Menopause occurs when the body’s natural production of estrogen declines as a result of aging. Often referred to as a sex hormone, estrogen does play an integral part in menstruation and reproduction, but it’s also important for many other functions. Strictly speaking, menopause refers to the time when periods have completely stopped, while perimenopause (or premenopause) refers to the years leading up to menopause when symptoms begin.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that also plays a role in other important functions. The body relies on a steady level of testosterone for optimal wellness, but aging causes production of the hormone to decrease, resulting in an array of symptoms. Low testosterone (or low T) is a common problem among men, with symptoms beginning usually in the 40s and becoming more prevalent with age.
Both low estrogen and low testosterone can cause symptoms like sexual dysfunction, lethargy, and fatigue, weight gain, problems sleeping, problems focusing or concentrating, and thinning hair. Women may also experience vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats and painful intercourse.
Treatment for hormonal imbalances begins with a thorough physical exam and lab workup including blood tests, including hormone panels, thyroid tests, and adrenal function tests to identify underlying causes of hormonal issues. Some mild to moderate symptoms can be resolved with lifestyle and dietary support, including the use of nutritional supplements, IV therapy, and acupuncture. More severe symptoms can benefit from hormone replacement therapy that uses synthetic hormones to replace the hormones no longer being produced by the body. Ongoing evaluations and testing help ensure therapy remains adjusted for each patient’s specific needs.
Bioidentical hormones are lab-created hormones developed to mirror the chemical structure of hormones produced naturally by the body. These hormones are processed by the body and eliminated from the body in the same way as natural hormones, significantly decreasing the risk of developing side effects. Bioidentical hormone therapy is customized to match the needs of each patient for optimal effects.