Estrogen Replacement Therapy in Cambridge, MA
Estrogen is the primary sex hormone in women. It is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics from puberty to menopause. Men also produce estrogen, as do animals, all vertebrates and many species of insect). Estrogen is capable of diffusing through the membrane of cells and binding to estrogen receptors. From there, the hormone can direct the expression of genes, effectively regulating essential developmental/reproductive processes. Estrogen contributes to:
- Increased vaginal lubrication
- Sexual receptivity
- Regular ovulation
- Fetal development
- Development of the uterus/uterine lining
More specifically, “estrogen” may be used to classify a variety of similar hormones. Humans produce three major forms of estrogen:
- Estriol: This estrogen is produced in mass quantities during pregnancy and is used to help reduced the symptoms of menopause. It may also help minimize the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
- Estrone: Also heavily abundant during pregnancy, this estrogen can be converted into—and used as—estradiol. Estrone also plays a major role in menopause.
- Estradiol: This estrogen is largely responsible for the regulation of menstrual cycles and prevents the death of sperm cells in males.
Estrogen dominance is a condition which affects many women. It is characterized by a deficiency in progesterone which interferes with the function of estrogen in the body. This means that an excess or deficiency in estrogen levels will have nothing to stop it from negatively affecting the body. Symptoms associated with estrogen dominance often include:
- Allergy symptoms (asthma, hives, rashes, etc.)
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Vaginal dryness
Hormone imbalance, as a whole, is not a good thing. While necessary for male development, high levels of estrogen in men can lead to the development of breasts (also known as gynecomastia), fatigue, increased body fat, low libido, and erectile dysfunction. It also acts as a fuel for the growth and spread of various forms of breast cancer. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to those suffering from conditions related to the hormone estrogen.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In women experiencing the symptoms of menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been used to restore the balance of estrogen levels. HRT often involves administering estrogen using a variety of delivery methods. This may include injection, pills, patches, creams and gels. HRT may relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, excessive sweating, night sweats, and low libido.
The estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy is typically mass produced and synthesized from a non-human source. Because of this, traditional HRT has a myriad of faults and weaknesses including a number of side effects. Synthesized hormones are often rejected by the body. In HRT, the hormones synthesized are not quite identical to the ones produced by the body. Therefore, it is believed that only a fraction of the synthesized hormones are able to “trick” the body into accepting them as it only accepts naturally-produced hormones. The remaining hormones are thought to increase the risk of certain conditions (including some cancers). This, however, has been highly debated and evidence is still being collected on the issue. In response to the possibility of dangerous side effects, a more natural form of hormone replacement therapy has been developed which is thought to have all the benefits of HRT with almost none of the risks.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is an alternative to traditional HRT which is believed to be more effective with fewer side effects. Hormone levels are tested and a dosage is custom-tailored to each patient. Bioidentical hormones are designed to mimic the chemical structure of the naturally produced hormone so the body is unable to distinguish between the two.
While a variety of delivery methods exist for BHRT, hormone pellet therapy is becoming an increasingly popular option. This involves implanting a small pellet of pure bioidentical hormones into muscle tissue which allows it to be gradually released into the body over the course of several months. The pellets are delivered via injection and require anywhere from three to five treatments a year as opposed to the alternative treatment options (which are typically performed on a weekly or biweekly basis).
If you are struggling with the symptoms of hormone imbalance, menopause, or perimenopause, BHRT may be right for you. Request more information about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for estrogen today! Call (781) 933-4200 or contact OptimalWellnessMD online.
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