A hormone deficiency can be associated with significant changes in weight, bone density, cholesterol, cardiovascular function, skin appearance and mental well-being. With decreased hormone levels, even sleep patterns and immune system functions can be affected.
The aim of hormonal therapy is to balance your Endocrine System. As hormones regulate every function in your body, when they are well adjusted; so are you.
As we age, there is a naturally occurring decline in a number of hormones – including oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. An imbalance in these specific hormones can impact us in a variety of different ways, including, but not restricted to:
At Omniya, our practitioners also provide:
And treatments for:
Your bloods can be tested on any day of year, however, we advise that you have them taken at approximately 9am.
If you are currently taking hormone therapy, you should have your blood tested exactly 4 hours after taking your morning dose of hormones.
Typically, you do not need to be fasting for your blood tests, unless you are having fasting insulin tested, which you will be advised of beforehand.
If you are still having periods:
If you are having monthly periods your blood test should be conducted 21 days after the first day of your last period. In the event you are having irregular periods, please do not book your blood tests until at least 16 days after your last period.
If you are using a contraceptive pill, please stop taking the medication and wait for 6 weeks before booking in for your blood test. If you have a coil, you will not need to worry about removing it beforehand.
If you are not having periods:
If you do not have a monthly menstrual cycle, you can have your bloods tested at any time.
Hormone Replacement Therapy:
If you are currently taking hormone replacement therapy, you should have your blood tested exactly 4 hours after taking your morning dose of hormones.
Typically, you do not need to be fasting for your blood tests, unless you are having fasting insulin tested.
Which hormones are used?
Oestrogen: Used to treat hot flushes, help hair and skin, reduce urinary frequency, cystitis, incontinence and vaginal dryness. Oestrogen also protects against strokes, heart disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, macular degeneration and cataracts.
Progesterone: Treats low mood and depression, can improve sleep, helps keep hair and skin healthy, reduces fluid retention and regulates menstrual cycles, premenstrual tension and can help fibroids. Natural progesterone protects against uterine and breast carcinomas, cardiovascular disease, ovarian cysts and fibrocystic disease.
Testosterone: Important to be regulated in men as it protects against cardiovascular disease, memory, and improves libido, energy and mood. In women, good levels of testosterone improve libido, energy, motivation, muscle and bone strength.
DHEA: An adrenal hormone that reduces cardiovascular risks by decreasing visceral fat. It stimulates the immune system, restores sexual vitality, improves moods and decreases cholesterol and body fat. It improves memory, increases energy and applies its anti-cancer properties by enhancing the immune system. It has antidepressant effects.
Melatonin: Improves sleep pattern as well as depth and quality of sleep. It’s an energiser and mood enhancer. It also increases natural killer cells and modulates immune function. It has powerful anti-oxidative effects.
Pregnenolone: Is a precursor to other hormones. It functions as a memory enhancer and repairs cells, particularly in the brain and nerve tissues.
Thyroid hormones: They balance thyroid function to make sure it is optimal using a range of different medications and supplements.
Should I use hormone therapy or just go through my menopause ‘naturally’?
There is no right or wrong answer for this. Some women have very mild symptoms and can manage them by making changes to their diet, lifestyle and taking certain supplements. Your practitioner can also advise you on this if this is the route you are interested in, as she is trained in this ‘integrative approach’ to dealing with menopause; not only hormonal therapy.
Taking hormone therapy to deal with symptoms of the menopause should not be seen as a ‘failure’. Women today are working well into their 60s, and life is far busier than that of women generations ago, plus life expectancy is going up. If there is a solution that helps women feel great, function better and improves their rate of ageing, why not consider it?
What sort of hormones should I take?
In the body, women produce oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone – a combination of all of these works best in women. All the hormones prescribed by the practitioner will have the same chemical structure as that which your own body would make, and therefore work in synergy with the body, causing fewer side effects and risks.
Sometimes these hormones are specially combined for you, and sometimes they are best taken separately. Your doctor will advise what is best for you after a thorough assessment of your symptoms, lifestyle, and an evaluation of your blood tests.
Do some people experience negative effects?
A small proportion of women may experience some negative effects. This is usually due to the dosage not being quite right, and a simple adjustment can be enough to stop the unwanted effects. Common side effects include bloating, breast tenderness and occasionally light vaginal bleeding. Your doctor will advise you on how to deal with this should it occur. The normal procedure would be to stop the treatment completely until the symptoms settle, then restart at a lower dose.
What sort of monitoring do I need during the time I am taking hormones?
Our practitioners recommend a blood test to check your hormone levels at least every 12 months, but every 6 months would be optimum. This is to make sure the levels in your system are adequate not only to improve your symptoms, but also to cause a physiological improvement in your cardiovascular, neurological and bone health. Your practitioner may also recommend a mammogram, bone density scan and pelvic ultrasound scan to check the lining of the uterus and ovaries every 1-2 years. This can be arranged by Omniya if this is more convenient.
How long can I take hormones for?
If you are having your regular blood tests, pelvic ultrasound scan, mammogram and bone density scan, and the results are favourable, there is no reason why you cannot continue with this therapy long term. There are no age restrictions.
I am worried that HRT causes cancer?
The evidence has shown a small increased risk in breast, ovarian and uterine cancers with synthetic hormones that do not have the same chemical structure as the hormones made by your body. There has not been a link shown between the hormones that do share the same chemical structure as your own hormones. In fact, some studies have shown a protective effect. It is important to discuss these concerns with your doctor, especially if there is a strong link to female cancers in your family. Your doctor can then advice you on the best route of treatment and the best form of hormones for you to take. It is however important to know that although taking the hormones may not cause cancer, any hormones can cause cancer cells that are already in the body to grow, which is why regular screening is important.