Menopause Management and Hormone Replacement
[ hawr-mohn ] Noun “hormones are messengers, and many things affect their ability to function. They are what keep our body responding and therefore functioning”
~ Dr. Terri-Ann Samuels
Menopause and Perimenopause
For women, menopause is a natural part of aging and is defined as 1 year without periods. On average this happens at about age 50. It is considered early age 40-45 and premature before age 40.
Perimenopause indicates the most highly symptomatic years which can be up to 10 years for some women! The most obvious symptom include irregular periods – longer, shorter, more or less frequent. But it is important to recognize the other symptoms of menopause/perimenopause:
- Fatigue/ lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Reduced mental focus, memory and Brain fog
- Mood swings, anxiety and depression (or exacerbation)
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Stubborn weight gain
- Inability to lose weight, despite diet and activity
- Decreased muscle strength
- Joint pain and muscle pain
- Reduced Sexual desire
Hormone Replacement Therapy & Menopause Management at The Urogynius Center
Dr. Samuels will sit with you for a one-on-one consultation to discuss if you can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Here, at the Urogynius Center, we will discuss all the symptoms you are experiencing and options for hormone therapy. She will answer any and all of your questions about hormone replacement and other aspects of BHRT. For any other questions, please call our office or read through the FAQ page.
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
The human body naturally produces fewer hormones as men and women age. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) helps by providing identical hormones to those that are lost with age. This hormone balancing is done by hormone pellet therapy, patches, and creams which is a safe and FDA-approved treatment.
With research, as a medical community, we recognize the role and balance of all hormones – estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, and testosterone.
Whatt?? Did You Just Say Testosterone For Women? Yes!
Yes, we have always known that both men and women have both testosterone and estrogen. The best word to describe success in hormone therapy is balance and that is what we try to create. Each hormone has a role to play as a messenger for improved function and less negative symptoms especially in the menopause. They all work together. In your personalized consultation Dr. Samuels will take a detailed history and have a lengthy discussion on treatment options based on symptoms.
What is Hormone Pellet Therapy?
Pellets are the longest studied form of hormone replacement therapy, dating back to their development in 1939. Today, pellets are made of estradiol or testosterone and steric acid that is used to bind it. The pellets are no bigger than a grain of rice and usually cannot be felt except for mild swelling when inserted that goes away quickly. The pellet is placed under the skin and then your circulatory system can absorb hormones as needed. Pellets will completely dissolve into the bloodstream as the hormones are absorbed. Once hormone imbalance symptoms return, the pellet will need to be replaced. Usually, patients will only need to undergo the procedure 2-4 times a year. As with most body cycles, patients will be able to schedule when it’s time to re-pellet after the first few hormone cycles.
The Pellet Therapy Procedure
The pellet procedure is quick and most patients experience minimal pain. The procedure averages 3-5 minutes for women and typically longer for men. After the initial needle of lidocaine and sodium bicarbonate, which numbs the insertion area, there is little discomfort for the patient. After the procedure it is recommended to have limited gluteal exercises for about 72 hours in women and 7 days for men to reduce swelling. The hormones begin to enter your bloodstream anywhere from 72 hours to 3 weeks for first time patients.
Pellet Therapy and other Hormone Replacements
Patients may be on different forms of hormone replacement therapies – oral HRT, patches and topical creams. If you are using one of these forms, you do not need to stop taking current hormones for blood labs. It is recommended to not apply or take hormones the day of the blood draw and once it is complete you can resume your medications as directed. Once the pellet has been inserted, the doctor will advise on when to discontinue your previous hormone replacement.