What is Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (NHRT) is the use of bio-identical hormones (estrogens, progesterone, and/or testosterone) to treat hormone imbalances and deficiencies. While it is natural for our bodies to gradually decrease (or stop) the production of important hormones over time, it doesn’t make the symptoms any easier to handle. NHRT works to maintain a proper hormone balance, as well as alleviate the symptoms that are seen with decreased production or elimination, such as hot flashes, fatigue, loss of focus, weight gain, depression, loss of muscle mass, decreased sex drive, poor sleep, anxiety, osteoporosis, and ED (erectile dysfunction).
It is important to note that many of the symptoms of menopause and andropause often decline a couple months to years without any treatment, but can improve after one to three months with Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy.
What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
“Bio-identical hormones”, also known as bio-natural and bio-available hormones, are hormones chemically-identical to the naturally-occurring hormones produced or once produced in the body. The chemical structure, behaviors, and interactions with cell-surface receptors and other hormones are identical to those that naturally occur in the body. Because these hormones are not structurally altered, by law they cannot be patented. They are, however, FDA-approved for use in hormone treatment. Bio-identical hormones are plant-based and are broken down in a laboratory so the pharmacy can use a pure form of the hormone to create your prescription.
What are Synthetic Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are superior to synthetic hormones, which have been chemically altered in a lab to closely resemble the hormones already naturally-occurring in our bodies. Pharmaceutical companies alter these hormones so that they can obtain patent protection on the product. This allows them to obtain FDA-approval, acquire insurance coverage, and generate and protect profits.
As an example, the structures below represent the difference between natural progesterone and Provera. Provera, produced by Pfizer, was created to simulate the benefits of naturally-occurring progesterone in our body. Unfortunately for our bodies, because Provera has been altered, it yields a myriad of risks, including increased chances of cancer and other co-morbidities.
The same is true of the testosterone structures below:
What Does YWC Use?
We strive to be on the forefront of hormone optimization research, and believe that using bio-identical hormones is the best step in the path to helping our clients’ lives. To this end, we are proud to be a part of a select group of physician practices with an advanced-level training in the newly established Advanced Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (ABHRT) Certification Program. This allows us to use specialized pharmacies called “Compounding Pharmacies” to prescribe natural progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol for clients. You cannot find natural hormones at commercial pharmacies like Kroger, Walgreens, or CVS. A simple rule of thumb is that if the prescription is covered by insurance, it is not bio-identical/natural.
How Does Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
If it is determined that hormone replacement therapy could be beneficial for you, an individualized hormone replacement plan is established with a provider at the first hormone replacement therapy appointment.
Most commonly, compounded hormone pellets are used to deliver the bio-identical hormones into the body. After the first pellet insertion, peak lab levels are drawn around 5 weeks. These lab results are then reviewed with a medical provider to ensure appropriate hormone doses are prescribed. Recurring pellet insertions are scheduled every 3-6 months depending on your medical history.
At Your Wellness Center, the providers interpret lab results differently compared to conventional methods. The providers look to treat you and your symptoms, not whether or not your blood draw number falls within the “normal” range on a piece of paper. We see men and women every day who come in with “normal” lab results but are still experiencing a myriad of symptoms that would be associated with a “low” level. What that means to us at Your Wellness Center is that you are not part of this “normal” population and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such. Our providers work with you to improve your quality of life, bring your lab levels to the best optimal ranges possible, and ensure that you are being treated as an individual, not just a number on a piece of paper.
How Does the Pellet Therapy Work with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement?
Pellet therapy is the use of delivering bio-identical hormones (size of a grain of rice) that are inserted typically under the skin of the fatty part of the buttocks. The pellets completely dissolve over a three to six month period leaving no residual effects under the skin. Our medical providers use a local anesthetic to make the procedure very tolerable. A tiny incision is made and the pellets are inserted using a small insertion device. A piece of tape is used to close the incision and the whole procedure takes only a few minutes.
What Costs are Associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy?
On average, women spend between $900-$1,200 per year on Hormone Replacement Therapy. This includes all provider visits, necessary bloodwork, and any medications prescribed as part of the treatment plan.
Men, on the other hand, will spend between $1,600-$2,100 per year for the same associated costs.
There are no membership fees or yearly contracts at Your Wellness Center. We provide a “Fee-for-Service” program where you pay for the services as you receive them.
How Do I Get Started?
Contact us below or submit an online consultation form to learn more about how we can help you feel and function better. Our medical providers will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you reach your health goals.