Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Not Just for Men!

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: today I turn 36!  That number seems surreal to me. Am I really only four years away from 40? I don't mind, it just seems like yesterday that I was graduating college at twenty-two.

Anyway, in celebration of my reaching the mid-thirties I want to talk about hormones! Okay, only one hormone in particular: testosterone. It isn't just for men ya know.   You may be wondering why I chose this topic for my birthday post. Well, I'll tell you. I have really been struggling lately with chronic fatigue, brain fog, unexplained depression etc.  Sick and tired of the roller coaster ride, yesterday I had my first appointment with a hormone replenishment clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone replenishment.  The initial screening suggests I may be severely low in testosterone (a blood test will give more accurate and reliable results. Just FYI, I am having all my levels tested, from hormones to adrenals to Vitamin D etc) . I told Hubs I was just too much woman for my own good. He didn't think it was funny. So. Testosterone. What is it and what does it do?

Testosterone is a hormone most prevalent in men, but it is necessary in women as well. Women produce testosterone in the ovaries and adrenals, though in lower dosages than men, the levels of which are regulated by the pituitary gland. A deficiency in testosterone can lead to a low libido, fatigue, decreased endurance and/or strength, moodiness, depression, lack of joy in life, sagging skin, dry skin and loss of skin elasticity. Testosterone levels are highest in the teens and early adulthood. Levels begin to drop 1 percent/year after thirty.

I mentioned I visited a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone replenishment. Bioidentical hormones are just that: identical in molecular structure as a woman's naturally produced hormones.  They are "created" in a lab using yams and soy. Synthetic hormones, which have been charged with increasing the risk of cancer later in life, such as Premarin, are made using pregnant horse urine. Hmmm. Yams or horse urine. The choice seems obvious. Other synthetic hormones such as Cenestin is made from plants, but lacks the bioidentical features. They do not share the same molecular structure as what a woman's body naturally produces. The drugs mentioned above are for estrogen replacement, not testosterone, but what applies to estrogen bioidenticals applies to testosterone. Testosterone replenishment usually comes in the form of a gel or cream.

If you need more reassurance that bioidentical hormones do not cause cancer, take a look at this site.

Testosterone therapy can not only reverse the above symptoms but can also aid in weight loss, increase mental clarity and decrease risk of heart disease and diabetes.

But will I become hairy and bulky if I take testosterone?  That's another beauty of bioidentical testosterone. When you see a specialist in bioidentical therapies, they run a test to determine YOUR exact level of deficiency. The prescribed therapy is then tailored specifically to YOUR needs, and you will be prescribed a customized testosterone for women.

So, there you have it. I'll let you know how things work out for me. Have you ever tried hormone replenishment?

I gleaned my information from the following sources: Harvard Health Publications
                                                                                HRT Medical Centers of America
                                                                               as well as the sources linked throughout the post

Obviously I am not a medical professional and all information contained here is for general informational purposes. Do your own research and consult your own physician for treatment appropriate for you.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Belated birthday! I remember Dr. Phil's wife talking about bioidentical hormones and many have found it so beneficial in improving quality of life. Thanks for sharing.