Preventive Medicine & Weight Loss Center

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frequently asked questions about medical weight loss

What are hormones and why do I need them?

Hormones are an essential part of the metabolic process of living. Hormones are necessary for the proper functioning of cells, organs, and metabolism. Hormone levels decline with age, menopause, disease, or trauma. When this happens, we begin to age more quickly. Hormone deficiency is one of the primary causes of physical and mental deterioration as we age. Hormones are beneficial at any age, but the best long-term protective benefits are obtained when hormones are replaced when they begin to decline, which is typically in our 40s.

What are the typical hormones that are prescribed?

In a lab, synthetic progestins like Provera and estrogens like Premarin are created. Pharmaceutical companies chemically alter them so that they can be patented. They are not the same as human hormones. They are intended to elicit the same physiological responses in your body as natural hormones. Because synthetic hormones are not identical to human hormones, they may stimulate cells negatively, resulting in side effects or cancer. Premarin is an estrogen obtained from pregnant horses and is not human identical. Provera is a progestin. Both have been linked to a variety of health issues in women, including breast cancer.

How are bio-identical estrogen and progesterone produced?

Bioidentical estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are chemically identical to those produced by the human body. They are typically derived from natural sources, such as soy or yams, and are made to have the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by the body.

The production process for bioidentical estrogen and progesterone typically involves several steps:

  1. Raw materials: The starting materials for bioidentical estrogen and progesterone are typically derived from natural sources, such as soybeans or yams.

  2. Extraction: The raw materials are processed to extract the active hormones, which are then purified and concentrated.

  3. Synthesis: The purified hormones are then synthesized, or chemically modified, to create the final product. This process typically involves several steps, including chemical reactions and purification.

  4. Compounding: The final product is then compounded, or mixed, with a carrier substance to create the final product, which can be administered in a variety of forms, such as pills, patches, gels, creams, or pellets.

What are the problems with synthetic hormones?

Synthetic hormones were initially well received because they provided some of the benefits of hormone replacement, such as controlling menopausal symptoms and combating osteoporosis and heart disease. However, long-term studies have revealed that synthetic hormones can sometimes cause a negative metabolic response. Some women can tolerate synthetic hormones, but they frequently experience side effects such as bloating, bleeding, and mood swings. In some patients, synthetic estrogens and progestins contributed to the development of breast and uterine cancer.
Synthetic hormones do not work well in the body. Synthetic hormones produce abnormal metabolites that can cause side effects and increase the risk of cancer. A natural hormone is a biologically identical hormone replacement that fits perfectly in the body.

Why doesn’t my gynecologist prescribe bio-identical hormones?

There are a few reasons why a gynecologist may not prescribe bioidentical hormones.

First, bioidentical hormones are not approved by the FDA for use in hormone replacement therapy. Bioidentical hormones are typically made from plant-derived substances and are compounded (mixed) by a pharmacist to meet the specific needs of an individual patient. Because they are not FDA-approved, they are not subject to the same level of regulation as synthetic hormones, which are FDA-approved. Some healthcare providers may be hesitant to prescribe bioidentical hormones because of concerns about their safety and effectiveness.

Second, bioidentical hormones have not been extensively studied in large, controlled clinical trials. As a result, there is limited evidence on their long-term safety and effectiveness. Some healthcare providers may prefer to prescribe synthetic hormones, which have been more extensively studied and are FDA-approved.

Finally, some healthcare providers may have different philosophies or approaches to hormone replacement therapy. Some may feel that synthetic hormones are more reliable or have fewer side effects, while others may believe that bioidentical hormones are a safer or more natural option.

It’s important to keep in mind that the decision to use hormone replacement therapy, and which type of hormone to use, should be based on an individual’s specific medical needs and preferences, as well as a careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits. It’s always a good idea to have an open and honest conversation with your healthcare provider about your options and to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

What are the signs of low Progesterone and what are the health benefits?

Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries, the adrenal glands, and the placenta during pregnancy. It plays a number of important roles in the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Signs of low progesterone may include:

  1. Irregular periods: Progesterone helps regulate the menstrual cycle and maintain pregnancy. If progesterone levels are low, periods may be irregular or absent.

  2. Infertility: Low progesterone levels may make it difficult to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy.

  3. Hot flashes: Low progesterone levels may contribute to hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

  4. Mood changes: Progesterone may affect mood and can cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or irritability.

  5. Decreased sex drive: Low progesterone levels may also lead to a decrease in sex drive.

There are several potential health benefits associated with maintaining normal progesterone levels. These may include:

  1. Regulating the menstrual cycle: Progesterone helps regulate the menstrual cycle, including the production of eggs and the thickening of the uterine lining.

  2. Maintaining pregnancy: Progesterone is essential for maintaining pregnancy and preparing the body for childbirth.

  3. Reducing menopausal symptoms: Hormone replacement therapy with progesterone may help reduce hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

  4. Protecting bone health: Progesterone may help protect against bone loss and osteoporosis.

  5. Improving mood: Progesterone may have a positive effect on mood and may be used to treat anxiety and depression.

What is Involved in Starting Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?

When you have your lab work done, you will be asked to fill out a brief medical history and a symptoms questionnaire. If you live outside of town, we can have your labs drawn at a location close to you.

As early as 3 days after your lab work, we can see you for your initial consultation. We will discuss your symptoms, history, lifestyle and goals and also review the results from your blood work. We will then make treatment recommendations based on this information.