Jan 18, 2012

Bio Identical Hormone Treatment

Along with skincare I am also trying to become more aware as too how my body reacts to certain foods (see Sugar and Skin article link at bottom of page) but I have noticed that as the biological clock continues to 'click' things are changing along with becoming harder to keep at bay.
Weight Gain
I have been fortunate that weight has never really been an issue for me. Of course, like the majority I put on weight when I decide to over eat (notice I said 'decide' as I find this is a choice I make rather than it being something that just happens). One thing I do have going to my advantage is that I am a qualified Dietician and Fitness Instructor.....but I want to emphasize that just because I have the knowledge does not mean that it is any easier for me to stay on track! Recently I have noticed that as the years creep up on me (where did all that time go) I am now carrying some extra poundage around my middle and the dreaded 'muffin top' is rearing its ugly head. Taking into consideration that I have 'not' increased my calorie intake my antenna went up and I started to think 'Is this the beginning of what is commonly know as Middle Age Spread'. When I studied nutrition it was apparent that the only conclusion anyone ever came up with in regards to the extra pounds that appeared to occur during middle age was supposedly due to the 'slowing down' of the metabolism and those who where suffering just had to 'accept' this as part of the aging process or had to make the choice to increase their physical activity and/or cut calories. I completed my training at the hands of Rosemary Conley in the United Kingdom and she, along with many others agree that your metabolism does slow down 'slightly' when you get older but only by a few per cent each decade. In fact, scientific figures suggest you only need to cut down your calorie intake by about 40 calories a day beyond the age of 50 and by a further 90 calories past the age of 75 therefore proving that weight gain along with a multitude of additional annoying and inconvenient issues are not so much an age related issue rather than a hormonal issue.
Below are just some of the issues we can face in latter years:
Back-ache – particularly pre-menstrual back ache   
Brittle nails 
Brown spots on the back of the hands 
Cold hands and feet 
Cracked heels 
Cravings, binges 
Dark rings under the eyes 
Depression, anxiety or agitation 
Difficulty concentrating
Forgetfulness (how many times have you gone in to a room to get something and you cannot remember what you went there for)! 
Irritability (I think we all can admit to this one)!  
Joint Pain
Mood swings 
Thinning hair
Water retention
Fortunately we now have much more information and knowledge therefore enabling us to decide for ourselves in regards to how we can conquer and overcome the unnecessary effects of middle age rather than having to just 'live with them' and 'grin and bear it'.
There appears to be four main options:
1. HRT (Hormone Replacement Treatment)
2. Nautural Remidies
3. Accepting the situation and doing nothing about it
4. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
What is Bio-identical Hormone Therapy?
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy is a treatment consisting of supplemental hormones that are chemically and molecularly identical to the hormones found in your body so as to achieve proper balance.
Hormones are taken from natural sources like soy or wild yam plants and molecularly manipulated in a laboratory to 'exactly' match yours, making them easier to assimilate and use by the body since it has the right enzymes to classify and metabolize them properly and efficiently thus, lessening side effects.
Bio-identical hormones are tailored to 'your' body; rather than the 'one size fits all' synthetic prescription from your GP. Ingredients are mixed in individual doses at a compounding pharmacies (more on compounding pharmacies below) to meet your specific needs based on your symptoms and are adjusted until your hormones are completely balanced and symptoms disappear.
What is the difference between Bio-identical Hormone Therapy and Synthetic Hormone Therapy?
The synthetic hormone therapy operates on the opposite principle of the Bio-identical Hormone Therapy and the hormones are different.
Synthetic hormones' (those that are given by prescription from your GP) molecular structure is completely different from the human one, in fact, these hormones are stronger than ours, making them unrecognizable for the body and more difficult to absorb, turning them into a risk source for adverse side effects.
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy allows hormones to more efficiently interact with human tissues and other hormones in your body affecting positively its potency and elimination, thus, making them gentler on your system.
What is a Compounding Pharmacy
Pharmacy compounding is an established tradition which allows a physician to prescribe a very specific medication, prepared by a pharmacist, for a patient’s individual needs. Years ago, compounded medications provided the majority of prescription drug care for the population. Today, the vast majority of medications are mass-produced by pharmaceutical drug companies which aim to treat a specific medical condition for a large segment of people (one size fits all). Problems can arise when a patient has a medical condition that can’t be treated by one of these mass-produced products. These are the situations where a compounding pharmacist can play a vital role in helping the physician find an appropriate treatment for their patient.
Compounded medications are ordered by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, veterinarian or other prescriber and mixed by a licensed compounding pharmacists in a safe and carefully controlled environment.  Pharmacists are the only health care professionals trained in chemical compatibilities, making them the only ones qualified to compose alternate dosages. Each state requires instruction on the art of pharmaceutical compounding be included as part of the core curriculum in their pharmaceutical programs. In addition, it's important for compounding pharmacists to seek additional, continual training on their trade to stay current on the latest information and techniques.
Cost of Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy
This differs from state to state but the average cost for the initial visit is around $300. This without doubt is a large sum but taking into consideration as to how much you may be spending on medication for the symptoms you are now experiencing this is something that will undoubtedly pay for itself in the long run. However, there is a possibility that you can get your GP to refer you to a Bio-Identical Hormone specialist and if this is the case your visit could well be covered by your insurance (check this out with your insurance company). You will then need to have your hormone levels checked and this will take place at a Lab which again you may be able to get covered by insurance. Once you have all the results you will then have the results sent to a Compounding Pharmacy who will customize your creams to the perfect formula for you specifically.

Link to Sugar and Skin article:
Sugar and Skin 


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