hormone replacement therapy
As we age, our bodies experience shifts in hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Women go through menopause, and men experience andropause. In the past, doctors used a cookie-cutter approach when treating patients experiencing unpleasant mid-life symptoms. Today, we know that each patient’s needs will be different, and we can tailor treatment accordingly for the best balance.
Most people think of hormones as the chemicals in our bodies that play a role in making us male and female. But hormone play a much larger role in our health than just gender. Hormones are messengers, controlling a range of functions, from hunger to reproduction to emotions. They can even determine whether we feel hot or cold, and can protect us against disease.
Beyond estrogen and testosterone, the hormones our bodies produce include cortisol, adrenalin, melatonin, even vitamin D (considered a hormone because the body produces most of the vitamin D it needs). These hormones are released by the endocrine system to perform their intended functions. But if one hormone is out of balance with the others, health problems can result. Hormonal imbalances can be the result of disease, stress, toxins, genetics factors, and age. The most commonly known condition affecting hormones for women is menopause the cessation of the monthly menstrual cycle that women experience as they age. But men also experience a dip in certain hormones as they get older.
“Hormone replacement should not be considered without a complete understanding of how all the body’s hormones interact with each other,” says Dr. Pam Smith, Director of Fellowship in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine for the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. “The hormonal response of an individual is as unique as their fingerprints.”