When do I stop taking bioidentical hormones??

This question comes up every now and then, and it is a great question. First of all, realize that taking bio-identical hormones has become a necessary thing because we live in a world full of toxins and chronic stress that disrupt our endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of the different glands that produce hormones as well as the multitude of hormones that are produced.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are simply chemical messengers that allow our different cells to communicate with each other. Hormones attach to the different cells through highly specific receptors and create a reaction in that cell that is specific for that hormone. Certain toxins can unfortunately mimic some of our hormones and disrupt our hormonal balance. These toxins come in the food we eat, the water we drink, the products we put on our skin, the household cleaning agents we use, etc. It is almost impossible to escape being exposed to them.

When you realize that stress also affects our hormone imbalance and you combine that with the numerous toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is easy to see why we require bio-identical hormones in order to balance out the equation. Minimizing toxin exposure, dealing adequately with stress, and taking properly prescribed bioidentical hormones is the best way we know of at this time to live a vital life as long as possible.

The answer to the question stated above is “why would you want to stop taking them and deteriorate slowly over time. Do you stop exercising when you achieve good physical health.??”. Taking bioidentical hormones (Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Thyroid) is an important piece of the Optimal Health puzzle in this crazy, toxic world that we live in.

Declining Hormones

Imagine moving around and being able to do the things that you love to do. Perhaps you are already feeling vital and strong, but perhaps you are like the majority of people out there who yearn for a body that serves them better. Are you feeling tired, achy, moody, flabby or just feel that you have passed your peak?? Men and women both can feel this way and it is not the way that you have to age. Having a slow decline in your health is not your destiny—you can live with vitality and when it is your time to go, leave this earth quickly and not after a slow deterioration over 30, or more years.

With modern sanitation, medicine, and an abundance of food we are living longer lives. Unfortunately with longer lives we are seeing a marked increase in the number of chronic illnesses and the number of years that an individual is alive but is in a deteriorating state. We can not avoid dying but we can shorten the dying process and increase the number of years that we live feeling younger. If you are all about the quality of life then continue reading.

Declining hormones, along with poor lifestyle choices, are largely responsible for the slow deterioration that we are seeing all around us. The good news is that we have the capability to prevent this slow deterioration, and even reverse some of it . This gives us the ability to live long AND vital lives, not just long lives.

Happy Couple

Decreased levels of Testosterone, Thyroid, Estrogen (women only), Progesterone, and Growth Hormone are often experienced for years before a person seeks medical attention. The decline can be subtle, especially for men, and is often misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety, the normal aging process, or simply that nothing is wrong with the person. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of doctors are not specially trained in detecting hormone imbalances as they are taught to look at normal values and they are not allowed the proper time to get to know you and your unique needs. Let’s face it–you do not want to be average, you want to be above average, right?? The “normal” values do not represent optimal.

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Testosterone pellets

Men and women are both in need of Testosterone, just in varying amounts. Testosterone is critical for ensuring that you have vitality, are able to heal, can sleep soundly, have mental focus and it helps to stabilize your mood. It is not just about libido, or sex drive.

Hormone Pellets

Bioidentical Testosterone pellets are an effective way to get a daily dose of Testosterone. (In women we can also add bioidentical Estrogen pellets if needed). The pellets are easily inserted into the fatty tissue in the upper outer part of your buttocks as a simple outpatient procedure. The pellets secrete a low dose of Testosterone into your blood stream on a regular basis and secretes more when your heart rate and blood flow goes up. It is the most physiologic way to receive bioidentical Testosterone replacement.

It may take a few weeks after your first pellet insertion to visibly notice a difference. Testosterone performs a multitude of bodily functions, many of these are undetectable to you. Men typically require repeat pellets at about 4 to 5 months, with a maximum of 6 months and occasionally needing them at 3 months. Women typically require repeat pellets at 3 to 4 months, with a maximum of 6 months.

In return for a few simple procedures a year you can think more clearly, have less pain, feel happier, and overall live with more vitality. Bioidentical hormone pellets are one option for you to consider when optimizing your hormones.

Testosterone is not just for men!

I see many different types of women for hormonal issues and occasionally they have actually started bio-identical hormones but still did not feel optimal. It is extremely rare for them to have been put on Testosterone, and if they were it is usually a suboptimal dosing. This shows that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Testosterone –both with patients and with prescribing doctors.

Testosterone in woman

Testosterone is a hormone that is present in both men and women. Obviously men have a higher amount in their blood than women, but it is still an important hormone for women to have. Many people think that it is only a hormone for sex drive and nothing could be further from the truth!! Testosterone is responsible for helping you heal, enhancing your mood, improving your focus and memory, helping your sleep, and giving you overall vitality. It has a few hundred functions in the body and without optimal Testosterone levels you will simply not feel like yourself.

Replacing your Testosterone with a bio-identical replacement hormone is a big part of regaining your vitality. Eating a healthy low sugar whole food diet, minimizing your toxin exposures, reducing your stress, and taking bio-identical hormones all work together to ensure that you live longer feeling young and vital. If you are feeling tired, depressed, have aches and pains, can’t sleep well, have brain fog, or feel less than vital; you will want to get your Testosterone and other hormones checked by a hormone specialist.

Men-O-Pause

Hi Dr. Blanscet,

Thank you for the great information on the hormonal changes that women go through as we age. I was wondering if guys go through something similar. I always tease my husband that he is going through “Man-o-pause.” Is there such a thing?
-Heather V.


Indeed there is! Andropause is the medical term for the decline in hormones that occurs as men age. Testosterone is the main hormone that declines in men, although I also look at other hormones. Testosterone has many roles in the body. Not only is it key for drive and stamina, it is essential for many other functions in the body. Testosterone plays a role in bone density, muscle mass, and red blood cell levels, among other things.

Couple Holding each Other

Men make up a large percentage of the patients who seek out hormone therapy. They are often referred by their wives or have heard about hormone treatment from some of their guy friends. The symptoms men may experience include: decreased energy, more aches and pains, changes in mood, trouble concentrating, issues with erections and/or libido, increased body fat, poor muscle tone, slower recovery after workouts, sleep issues, and they may generally feel like they’ve passed their peak. You may hear him complain that he’s “getting old.” A man with low testosterone may not necessarily experience any change to his sex drive, but other symptoms will be evident.

Men’s hormones drop more gradually than ours do so it can often be overlooked. Generally testosterone will decline slowly starting in the thirties. Our toxic environment seems to be accelerating this decline. Remember that testing in a “normal” range for testosterone is not the same as testing at an “optimal” level, so doctors without special training in hormones may not recognize a problem. The trouble is that “normal” is based on a population that is overweight, fatigued, and stressed; basically a population that is not feeling optimal. Often everyone gets caught up in the facade of staying within the arbitrary “normal values” that the whole person is forgotten. Before you assume that the man in your life is doomed to suffer because his lab work is “normal”, trust your gut feelings that something is not right and have his hormones evaluated by a physician who is trained to get him to optimal lab values and functioning.

The great news it that when done correctly it is perfectly safe for men to have Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Men on optimal HRT report feeling at their prime again. Improvements in motivation, mood, memory, energy, sleep, libido, and even their physical appearance have many men loving life again! There are several ways to restore hormone balance in men including bioidentical pellets, creams, or injections. Each man is different and needs a personalized HRT program that addresses his unique needs.

Do not rely on your insurance to pay for optimal wellness–if you want to feel balanced it is in your hands. For the men and women out there: if you are experiencing the decline in your health and the drop in vitality that comes with a decrease in hormones, act now and stop suffering. Schedule a consultation with a hormone specialist!

Staying Balanced

Many people seek my guidance on how to help them balance their hormones. This is a complex subject that has many parts. Balancing your hormones properly is like putting a puzzle together–it takes some time, patience, and requires multiple pieces.

Organic Foods

Taking bio-identical hormones such as Estrogen, Testosterone, and Progesterone is definitely an important piece of that puzzle that will help you to feel better and live a more vital life. In addition, it is also important to minimize the hormone disruptors that you are exposed to on a regular basis.
Stress is something that can disrupt your hormones, thus it is critical to learn how to properly manage stress. Yoga, meditation, epsom salt baths, deep breathing exercises, regular exercise, etc can all help you with this. Avoid watching news and turn off your electronic “toys” and TV on a regular basis. Practice just being in the moment.

Chemicals are all around us and many are a cause of disrupting your hormones. Do not put anything on your skin that you woul d not safely be able to eat—what you put on skin absorbs into your body in about 30 seconds. Also, be mindful of your cleaning products as they can be a source of harmful chemicals.
It is a good rule of thumb to eat a diet of organic non GMO foods— focusing on whole foods and not processed foods. A hormonally balanced diet is one that is full of organic vegetables, some organic fruits, and a wide variety of organic protein sources. Avoid meat from animals given hormones and other artificial substances. You don’t have to eat perfectly, simply be aware and realize that every little thing does add up so choose wisely whenever possible.

Balancing your hormones means being able to live a full, active, and vital life. Taking bio-identical hormones is an important piece of this. Your daily choices are also important. Be aware and make positive healthy choices whenever you can. Do your best and focus on progree, not perfection.

Low Sex Drive

A low sex drive is a common complaint. This is heard from both women and men, but men are more likely to be concerned about it and women sadly tend to accept it more easily. A healthy sex life is important for both men and women–a couple needs intimacy to truly thrive in their relationship.

Happy Couple

There are many reasons for a low sex drive. Stress definitely lowers anyone’s sex drive so it is important that you take time to relax and spend quiet time alone as a couple. If you are having communication problems or other issues with your partner these need to be addressed. Seek the help of a counselor or communication expert if needed. Make your relationship a priority.

Hormonal imbalances in both men and women can drastically affect a sex drive (your desire for sexual relations with your partner). In addition, a hormonal imbalance can affect function– in men it can affect your erection abilities and for women it can affect your vaginal lubrication. Both men and women require optimal Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone for healthy sexual functioning and desire–obviously the levels of each of these hormones differ in men and women but both sexes need all of these hormones to be optimal.

If you are a man or woman in your late 30′s to 50′s who has noticed a decline in sex drive and/or sexual functioning it is smart to get your hormones properly evaluated by a bio-identical hormone specialist. Regular doctors simply look at normal values and normal values will mistakenly show that you are fine when you are not. Optimal hormone levels are where you function at your best and this is what a hormone specialist is trained to help you achieve.

Andropause: Male Menopause

Men go through a hormonal change but unfortunately it is largely ignored or treated incorrectly. Men’s Testosterone starts to decline around age 30. It is a slow, gradual decline over the next few decades. Stress and chemical hormone disrupters expedite this decline.

Hormone Pellets and Their Benifits

As a man’s Testosterone decreases he may have fatigue, loss of muscle mass, poor recover from workouts, emotional changes, sleep disturbances, a decrease in morning erections, a lowered sex drive, and other diverse symptoms. Long term potential risks of low Testosterone are osteoporosis, dementia, and an increased risk of heart disease. Replacing your Testosterone can potentially mitigate these long term problems and can definitely help to bring back your vitality and performance.

When replacing Testosterone you want to use bio-identical (biologically identical) Testosterone. The best form is directly absorbable into your blood stream and gives you hormones when you need them, just as your testes would do if the functioned properly. Bio-identical pellets are the only way to this. This is given to you through an easy office procedure ever 3-6 months. As a result of this treatment you can expect to have an improved energy level, increased sense of well being, increased cognition, and overall function.

Dear Dr. Blanscet,

I’m a 45-year old woman and for the last year I have not really been feeling all that great. I don’t feel sick or anything, I just don’t feel right. I have gained about 15 pounds in 12 months. I often have trouble sleeping now, which was never a problem before. I’m tired a lot lately and get headaches more than what I think is normal. I’m not really interested in intimacy with my husband and we seem to be arguing a lot. I just feel like things are off. When I told my primary doctor this, he did some tests and said everything is fine. Is this just a normal part of aging?

-Sarah H.


Sarah,

picture of Dr Laurie Blanscet
After going through some of those symptoms myself, I decided to get further education on bioidentical hormones and healthy aging. Helping men and women achieve optimal health is something I’m very passionate about.

When a primary doctor looks at your blood tests, they are often only checking to see whether your results are “normal.” The problem is, in our society “normal” is based on people who are overweight, fatigued and in general not feeling that great. You don’t necessarily want to be normal; you want optimal health.

Trust your intuition. If you are feeling like your body is “off,” then it probably is. If you’re doctor isn’t trained in bio identical hormones, you should really find someone who is. Bio identical hormones are usually plant based and are made to be biologically equivalent to the natural hormones your body produces. It just makes sense that a product with the exact chemical structure as your body makes will be safer and more effective.

Problems that are associated with hormonal changes in women include a decrease in energy, lack of sleep, night sweats, low libido, weight gain, migraines, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, a general feeling of malaise, and more. Men also experience many of these symptoms and feel like they have passed their peak even though they are only in their 40′s or 50′s.

Experts in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy strive to achieve optimal results by working with each individual’s unique biochemistry. Every person is different and will receive a plan customized to their needs. It takes time to properly evaluate your symptoms, interpret your lab work, and be educated on treatments. There are several ways to restore hormone balance in men and women: creams, oral capsules, implanted pellets, etc.

It is unfortunate, but current medical insurances do not cover the expense of a proper hormone consultation and treatment. This may change in the future, but you if you are experiencing hormonal imbalance, it’s best not to wait.

Aging Well

Aging is inevitable but aging well is not. The good news is that you have more control over that than your genetics does. It is also never too late to do something about how you age. Living full of vitality until the end of your life is much more preferable than lingering for 10-20 years—getting sick and frail. There are some fairly simple things that you can do in order to enhance the quality of your life.

Happy Couple

Everyone knows that they need to exercise in order to lose weight but you may not think about it as helping you to age more gracefully. When you get regular exercise it helps your heart and lungs while also helping your musculoskeletal system. When you strengthen your bones and muscles this helps to prevent falls and fractures plus it enhances your overall mobility. You are able to get up and move around much easier. Regular exercise also helps your brain to stay younger and your cardiovascular system to stay in shape. Many people give up on exercise if they don’t lose weight fast enough. Refocus your goal of exercise as a way to live a vital life not just as a means to lose weight. Get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week–that is easy for the majority of people.

A healthy diet is another thing people thing about as a means to lose weight. A healthy diet gives your body the nutrients that it needs in order to build healthy bones and muscles, to keep your heart functioning well, to improve your mental clarity, and to give you energy; among other things. A healthy diet is one that focuses on protein and vegetables. Fruit is ok but limit your intake to one or two per day. Live by the 90/10 rule: 90% of what you eat should be for your health and it is ok to have 10% of what you eat be a little more “fun”. Whole foods that are organic are the best source of nutrition in your 90%.

Getting adequate sleep is critical to feeling energetic and rejuvenating your body. You should get enough sleep that you wake up refreshed. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool. Turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before your bedtime. If you have trouble falling asleep melatonin, yoga stretches, and Epsom salt baths are wonderful natural things you can do to help you sleep better. Better sleep means better aging.

Organic Foods

There are people who say that your hormones should decline as you age but there is also a school of thought that believes you age because your hormones decline. Both men and women can benefit from bio-identical hormone balancing to help them live optimally and age more gracefully. Balancing your hormones (this includes Progesterone, Estrogen, Testosterone, and Thyroid) helps you to feel stronger and more vital, think clearer, and prevents overall deterioration of your health. Bio-identical hlormone balancing is not just for women with hot flashes–it is for men and women who want to age well.

Take control of your aging process and control the things that you can. There are other things that you can do but the four things I mentioned above are often overlooked and yet fairly easy to do. The little things you do each day do add up. If you want to live a full and vital life it starts with a decision to make some changes towards that goal.