Why would anyone want to 'replace' their hormones? Your body and brain deveolped and evolved based on having certain hormones onboard and in balance. That's why a man looks, thinks, and acts very differently from a woman! When a 20 year-old woman would have a stressful day, typically she'd 'dump' about 30% more estrogen into her system to deal with that stress. By the age of 54 there's no hormones to deal with a 'normal' day, and one with stress? That said, some men and women have not ever had 'balance' in their hormones and have suffered for years!
Some women have heavy, painful periods. These abnormal periods will often be due to an imbalance of estrogen over progsterone. If allowed to continue, some women may develop endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Endometriosis and uterine fibroids have 'traditionally' been treated with radical hysterectomy (just cut 'it' out patients have been told). Had these women been given the opportunity to use a balance of natural progesterone hormone, they'd likely have no endometriosis or endometriosis pain; they'd likely have no uterine fibroids develop, and their painful periods would likely become mild and the cramping would be gone! Gall stones are also less likely to form in the presence of sufficient progesterone.
Then there's the woman who can not keep a pregnancy. To lose a baby at 8 weeks or 18 weeks is horrible. Many of these 'lost' pregnancies could be avoided if women were given supplemental progesterone. Listen to the name: pro (in favor of) gest as in gestation (pregnancy). Progesterone is the 'happy' pro-pregnancy hormone. Over the years, we've helped many women who could not get or stay pregnant, to become 'very' pregnant and have a healthy delivery! These reasons, and others, are some of the many reasons why people need to replace their falling, absent or imbalanced hormones.
But what if you do not 'replace' hormones. What if you just let nature follow it's own path? Most women, after age 45 have Estone (E1, active estrogen type 1) as their dominant female hormone. When they were younger, most women had Estriol (E3) as their dominant hormone (80%). Estrone (E1) is the hormone behind breast, uterine, and GI cancers. E1 also helps create blood clots that go to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), to the brain (stroke or brain attack), or to the heart (heart attack). Why would you want to let 'nature' ramp up your chance for death from cancer and blood clots? (To be honest: you and most women had no idea of these massive risks of E1 dominance.)
The safest method of replacing hormones is with 'Natural Hormone Therapy' (NHT). That is, prescribing biologically identical hormones for you that are chemically identical to what you would make if you were a healthy 25 year-old! They're identical to your own hormones. The root source of NHT is a substance from the wild yam plant called 'Diosgenin', meaning 'from God: Life'! Diosgenin has the structural base elements used to make any of your human hormones. Briefly, below, we'll mention why using artificial or 'fake' hormones is not the same and why the fakes are not a wise idea.
A study of fake hormones was published several years ago, as the 'Women's Health Initiative' (WHI). The government sponsored WHI study only looked at fake hormones. The WHI was stopped 7 years early due to harm that fake hormones caused patients. Never has there been a study done where it was stopped 7 years early, due to harm caused to study patients, and the drug or fake hormone was left on the market. Fake hormones are known also as equine (horse) hormones- these fakes include Premarin, and the name says it all: PREgnant MARes urINe: that's right- the big drug maker, Pfizer, wants women to continue to take a product, proven in the WHI to be harmful, and, by the way, it's from the urine of pregnant horses! Pfizer also wants you to think it's very 'kind and humane' for them to have a catheter in the bladder of these penned up horses- for years- to gather their urine to make their expensive fake hormones. You know better than this. Women and Horses do not have the same hormones. Before the WHI, thye company made about a billion dollars a year on Premarin sales! Do you see a billion reason$ why they won't take the dangerous fake hormones off the market? By the way-- Premarin is composed of 49.1% Estrone, that nasty cancer causing estrogen, which was why they had to stop the study early.
With that said, the human body produces many hormones. Unfortunately, as we age, many of us have most of our healthy hormone levels fall. The proper balance between these hormones is essential for a healthy body and mind.
So why, for example do women have to worry about hormones now? Our ancestors didn't have do worry. A century ago the average woman (as today) went through menopause at age 52. A century ago the average woman lived to be only 49! Most women, today, will make it to age 78. That means living a third of one's life, 'after the change'. Our ancestors didn't have to address menopause a century ago because they were already dead!
Guys, don't go too far away. The first part of the discussion is largely about women's hormones, later we'll get to the guys. And, yes, 'andropause' is very real and very treatable!
Progesterone is that wonderful hormone which allowed mom to carry us through a healthy pregnancy, so we can live and enjoy this life! Progesterone is made in the ovaries of women and in their adrenal glands, and to a lesser amount in the testes of men. Progesterone is often called the 'feel good' hormone because it can enhance and improve a depressed mood and also serves to calm and sooth.
There's about 20 times more progesterone in the brain than in the blood stream. In the brain, progesterone binds with gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter (it sends messages between brain cells) and has a calming effect on the brain. Low levels of GABA (progesterone) can cause feelings of anxiety, irritability, and even anger.
Progesterone helps create and regulate other hormones. Progesterone is an 'upstream' hormone, meaning from progesterone, many other hormones can be made (and balanced). Please see the diagram below to see the various hormones that are made from progesterone.
So, progesterone is pretty amazing! You can make many of your necessary hormones from progesterone. Progesterone prevents endometriosis, it prevents uterine fibroids, and it can control and regulate heavy periods. Another amazing fact: progesterone will destroy breast cancer on contact within 72 hours!
Considering that most women begin to lose their normal, healthy progesterone levels at age 28, and there's virtually none left by age 45 to 50, do you see one reason why there's such a rise in breast cancer in women? Progesterone causes 'apoptosis' or bursting and death of cancerous breast tissue. There is no other hormone or substance that works so precisely on cancerous breast tissue, yet leaves healthy breast tissue alone. Nothing! Think that perhaps taking some supplemental progesterone to balance your hormones, as you age, is a good idea?
Progesterone will also: help you go to sleep at night, help you stay asleep, have vivid dreams; and while awake, improve mood, memory and... (oh, um) recall. For women in their 40's and 50's, instead of taking an antidepressent for that low/sad mood, a 'nerve' pill for those anxious times, and a sleeping pill to go to sleep: is it possible that all that's needed is some natural progesterone?
Many of our patients agree: why 'medicalize' and treat a hormonal imbalance with medications, when a natural hormone will take care of the same problems, and at the same time reduce breast cancer risk? Considering all of the amazing things that progesterone does, it seems very reasonable to check progesterone levels, and treat, using natural progesterone, those people with symptoms, who have low levels.
Progesterone fo Men?
That's right--young, healthy guys make progesterone too. And when younger, men have better memory, better recall, more focus and better retention of names and facts. As men age, as do women, men lose progesterone hormone. Nearly every man we've checked who's over age 45 has no detectable progesterone. Zip, zero, nada.
Every man over 45 who's gotten our upgraded, specially compounded testosterone-progesterone combination has remarked that their memory has improved. As we all age, retaining mental sharpness is critical and highly valued. Come on by, and let's get you tested and see if we can improve your mental recall as well!
Progesterone Builds Strong Bones
Bio-identical human Progesterone does many wonderful things- including building about 12% new bone each year! It's not Estrogen that builds bone, as you may have been told: it's Progesterone that builds bone! There are about One million fractures each year due to osterporosis. By 'old age' one in three women and one in six men will develop a hip fracture. About 12-20% of those with hip fractures will die; another 50 percent will be 'disabled' for life! Other vulnerable bones: wrist, shoulder, ribs and spine. Below is a photo of 'normal' healthy, dense bone (on the left), and one with 'early' osteoporosis. Notice how the bone appears to be eaten away (right side): this only gets worse without treatment.
Estrogens E1, E2, and E3
Ah, the Estrogens- a very interesting family of hormones! Just like some families, there are active members who do most of the work, and some that don't do quite so much. When younger, you'd make about 10% E1 (Estrone), 10% E2 (Estradiol), and 80% E3 (Estriol). These three are the 'active' estrogens- the ones that do the work:
Estrone: About the most beneficial thing E1 does is to serve as a 'hormone savings account' that can change into Estradiol (E2) or Estriol (E3). The other major functions of E1 are: it greatly increases the formation and growth of cancer of the breast, cancer of the uterus, vaginal cancer, GI cancer, and it increases blood clot formation, strokes, and heart attacks. What a dysfunctional family member! This hormone's major function is to limit human population!
Estradiol: This is a 'wonder' hormone that gives a woman most of her female features. When a woman has full, high cheeks- it's Progesterone and Estradiol, as it is with softer skin, and fuller lips in fertile young women. These two hormones give breasts their fullness and size, as well as widens the hips of women. Estradiol is the hormone used when younger, to deal with stress. Remember, you'd 'dump' 30% more estrogen (E2) into your system to deal with a stressful day when you were younger? This hormone was your 'best friend'.
Estriol: While it's 80% of your active Estrogen, it's also the 'weakest'. What E3 does, is it occupies estrogen receptor sites so that E1 can not attach to those same sites (and cause problems). So, E3 is a 'safeguard' hormone. When used together, with E2, the E3 works as an 'anti-estrogen' by regulating overgrowth/overstimulation associated with E1.
Unfortunately, as women age, E1 becomes the dominant Estrogen hormone, with barely detectable or undetectable amounts of E2 and E3 present. This E1 dominance is behind the epidemic of cancers and other health problems many women face. This hormonal imbalance is one reason why many smart and informed women opt to use NHT to balance their hormones and get back the E2, E3, and Progesterone their bodies and minds need to have a more normal, healthy, and safer life!
Women and testosterone? You bet!
No, you won't look like 'Arnold' if you have enough testosterone, but you will feel stronger (and will be) and will also be more mentally alert and mentally certain. To have a better sense of self, and more certainty in an uncertain world is admirable! That's testosterone!
Women make about 1/15th to 1/20th the testosterone that men do. In women 'T' is made in small amounts in the ovary and in the adrenal glands. As an androgenic hormone, 'T' will cause the build-up of stronger tendons, ligaments and muscles, and make injuries less likely! 'T' will also make bones stronger. By the time a woman goes through menopause, though, she's lost about half or more than half of her normal 'T'.
What we typically hear, with such a drop in 'T', is: a dramatic loss of interest in sex and intimacy, more problems with fatigue, irritability, depression, apathy, and aches and pains in joints and muscles. With treatment, we also hear and see these complaints improve and often disappear. Women report being more upbeat, more energenic, and more 'alive'. What an amazing hormone!
From a cardiac standpoint, there's a massive number of 'T' receptors in the heart. That's right, the heart- that muscle that works every second of every day. You have only 2 choices: do you want a heart that's as strong as 'Pewee Herman' or one like 'Arnold'? If you voted for a strong heart, like 'Arnold', one that's less likely to have an attack- you chose wisely. You also chose to insure you have enough 'T' for all the right reasons!
You're right: balancing your three estrogens, your progesterone, and your testosterone will make a significant and positive improvement in your overall health and well being. As you also know, men often get into denial when it comes to taking care of themselves. For this reason, please read below about the importance of 'T' for your man.
Testosterone and Andropause
Come on--Andropause? Yes, and as real as major depression. In fact you can have major depression as well as a number of other problems if you have low testosterone (low T). Low T will also cause:
- loss of ability to concentrate
- moodiness/emotionality/insecurity issues
- Great timidity/feeling weak/unable to make decisions
- reduced intellectual agility/loss of 'zest' for life/passive attitudes
- general tiredness, easy fatigue, physical weakness, more injuries
- coordination problems, loss of hand-eye skills
- 'flag' will no longer go up the pole, let alone stay there for long 'salutes'
- loss of intimacy, loss of confidence
Low T is a major cause of depresion in men. Does your man need to run an opinion poll before he can make a decision? Do you have to read this because he's 'not sure' or doesn't have enough drive to search out this information for himself?
Not only does your man probably suffer from low T, he'll develop major sexual problems from side effects of most anti-depressant medications, if he's using them. That's right: if he wasn't depressed enough, many 'anti-depressant' drugs will cause major impotence problems (and will do so for women too). Anorgasmia is the inability to "climax" and is a real problem for both sexes without "T" and the "typical" anti-depressants like Celexa and Zoloft cause anorgasmia--If you weren't depressed enough, take away the ability to climax and that's going to cause some people to think about jumping off the Taos bridge! Now--that's Not a suggestion, just recognition that many uninformed health care providers "medicalize" the hormonal issues of men and women and put them on "anti-depressant" drugs that take away "critical" sexual functions that would make most psychologically stable people to become very depressed and even suicidal due to the loss of the ability to "perform" and to "climax"!
Not only does using prescription T help bring 'Mr. Happy' back to life, it's also great for Mr. Heart. That's right: in China, if somebody's suffering angina or chest pains- they use testosterone. T will liberate nitrous oxide, as nitroglycerine does, and results, longer term, in making the heart muscle stronger, so it will be able to pump harder and stronger in the future. Very smart!
Many men not only have low T they have high amounts of E1 trying to attach to their testosterone receptor sites. You've seen that large amount of abdominal fat so many Americans carry around? Remember it's producing massive amounts of E1. That E1 is adversely affecting your man's sexual and physical health: it's also making him very moody and insecure. Abdominal fat, that many middle aged men and women have, does nothing beneficial.
T isn't just a 'sex hormone', it's a 'total body hormone'. T can resolve physical and psychological depressions; can eliminate irregular heart beat and resolve lack of blood supply to the heart; can reduce GI cancers, prevent blood clots, and...yes it can make the flag go back to the top of the pole and stay there for prolonged periods of time. It's about time for that to return!
But does T cause prostate cancer? In reviewing 29 articles on the subject, 4 articles said yes, it does; 1 article did not have sufficient numbers and data to say either way; and 24 studies said it does not cause prostate cancer!
The science on prostate cancer and on breast cancer is similar in many respects: A hormone that causes growth, goes out of control, and the hormones that should bring control are not present.
In women, this is E1 as the bad player, throwing gasoline on the fire. Fat tissue is busy producing massive amounts of E1, and the ovaries are producing no E2 or E3 and no progesterone. One other problem: the small amount of E2, progesterone and testosterone a woman has (from her adrenals) is turned into E1 through the 'aromatase' pathway. Aromatase will take 'friendly' hormones and change them into E1, which is a 'population' limiting hormone- it causes cancer. For this reason, there are three FDA approved 'aromatase' inhibitors given to women after breast surgery, after radiation, and after chemotherapy: so these women do not develop future cancer from this active 'aromatase' pathway.
Same problem for guys: their abdmonial fat's producing massive amounts of E1, and they've activated their 'aromatase' pathway and are changing their testosterone into E1. This is why, when you look at the lab numbers: most men with prostate cancer have low levels of testosterone and high E1 levels.
So why haven't you heard about, read about, or been able to find much on the 'aromatase' pathway and prostate cancer? Politics- politics and popularity. While most people will notice 'Gina' first developing her breasts (one of the first signs of sexual maturity, and beauty), nobody, and I mean nobody sees or cares about how 'Larry's prostate is doing! Please name one major 'race for the cure' for prostate cancer that you've run or walked in? One you've seen this year on the news? Read about in the paper, or in a news magazine?
That's excatly right: nobody, and I mean nobody is talking or thinking about a gland located up inside Larry's rectum. Even if Larry has cancer, nobody's thinking about it- except for Larry's cancer doctor- and that doc may not know that a penny a day pill, used for diabetes, will help stop the cancer in it's tracks. How about a 50% reduction in tumor growth? Read our 'news' section for more information.
Getting back to 'Larry's problem: no 'run for the cure', for prostate cancer. Yet, several times a year, you hear of effort after effort and race after race to 'find the cure' for breast cancer! Truth be told: the visual picture of the breasts of a mature woman beats the visual picture of any guys prostate, located where nobody wants to think about! It's true!
But, men, as well as women, have a number of 'life limiting' pathways that lead to their ultimate demise. Both men and women have an 'aromatase' pathway. It works with the same principles: it moves healthy, beneficial hormones into desctructive ones. Chemistry is chemistry. In men, who have too much E1, we use 1/4 the aromatase inhibitor dose to prevent an over abundance of E1, and to keep T in it's proper concentration. What we're doing is not ever going to be as discussed, or be as popular as using aromatase inhibitors in breast cancer, unless Larry's prostate can get to look as good as and be discussed as much as 'Gina's breasts. And that's just never going to happen.
This one concern: prostate cancer, has prevented many men who seriously need help, to not seek out that help, out of fear. Making decisions based upon fear is not wise. Think, for one moment: IF testosterone caused prostate cancer, just where are they hiding all of the 19 and 20 year olds who have testosterone levels through the roof? Based on this claim that prostate cancer is caused by high testosterone levels- every last one should have prostate cancer!
Exactly where are the cancer wards with these millions upon millions of young men with high testosterone levels? You know where they are: along with the absurd claim that prostate cancer is caused by testosterone- they do not exist!
Move beyond the fear and bring in your man for that annual exam he's needed. It'll be the perfect opportunity for discussing these important questions and concerns. It's time to get him 'back in the game'.
Some Men and Some Women Require Testosterone Shots
That's right: some folks will not respond to testosterone in gel form (applied to the skin). Recall that when hormone creams or jels are applied to the skin, you'll use the hormone (absorbed in the rich layer of blood vessels just under the skin), as though you just made the hormone yourself. For about 95% of patients this gel method of hormone delivery works for all hormones.
Recall that we dominantly use bioidentical hormones in gel form to try to avoid tying-up the multiple metabolic pathways in the liver. When sex hormones are taken orally, they 'tie-up' "Sex Hormone Binding Globulin" which in turn has an adverse reaction on thyroid function. We're trying to augment healthy hormone function, and not trying to adversly affect the thyroid.
While female hormones can be taken orally, with a number of problems created from oral use--they're not as bad as oral testosterone. No safe practitioner prescribes oral testosterone as it causes liver cancer. When folks ask for oral testosterone, it's obvious these folks are very uninformed and asking for a treatment which will kill.
For these reasons, we primarily use topical forms of all of our human hormones and for some folks offer testosterone injections.
That said, some people will not get high enough tissue levels of "T" until they receive Testosterone shots. They 'know' this and 'feel' this. And, when this group of people gets their proper dose of testosterone, they feel wonderful! At any given time we're treating 2 to 3 dozen or men with "low T" who require Testosterone shots. We'll also have a few females who require injections of Testosterone. The "best practices" protocol we generally use is for testosterone shots to be given every 2 weeks in the office. Folks who come for a shot of testosterone are seen on a "priority" basis- you're in and out quickly.
We mention this rare need for 5% of the people here because, while rare, we need folks to understand "one size" does not fit all. You may, yourself, need a testosterone shot because the testosterone gel is just not potent enough for you. Or, you may know someone who should get a testosterone shot, but did not ask for consideration for such therapy. Please ask if you feel you need consideration for such treatment-especially if you're not feeling "right". We're here to help you reach your very best!
Pain Medication use Tied to Erectile Dysfunction
From an 2013 article in the journal Spine (p 909-915) scientists looked at 11,327 people who were on various levels and types of pain medications. Those who were on high dose narcotics were 50% more likely to 'need' ED prescriptions.
This article follows the 'standard' (rather than the best) medical model of evaluation and care. Most providers never check nor do they treat for testosterone deficiency. These particular 'mainstream' providers simply give 'ED drugs' to people with 'ED symptoms'--a very uninformed choice.
People with ED have low testosterone. As testosterone is the main human 'build you up, keep you stong, helps you heal from injury' hormone, it would seem obvious to any reasonable scientist that to have adequate testosterone levels in a person whom you want to heal would be a major concern.
We also know that every muscle, tendon and ligament in the body is made stronger by higher levels of testosterone. We also know, from a cardiac point, that as the heart is a muscle, it has the largest supply of testosterone receptors of any organ in the body (that's right Mr Heart has more testosterone receptors than does Mr Happy). So, from a cardiac standpoint, an aging heart needs to have a supplement for the waning testosterone levels to keep it strong and healthy.
We also know that a lack of testosterone will induce clinical depression, and that a supplement of testosterone will resolve this depression. We see people every week go from exhausted and disgusted and disengaged in life, to stronger, happier and healthier once they're on testosterone therapy.
So, we know that without testosterone, healing from an injury won't go so well, and yet most providers fail to check and treat testosterone deficiency. The study reports ED in injured people who must take narcotics for their pain from a non-healed injury. One huge concept the authors failed to address is twofold:
1) the men had ED and low testosterone prior to their injury, and
2) the men failed to heal, because of low testosterone levels, and
No amount of Viagra will heal any injured man, nor will Levitra or Cialis make the heart or other muscles stronger. Instead, taking ED drugs alone, with a weak heart, will force extra workload upon a weakened heart and predispose a heart attack, just as shoveling snow leads to a heart attack because the heart can't handle the extra cardiac workload and a heart attack occurs. A workout in the bedroom is no different!
Testosterone therapy needs to become 'mainstream' for nearly everyone over age 40 who needs the treatment to reduce heart attack incidence and to prevent injuries. A healthy body is less likely to become injured and it's more likely to heal. It's time we focus upon health and healing, and not focus upon symptoms.