Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
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We often think of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a treatment for hormone deficiencies in women after menopause, but men experience age-related declines in hormones, too. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for men, or BHRT, offers many benefits to men who no longer produce the same levels of hormones as they did when they were younger.
Hormone therapy isn’t without the risk of side effects. Many proponents argue that giving men synthetic hormones to supplement a natural decline isn’t worth the risk. Although hormone therapy isn’t right for every man, some imbalances are more significant than others. It all depends on the results of a blood test that measures the levels of hormones your body is producing.
The test also accounts for the individual’s age. You aren’t expected to have the same hormone levels at the age of 60 that you had at 20 years of age. If you have a hormone deficiency or an imbalance, then hormone replacement therapy might help improve your quality of life.
You should discuss your options for replacement hormone therapy and the risks versus the benefits with your doctor. Your doctor will perform a blood test to determine the hormone levels your body is producing. If the imbalance is minor, you might want to consider other options.
If you are a good candidate for hormone therapy, your doctor will explain the different options available. The hormones might be given orally, topically with creams, gels, or patches, by injection, or by using subcutaneous (under the skin) pellets.
When Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Recommended for Men?
The types of hormones that men produce lower levels of as they age include testosterone and estradiol. At the same time, they have increased the production of cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone,” can cause an increased risk of certain health conditions. It also blocks the effects of testosterone, adding to the symptoms of a hormone imbalance. The imbalance can cause multiple symptoms, including:
Severe Mood Swings
Decreased Bone Bass
Increase in Body Fat
Testosterone deficiency, in particular, contributes to a broad range of health issues, including insulin resistance, hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.
The Difference in Bioidentical and Synthetic Hormones
Traditionally, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used synthetic testosterone to treat men with low testosterone levels. Synthetic testosterone is made in a lab from plant sources, such as soybeans and yams. Although these are natural substances, they are put through chemical processes to produce the desired product.
The bioidentical testosterone used in BHRT is also produced in a lab. The difference is that bioidentical testosterone matches natural testosterone on the molecular level. It has no chemical variations from the testosterone produced by the body. Even one variation would result in the product being classified as “synthetic.”
Bioidentical hormones don’t show up any differently on laboratory tests than those produced by your body. They are as close to natural hormones as you can get. Taking a testosterone level test after hormone therapy with bioidentical hormone therapy will show a higher level of natural testosterone with no indication of the ones obtained through the therapy.
Drug companies that make synthetic testosterone alter the molecular structure to increase its functionality. These modifications help the body use it more successfully. Many people prefer bioidentical hormones because the body metabolizes them the way it was intended. People also like the claims that bioidentical hormones are safer.
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy For Men WorksThe End Goal Is To Make You Feel Better, No Matter What The Age
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy For Men Works
Testosterone isn’t the only bioidentical hormone used in hormone therapy. The three major sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, are the most common hormones used in hormone therapy for men and women. Although a man’s body no longer needs to contribute to reproduction, these hormones contribute to other functions that keep his body strong and healthy.
Although we typically think of testosterone as the male sex hormone and estrogen as the female sex hormone, estrogen plays a critical role in male sexual function. One form of estrogen, estradiol, modulates libido, erectile function, and contributes to the development of sperm. Sometimes doctors take a custom approach to determining the right types of hormones to use in any individual.
How Safe Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men?
Many people mistakenly believe that all bioidentical hormones are custom mixed. Although some doctors might order custom hormone compounds from a compounding pharmacy for some patients, these orders are usually limited to special situations. Compounding usually requires the pharmacist to combine or alter the ingredients of the medication to meet the patient’s needs. The problem is that there has been little research performed to determine whether compounded hormones are safe. Little is known about any potential long-term side effects, and the variations in the compounded mixtures make accurate dosing more difficult. For these reasons, many individual bioidentical hormones are FDA-approved, but compounded formulas are not.
The Role of Hormone Replacement Therapy in Integrative Medicine
Integrative Medicine is a board-recognized medical specialty that focuses treatment on the whole person, including all aspects of their lifestyle. Integrative physicians, like those at Peak Health Group, focus on optimizing function rather than striving to treat a disease.
We rely on specialized testing to evaluate health on the cellular and molecular level. Hormones play a major role in the ways we evaluate an individual’s condition to determine their overall health and well-being. As with any treatment, we use bioidentical hormone replacement for men to restore balance, optimize function, and prevent disease from occurring.
Getting the right diagnosis is the first step to getting the best hormone therapy for your needs. A simple blood test will determine if you have a hormone imbalance that’s interfering with your health and happiness.
Why Choose Peak Health Group
Peak Health Group has expanded our outreach to include broad-spectrum integrative health and wellness services. Over time, we’ve built a solid reputation for providing San Diego residents and those outside our immediate reach with advanced medical management. We continue to use our skills and knowledge to provide the integrative services needed for a healthy life at any age.
If you have questions about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for men or want to schedule a consultation, contact us. We’re here to provide you with the information you need to make the best decisions about your care going forward. Learn more about the drug-free and surgery-free solutions available to enhance your life and health.