What is Hormone Optimization?
Hormones are the regulators of the body – they tell your cells how to process nutrients (fuel) and what to do with them. They are like “air traffic controllers”, and if they are not balanced and working properly then your various systems cannot handle the demands placed on them by an active life. The result is a slowing down… a loss of energy and interest. And it is often accompanied by increased fat and decreased activity.
But that’s just “getting old”, isn’t it?
It needn’t be!
These hormones in particular: thyroid, testosterone, estrogen (and progesterone for women) are intimately involved in your general metabolism and energy levels. (We think of estrogen for women and testosterone for men, but in fact both sexes are dependent on both of these hormones – just in different amounts.) The production of these hormones declines as we age, and lead to many of the unpleasant effects that are usually ascribed to aging: loss of energy, increased weight, loss of libido, weakness, and mental fogginess.
If you go see your doctor about any of these symptoms, he or she might check your hormone levels (it is a simple blood test). You will probably be told, “everything is normal.” Guess what, “normal” levels for a thirty-year-old are very different from “normal” levels for a fifty-year-old! Do you want the “normal” physiology of old age, or the “normal” physiology of when you were younger?
By boosting and balancing your hormone levels, it is possible to “turn back the clock” for many of the effects of aging. It won’t reverse every aspect of aging, and it won’t cure any underlying illness that might be causing your symptoms (which is one reason why a physician-guided program is important; don’t rely on “infomercials” or internet stories to make decisions about your health!). The health-enhancing effects of restoring your hormones to the levels you had when you were younger make a significant difference in how you feel! It also augments all the other steps that you are taking towards better health – such as weight loss and more activity.
But don’t hormones cause cancer? No! While synthetic hormones (such as Premarin, which is derived from horse urine) have been linked to certain cancers, natural hormones have never been shown to cause cancer. In fact, they decrease the risks of many age-related illnesses, cancers included. The important point is to use only bio-identical hormones – the ones that are exactly the same molecules as the ones produced naturally by your own body. (Why haven’t the drug companies made these available to patients? Simple: they can’t be patented, so they aren’t profit makers. Don’t fall for advertising from giant pharmaceutical companies.)
The evaluation of your symptoms is like any other doctor visit: she will take your health history and order appropriate tests. If hormone optimization is right for you, she will outline a personalized plan of hormone and supplement therapy for you, and explain how each part works to boost your health. The evaluations are covered under your health insurance. Although insurance does not currently cover the implant procedure, it is affordable for everyone (equivalent to just a few dollars per day). Finding a scientifically-based regimen that is tailored to you might eliminate the costly guess-work of off-the-shelf remedies you may be using now. If you take multiple medications for several problems (or even medications to treat the side effects of other medications!) then you might be surprised to discover how getting to the root of the underlying problem (inadequate hormone levels) can reduce the need for some prescription drugs.
We are happy to answer your questions about the benefits and limitations of hormone optimization! Please call (573) 582-0444 to schedule a visit.