What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
West Los Angeles Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for both Men and Women
It has been said that as we age our hormones decline. It might be more correct to say that as our hormones decline we age. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers for our life force. They are located in different glands throughout the body. Each of these glands releases different hormones (messengers) into our blood stream that invigorate our body in all the ways that we are used to feeling when we are healthy.
Your Thyroid gland is responsible for your metabolism. Common symptoms of low thyroid function include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, drying skin, thinning hair, depression, feeling cold and a foggy feeling in your brain.
The Adrenal glands provide you with your survival instincts. They sends messages that let your body know when you are too stressed or in danger. The various hormones that it secretes are responsible for a wide variety of life protecting functions. Low adrenal function can make you feel exhausted, wired, sweaty, pale, cold and anxious, sleep poorly and wake up without feeling refreshed. One notices a definite lack of energy reserves.
The Sex glands (ovaries in women and testes in men) stimulate your sex drive and fertility. They are also responsible for maintaining your overall vitality and zest for life. All of the symptoms of menopause such as sleep disturbance, mood swings, depression, night sweats, anxiety, weight gain, headaches, bloating, fatigue, water retention and decreased sex drive are all due to falling levels of estrogen and progesterone and to a lesser degree testosterone. For men, declining testosterone occurs gradually and is responsible for weight gain, loss of drive, loss of focus, decreased muscle mass and bone density, diminished sex drive, increase in heart problems, depression, worsening cognition, pervasive fatigue, increased achiness, prostate problems and even increased mortality.
The above list describes a few of the ways in which the major glands support a healthy body and mind. The synchrony of all of the hormones begins to change in our thirties and over time, we gradually begin to feel old. Learning how properly to re-balance one’s endocrine system as these inevitable changes occur is the thrust behind today’s bio-identical hormone replacement therapies.
What exactly are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are exact chemical replicas of hormones naturally occurring in the human body. These chemicals are extracts from yam or soy plants altered in the laboratory to be identical to the molecules of hormones naturally produced by women and men. The body recognizes bioidentical hormones made from plants exactly as it would the hormones produced from the testes or ovaries. The absorption pathway makes a difference in the effectiveness and side effect profile, depending if taken orally by pill or topically, as a cream or patch. Absorption is generally better when taken topically.
Are they FDA approved?
No. Pharmaceutical companies must first create chemicals to be different from those naturally occurring in the body to patent them. The FDA approves drugs known as Premarin, Provera, Prempro and others because they have been patented and studied. They are not however, identical to the hormones naturally found in the body. The studies that recently created significant fear about hormone replacement therapy mainly used these non-identical drugs instead of actual bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones have been studied and safely used in Europe since the 1980’s.
How do bioidentical hormones differ from synthetic hormones?
They differ in their structure, the affect they have on the body and the way the body metabolizes them. Bioidentical hormones also provide people with the option to have their hormone replacement individually tailored to fit their unique biological requirement. Part of the beauty of bioidentical hormone replacement is it gives the physician a chance to work with a compounding pharmacist to tailor your prescription very precisely. Synthetic hormone like drugs are mass-produced, come in limited dosage formulations and have stronger side effects than those that are bioidentical.
West Los Angeles Bioidentical Hormones Specialist, Dr. Kafka, has been practicing Integrative Medicine for 25 years. He has devoted much of his research time to studying a wide variety of natural approaches to healing and combining them with his conventional background. He is an old-fashioned doctor who enjoys getting to know each patient and understand their problems within the larger context of their life. Initial visits usually take one to one and a half hours. Follow up visits are usually one half to three quarters of an hour.