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What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be that missing step in your journey to living your best life. You might have a hunch that your hormones are out of balance – realizing that your lack of healthy sleep, weight gain, frequent colds, low libido, or even your bad moods are a symptom. 

The benefits of proper HRT can be profound! To fully appreciate how they affect your total health, let’s talk about their function. Think of hormones as key messengers in your body. Like the role they play, the word “hormone” comes from the Greek word for “excite.” Although they’re among the many ways our body’s cells communicate with each other and maintain a balance, hormones have a special mission. 

Hormones stimulate or inhibit biochemical pathways, helping the body regulate functions and ensuring everything works in harmony. When they get out of balance, patients may have both minor and major symptoms. The results of this imbalance can be the reason you first contact our clinic. In addition to just feeling tired and “off,” you may notice that you’re losing strength and stamina in your workouts, experiencing changes in your skin texture, or dealing with more joint and muscle pain regularly. 

Although we know HRT is a powerful tool to slow the effects of aging and rejuvenate your body, Source of Health never looks at it as a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s one of the reasons we tag-team with our clients on their health goals over time. Instead of offering a turn-and-burn series of injections, we sit down with you to evaluate your total health needs and build a map to a better life. Hormone imbalance is just one of the issues that can be holding you back from an active lifestyle. We want to look deeper to see if there are root causes for this issue and address them directly.

Every patient is unique, and Dr. Sorr is committed to creating a customized treatment plan for each client. Before you have your first hormone replacement therapy appointment, you’ll sit down with him in a Discovery Session. If you’ve never felt “heard” by your previous healthcare professional, these first meetings will be quite illuminating. Based on your information, Dr. Sorr may determine that you have several pathways to maximizing health and performance, including changes to your diet and supplement program.

Why Hormone Replacement Therapy? 

So, what may cause you to seek out hormone therapy? When hormone production gets out of balance, patients have both minor and major symptoms. Maybe your anxiety levels have been creeping up for no reason, or you might notice that your immune system doesn’t seem as robust. You can’t concentrate during all those at-home Zoom meetings, and your motivation has left the building. These are all lesser symptoms of hormonal changes in your body. 

Some of the bigger issues that can prompt your first visit to Source of Health could be a loss of libido, pain from joints and muscle aches, decreased muscle strength and mass, or overwhelming hot flashes. Hormones are powerful! Aging and even life stressors can push them into imbalance, and the effects can be wide-ranging.

It’s critical to note there is a big distinction between being prescribed synthetic and bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical HRT means there are no synthetic “lookalikes” or metabolites. Synthetic hormones can cause more adverse reactions. A big example of going down this route is doctors who prescribe “Premarin,” which was (and still is…hard to believe) given for hot flashes in menopausal women. Premarin stands for pregnant mare’s urine. Horse’s urine! AKA CEE, conjugated equine estrogen, this metabolite of estrogen has been reported to cause cancers! Source of Health never suggests something that can potentially cause harm like that. The only recommended hormones we offer are the types your body makes.

Differences in Hormone Therapy for Men and Women

It seems obvious, but there are big differences in hormone replacement therapy for men and women – some you may not have thought about! Although men may not have the more obvious symptoms of declining hormone levels, the effects are still there. As the issues creep in, we can help rebalance your body – helping men reduce weight gain, increased fat and other body composition changes; regain libido, improve strength, mental clarity, and more. 

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a key player – and men have different requirements in how they receive it. For example, overweight men do terribly with topical testosterone doses since fat cells convert them into estrogen readily. So, testosterone replacement therapy in injections is the most common and preferred route, although there are nasal puffs, troche/lozenges, and creams. 

In addition to the inevitable drop in testosterone all males experience, there may also be declines in DHEA and Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Getting each of these hormones into the correct range is never a one-size-fits-all option. That’s why we offer HRT as a component of our holistic health approach. You’ll receive a customized therapy treatment plan only after we’ve evaluated your test results and other factors.

Hormone Replacement Therapy for women can be more nuanced. Menopause is one clear indicator of declines in estrogen and ongoing shifts in other hormones, such as progesterone and testosterone. However, there are many times in your life that these levels can be affected. Childbirth, pregnancy, and even lifestyle changes can all kick off some big variations in your hormone levels, and the way they work together is complex and individualized. Some women benefit from testosterone or progesterone therapy to restore balance, for example. 

Addressing only one hormone is a short-sighted approach that ignores the complexity of these changes and fluctuations. Likewise, only looking at the internal causes of these shifts loses sight of your overall health picture. Since your weight, diet, and even your activity levels can affect hormones, your health team must take every aspect into account. From your first Discovery Session at Source of Health, your hormonal imbalances receive treatment with an integrated approach. In addition to customized doses that are commonly administered as capsules and creams, women receive tailored recommendations for all aspects of their health. Our team will help you revitalize and restore your best self from the inside out!

Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Now, let’s look at the different hormone replacement therapies. The type of hormone and the person to receive them will determine the route of delivery and dosage frequency. Hormones can be divided into steroids (cholesterol-based) and peptide (amino acid/protein-based). There are so many factors to think about when deciding the best way to administer hormone treatment. First, we’ll look at the hormone in need of balancing and your overall health status. Finding a remedy is not just as easy as prescribing a hormone though. We measure levels to see if there is an excess or deficiency so that we can make sure to prepare the body for detoxification and elimination if there is an excess. There are so many problems with excess hormones, not just deficiencies. 

As we discussed above, there are differences between men and women in delivering the doses. Injections, nasal puffs, troche/lozenges, and creams can all be used. In peptide therapy, small insulin needles are given to the patient for self-administration on a daily/weekly basis. This is a very comfortable at-home delivery method that produces fantastic results.

One form of delivery that we choose to avoid is hormone pellet therapy. Although you may have seen this offered as a treatment elsewhere, Dr. Sorr does not offer this option for the following reasons: 

Over and under-dosing is common. Since the pellets are already placed into your subcutaneous tissue and release the hormones over time, they’re not adjustable. Rather than adjusting your dosage over time as you work with our team and monitor your changes, you’re locked in with pellet therapy. This form of therapy requires a minor surgical procedure to implant the pellets into the buttocks. This incision does have the chance of becoming infected and leaving a scar. Our clinic philosophy is always to avoid unnecessary and invasive surgical procedures to minimize any adverse risks associated with treatments.

Finally, the procedure’s price makes it an expensive option for patients – and the payback is minimal. You receive the least amount of control over your therapy and pay more for it since it involves surgery. At Source of Health, we want to ensure you receive the most optimal type of treatment possible, which is why we will recommend options more aligned with the best path to healing and achieving health.

What Can You Expect From HRT?

By now, you may be ready to begin the process of getting back into balance, but maybe wondering how long it will take and what benefits you might expect. Typically, the duration of time a patient can supplement hormones varies by the treatment plan and a patient’s condition, medical history, and goals, which is why we first want to get a picture of your overall state of health. For example, for men who receive testosterone to address age-related low testosterone, the time limit has no set definition. Similarly, “high cortisol” can have a tremendous ripple effect throughout the body’s systems. Stress hormones can impact all other hormones and impact the brain and gut as well! Working with a highly qualified physician who looks at all body systems’ interaction offers patients the benefit of ensuring proper aligned treatment with adjustments made as needed with regular monitoring.

Benefits from hormone therapy depend on the type of hormone being treated. Thyroid hormones, for example, can help patients lose weight, and other HRTs have a host of desirable effects. In addition to the well-known benefits such as increased sex drive, reduction of menopausal hot flashes, and fatigue, you may enjoy many others, such as:

  • More lean muscle mass as well as decreased body fat
  • Improved muscle strength and endurance
  • Decreased cardiovascular risk factors
  • Less joint pain and muscle aches
  • Improved bone density and a reduction in the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety and improved mood
  • Better memory and concentration
  • An improvement in skin texture and a decrease in wrinkles

There’s truly so much to gain from treating hormone imbalances with the entire system of the body in mind. So many patients come to Source of Health feeling helpless with their journey to optimal living. If you’re ready to get proactive and see what Hormone Replacement Therapy in Scottsdale can do to restore, rejuvenate, and regenerate your body, call us to schedule a Discovery Session! You are only moments away from starting on a journey to integrated health that can change your life and have you feeling and looking your best!

BECOME A PATIENT

During your initial discovery session, we’ll listen to your concerns and make sure we are a great fit to help you. We’ll review any recent imaging, labs or other pertinent information. But most importantly, we’ll listen.

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