We all have hormones! And at one point or another, we will all experience declines and fluctuations of our hormone levels. This is natural and can impact every person differently, but imbalanced hormones can pose a risk to our health if left unmonitored.
While hormonal imbalance is a condition every person will endure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating it.
We have unique needs, health histories, and concerns, and our treatment plans for hormonal health should reflect that. Although many healthcare providers continue to offer patients pills, creams, patches, and more we know our patients deserve more.
As part of our commitment to practicing functional medicine, we believe that a patient requires a comprehensive evaluation that looks at health history and goals in conjunction with symptoms to tailor the best treatment plan.
Hormonal imbalance can occur for various reasons and come from different sources, but no matter the cause, it is well documented that if left untreated, serious health issues may arise. One approach many practitioners use to help patients find balance is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
What You Should Know About Hormones
If you want to understand hormone replacement therapy, you should first understand hormones. Although hormones play a huge role in our bodies, it’s not uncommon for patients to come to us with little to no understanding of what hormones are and why they’re important to our overall wellbeing!
Our hormones chemical messengers that travel through our blood and enter cells, tissues, and organs, telling them what to do and when to do it. They have a big job coordinating and directing various functions throughout our bodies.
They regulate everything from our emotions to our reproduction and have a significant role in our overall health. Want some quick facts? Take a look at these:
- Hormones carry messages between cells and organs.
- Hormone levels will naturally decline with age but require management to maintain health.
- Hormonal imbalance can impact both men and women of any age.
Hormonal imbalance could happen at any age, which is why it’s important that you have regular check-ups. If we monitor these changes, we can help keep your body in balance and protect you from serious health problems later on.
How Can I Tell If My Hormones Are Imbalanced?
Hormonal imbalance simply means that you have too little or too much of any given hormone in the bloodstream.
The slightest change in hormone production could trigger a domino effect throughout the entire body. Hormonal imbalance may look different for everybody, but there are some common signs to look out for.
Both men and women are susceptible to hormonal imbalance, and while symptoms vary among patients, experts have agreed on a list of common symptoms that may indicate hormonal imbalance is at play.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women and Men
We’ll go into more specific symptoms for women and men later, but remember that many symptoms can affect anyone.
The more common causes of hormonal balance tend to produce the following symptoms in both men and women:
- Unexplained fluctuation in weight (gaining or losing)
- Poor sleep
- Brittle or weak bones
- Lowered sex drive
- Irritability and anxiety
- Long-term fatigue without reason
- Very dry skin or skin rashes
- Unexplained or excessive sweating
As you can see, the list of symptoms is quite extensive, and those listed above don’t even make up the complete list! This is why it is critical that you speak with your trusted medical provider regularly.
At Functional Health & Wellness, we can help you determine if your symptoms are indicative of an issue with your hormones or another health concern.
Our team of professionals has undergone extensive training by some of the top hormone specialists in the world, and we want to help you find relief and restore balance! Take a look below for a more defined list of symptoms.
A few more specific symptoms often experienced by women include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular/heavy/painful periods
- Thinning or brittle hair
Some common signs for men dealing with hormonal issues include:
- The inability to achieve and maintain an erection
- Changes in blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Gynecomastia (the development of breasts)
Hormonal imbalance won’t always present itself in the form of these symptoms. More times than not, patients come to us because they have been feeling “off” for a while and can’t put their finger on exactly what is making them feel poorly.
If you don’t feel right, pay attention to your body. Take notes of your symptoms and any recent lifestyle changes—this information can be valuable during your consultation and following treatment.
Restore Balance with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
BHRT is a type of hormone replacement therapy and has long been a favorite of men and women going through the aging process and dealing with hormonal imbalance.
This hormone replacement therapy uses hormones that are structurally identical to the ones that naturally occur in your body. BHRT is the natural alternative to synthetic hormone treatments that often don’t provide relief.
We use BHRT with pellets at Functional Health & Wellness to give patients the most effective and personalized approach to hormone therapy.
Hormone pellets have been around for decades but were pushed aside when pills and patches flooded the market. We see the value that BHRT with pellets provides as it allows us to offer patients a customized hormone replacement therapy treatment plan for hormone optimization.
Choosing the Best Method for Your Needs
We understand that there’s a lot of information to unpack so we’ve compiled a few common FAQs to help you get a better understanding of what hormone pellet therapy is and how it may help you.
1. What are hormone pellets?
Hormone pellets are about the size of a grain of rice and are made up of an estrogen or testosterone hormone and come from organic plant materials.
They were designed for both men and women and mimic the molecular structure of those hormones found in the body. These tiny pellets are inserted under the skin, usually in the buttocks, in a simple and painless in-office procedure.
2. How does BHRT with pellets work?
The pellets release small amounts of hormones directly into the bloodstream similarly to the way your body would naturally if your hormones were balanced.
The pellets also release hormones in response to physical activity or emotional stress (both the good and bad kind). This allows for a steady stream of hormones which can keep symptoms and side effects at bay.
3. What are the pros of hormone pellets?
BHRT with pellets is loved by patients because of how convenient it is. When you have BHRT with pellets you don’t have to remember to take pills each day or carry your cream with you, you simply get your pellet implanted and live your life. Most patients only need to visit their provider 2-3 times a year for pellet implants!
4. Are there any cons of hormone pellets?
Some patients start to sweat when they here “implant,” but for the most part, the insertion method is painless and straightforward with very few patients reporting discomfort.
While this procedure is small, there is a little downtime recommended; you should avoid strenuous physical activity and prolonged water exposure for a few days after your pellet implantation.
Finally, BHRT with pellets can be slightly more expensive than other forms of hormone therapy, but it is also recognized as more reliable and valuable.
5. What about the cost of BHRT? Is it worth it?
BHRT with pellets is a highly personalized treatment that requires multiple steps and a lot of consideration.
To achieve optimal results from BHRT with pellets, you will need a comprehensive consultation, testing and possibly specialty labs performed, an insertion procedure, and follow-up monitoring.
Prices vary between location and practitioner, but we see BHRT with pellets as a sound investment into your health.
6. Should I be worried about the insertion process?
No! Most patients experience no paint with their hormone pellet insertion. However, to put your mind at ease and to help alleviate any discomfort, a local anesthetic is applied to the insertion site before the procedure. You can hear from Dr. Dawda herself on what to expect in this video.
We will talk you through the steps and go into detail about what to expect before, during, and after the procedure, but it’s totally normal to experience tenderness, redness, and a little bruising up to 3-4 days after insertion.
7. How long does it take to begin working?
Every patient experience is unique, but on average many report symptom relief within 2-4 weeks; full hormone optimization could take closer to 6 months.
Regular follow-up with your BHRT pellet provider is crucial to ensuring your treatment plan is working and is able to be modified and further customized to your benefit. I
8. What’s the deal with hormone pellets and weight loss?
As unexplained weight gain or fluctuations in weight are common indicators of hormonal imbalance beginning hormone treatment could help you manage your weight. BHRT with pellets may be the resource you need to take control of your weight and help you restore balance.
As pellets give you more energy and help to regulate your metabolism, many patients are able to address weight concerns and make changes that were challenging before treatment.
9. What happens to the pellets after insertion?
BHRT pellets are natural and are eventually dissolved and absorbed by your body over time, leaving nothing behind. This is why you will have to visit your provider a few times a year for new pellet insertion.
10. Why should I choose hormone pellets over conventional hormone therapies?
Effective, less of a hassle and long-term results are the key reasons patients love hormone pellets. BHRT with pellets deliver consistent levels of hormones into the bloodstream allowing patients to avoid fluctuations that commonly occur when using creams, pills, and patches.
Enjoy your life without having to spend all of your time at the doctor for prescription refills and don’t stress over remembering daily medications.
Restore Balance with a New Approach
You know just how important balanced hormones are for our overall health. When left untreated, we may see a decline in our quality of life.
Apart from all of the symptoms, hormonal imbalance has also been linked to various diseases such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Even if you don’t notice any of the warning signs, we recommend having your hormones checked. Your specific set of symptoms, along with other factors (age, stress levels, weight, etc.) will influence when to have your hormones tested.
Functional Health & Wellness Can Help!
If you’re looking for an expert opinion and guidance on optimizing your hormones while receiving the customized care you deserve, let us help! We’ll be your partner as you seek the best treatment path to achieve balance.
Schedule your consultation today to take the first step toward restoring balance!