose necessary to get you feeling better. Your doctor is knowledgeable of the side effects of excess hormone levels and will adjust your dose if you feel imbalanced as a result of hormone supplementation. Further, your doctor will give you supplements to enhance your body’s clearance of hormone waste products. Our bodies are ever-changing and when following a holistic treatment plan, patients sometimes dramatically decrease their reliance on hormone supplementation because symptoms disappear.

Is the treatment billable?

Many of the laboratory tests and treatments may be covered by health insurance and our billing department will be glad to help you determine which treatments and services are usually covered by insurance. Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts are often used as well to cover services provided by Progressive Medical Center.

What are the next steps?

The next step to finding solutions and correcting hormonal imbalance is to contact Progressive Medical Center to schedule an appointment today for a full work-up by one of our qualified practitioners to determine if bioidentical hormones are right for you! Let our staff of physicians help you on the road to recovery! For more information or to schedule an appointment in Atlanta, call 1-855-766-8228. To schedule an appointment in Austin, Dallas San Antonio or Frisco, please call 1-855-732-4545.

Want to Learn More?

Listen to our podcast: Natural Hormone Therapy, Bioidentical Hormones Are Not The Only Answer.

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