Bio-identical hormones are natural hormone replacement supplements that are used to correct hormonal imbalances or deficiencies. So how does a person know if their hormone levels are low or out of balance? Typically, men and women with hormonal issues will notice some telltale signs of hormone irregularities, experiencing a range of emotional, physical and cognitive symptoms. When there is no underlying health problem to account for such symptoms, hormone problems are often the culprit, especially in individuals over the age of 40, and can be definitively diagnosed through hormone level testing.
Hormonal Imbalances: A Common Mid-Life Issue
Hormonal imbalances or deficiencies are possible at any age, but are most often seen as men and women reach mid-life. That is because both men and women go through natural changes in hormone levels that begin around the age of 40. In women, this decline is referred to as perimenopause, which eventually leads to full menopause as hormone production sinks low enough to cause a permanent halt of reproductive function. In men, the steady decline in the amount of bio-available testosterone in the system is known as andropause. While many people are able to adjust to these changes smoothly, some women suffer erratic hormone fluctuations throughout the process, and a certain percentage of men end up with very low testosterone levels.
Common Symptoms of Hormone Deficiency or Imbalance
While sex hormones are most widely known for their reproductive system functions, they also play essential roles in an array of other systems, affecting metabolism, body composition, emotional health, memory and cognition, sleep patterns and much more. Since hormones affect so many of the body's essential functions, so too do hormone deficiencies or imbalances, producing a wide range of symptoms.
Symptoms of hormonal irregularities that are common in both men and women include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Both men and women may experience chronic fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and sleep disturbances. Joint stiffness and pain are common when hormones aren't properly balanced, as are skin issues, unexplained weight gain and loss of muscle mass.
Men with low testosterone levels may experience erectile dysfunction, become less interested in sex, and blood-pressure and cholesterol levels may rise. Women may also suffer a loss of sex drive, and may experience vaginal dryness that leads to pain and discomfort during intercourse. In both men and women, hormonal imbalances can affect bone density, leading to weaker bones and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Natural Hormone Replacement: Who Can Benefit From Bio-Identical Hormones?
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances during menopause and andropause vary widely in number and intensity from one person to another. Mild symptoms can often be managed through diet and exercise. However, a significant number of people suffer intense symptoms that interfere with daily activities, affect health and well-being or disrupt relationships with loved ones. For those for whom hormonal disturbances become quality-of-life issues, natural hormone replacement is often the best means of obtaining effective relief.
Natural hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, uses bio-identical hormones, derived from plants, to bring body chemistry back into proper, natural balance. Hormone supplements are prescribed in personalized formulations and dosages to suit the needs of each individual, dosages that are carefully calculated on the basis of a comprehensive physical evaluation and testing of hormone levels in the body.
As the body comes back into balance, patients typically experience increased mental and physical energy, a greater overall sense of well-being and vitality, restored sexual function and desire, fewer hot flashes and more restful sleep. So if you're experiencing troublesome symptoms, there is no need to suffer in silence. Ask your doctor about BHRT.