Hormone Optimization Therapy
Overview of Hormone Optimization Therapy
To alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalance and improve overall health and well-being, hormonal optimization therapy restores hormone levels to youthful, optimal levels.
As we age, hormone levels often decline, causing symptoms like low energy, trouble sleeping, weight gain, low libido, and more. Hormone optimization therapy can help regulate estrogen, testosterone, your thyroid, cortisol, and other hormones to healthy levels based on an individual’s needs through medications, supplements, or bioidentical hormones.
The goal is to help people look and feel their best by eliminating unpleasant menopause, andropause, or other symptoms. When hormones are balanced properly, patients often report improved energy, mood, cognition, sleep quality, sex drive, and body composition.
Why Pursue Hormone Optimization Therapy
There are several key reasons patients may choose to pursue hormone optimization therapy:
- Alleviate symptoms associated with menopause or andropause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, weight gain, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and mood changes
- Regain energy, vitality, and zest for life
- Increase muscle mass, decrease fat mass, and control weight to improve body composition
- Enhance libido and sexual functioning
- Support better sleep quality
- Improve emotional well-being, mood, and ability to handle stress
- Prevent age-related diseases like osteoporosis or heart disease
- Enhance quality of life and healthy aging
How Hormone Optimization Therapy Works
Hormone optimization therapy typically starts with testing blood levels of key hormones like estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones (T3 & T4), DHEA, cortisol, and more to identify any deficiencies.
Based on test results, bioidentical hormones may be prescribed to restore optimal levels tailored to the individual patient. These bioidentical hormones are identical on a molecular level to the hormones made by the human body, helping ensure effective and safe results.
They can be administered in different forms like oral tablets, sublingual drops, transdermal creams or gels, vaginal inserts, pellets, or injections. Dosages are gradually adjusted based on follow-up testing and evaluation of symptom improvements until hormonal balance and well-being are achieved. Adjunct therapies like nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle changes may also be part of the regimen.
Common Hormone Imbalances Corrected
Some of the most common hormone imbalances addressed with optimization therapy include:
- Estrogen Deficiency: Low estrogen often causes hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, mood changes like anxiety or irritability, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and low bone density. Optimizing estrogen levels can effectively alleviate these symptoms.
- Testosterone Deficiency (Low T): Declining testosterone in both men (andropause) and women can significantly reduce sex drive and energy while increasing body fat and risk of disease. Restoring testosterone alleviates these effects.
- Thyroid Disorders: Both underactive (hypothyroidism) and overactive (hyperthyroidism) thyroid can cause unwelcome symptoms that are resolved when optimal thyroid hormone levels are achieved through medication.
- High Cortisol: Elevated cortisol linked to high stress often disrupts sleep, mood, weight management, and cognition. Lowering excess cortisol helps minimize these symptoms.
- DHEA Deficiency: DHEA supports many vital processes, so low levels are linked to increased disease risk and lowered sense of well-being. Optimizing DHEA offers widespread health protection.
Safety and Potential Side Effects
When properly overseen by medical professionals, hormone optimization therapy is often seen as a safe option with limited side effects. Yet, like any medical treatment, potential side effects do exist and may include:
- Fluid retention
- Unwanted hair growth
- High red blood cell count (testosterone)
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Changes in libido
These effects are often resolved by adjusting dosages. Women with a history of cancers that grow faster with estrogen (e.g. breast and uterine cancers) and men with prostate cancer should avoid hormone optimization.
Following a provider’s orders diligently and getting regular lab testing helps ensure therapy remains safe and effective. Communicating openly with your provider about any side effects allows appropriate adjustments.
Preparing for Treatment
Preparing for hormone optimization therapy starts with choosing a reputable anti-aging or integrative medicine provider to oversee treatment. They will order comprehensive hormone blood panels covering all key hormones to identify any deficiencies.
For accurate results, patients may be asked to fast overnight or avoid certain medications or supplements prior to the blood draw that could influence hormone levels. The medical history and symptom survey should be completed as thoroughly as possible since this helps guide treatment decisions.
Once test results are back, a customized treatment plan can be developed to restore optimal hormonal balance.
During the Initial Visit
The initial optimization therapy visit starts with discussing test results, medical history, and treatment approach to ensure patients understand the process and set expectations accordingly.
The provider then determines an appropriate starting dosage and administration method for bioidentical hormone therapy based on the lab results and symptom evaluation.
Follow-up visits to evaluate progress are scheduled at regular intervals, generally every 1-3 months. Blood work repeats help gauge treatment efficacy and make dosage adjustments until full symptom relief and ideal lab levels are achieved.
After Starting Therapy
It can take 1-3 months after starting hormone optimization therapy to notice initial improvements, with full benefits taking 3-6 months. Most patients report increased energy, improved sleep quality, enhanced mood, easier weight management, and higher libido within the first 1-3 months.
As positive changes take hold, follow-up blood tests give vital feedback about progress by indicating how hormone levels respond to treatment.
Dosages may require slight tweaking over time to keep hormones balanced in the optimal range. Patients should track symptoms and stay in close contact with their practitioner to ensure ideal outcomes.
Longevity of Results
The beneficial effects of hormone optimization therapy last as long as treatment continues. Consistency is key – stopping therapy generally leads to symptoms recurring eventually as hormone deficits build back up.
Some patients only require hormone optimization for 6-12 months until normal hormone function is restored naturally. However, most patients who wish to maintain optimized hormone levels transition to lifelong therapy due to the steady age-related hormone decline. Either way, patients can sustain a dramatically improved quality of life when hormone levels are kept optimal with medical supervision.
Cost of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The cost of hormone optimization therapy varies considerably based on the specific hormones replaced, the doses required, and the frequency of treatment. All costs and a thorough treatment plan will be discussed based on your needs during your hormone optimization consultation.
Choosing a Provider for Hormone Optimization Therapy
It is important to work with a qualified, licensed medical practitioner when pursuing hormone optimization therapy. Ideal providers include anti-aging and integrative medicine providers who specialize in hormone balancing as part of a comprehensive approach focused on preventive care and optimizing wellness.
A suitable provider will order thorough testing to accurately uncover hormone deficiencies, employ bioidentical hormones when appropriate, and provide ongoing medical supervision to ensure hormones are optimized safely.
They will also address nutrition, supplements, fitness, and stress levels for total well-being. At Green Relief Health, Dr. Lauren Nawrocki skillfully oversees custom hormone balancing tailored to each patient’s needs, improving quality of life as a result.
Hormone optimization therapy serves as an aid for men and women alike who are grappling with unwelcome symptoms of hormonal decline, including hot flashes, night sweats, low energy, poor sleep, weight gain, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and more.
It involves testing key hormone levels like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones to uncover any deficiencies and then administering bioidentical hormone medications or supplements to restore balance. Custom treatment plans aim to alleviate symptoms and help patients look and feel their best. When overseen properly by a qualified anti-aging or integrative provider specializing in hormonal therapies, optimization is generally very safe and effective.
Most patients report dramatic improvements in energy, sleep, mood, mental clarity, weight management, sex drive, and overall quality of life when their hormones are returned to optimal levels.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Lauren Nawrocki at Green Relief Health to explore whether hormone optimization therapy is right for you.