Hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone (yes in women!) deplete with age so all women eventually need hormone replacement. That’s the easy answer. When a woman should start hormone replacement is more complicated and most easily answered by dividing it into two questions. First, when can women replace testosterone, progesterone, and other supplements for hormonal imbalances? Second, when do women take estrogen replacement?
The definition of menopause is when a woman has no menstrual period for 12 months. And the average age of menopause is about 51 in the United States. But menopausal hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irregular periods, and mood swings from hormone changes start at a younger age because hormone levels fluctuate much earlier than 51! When symptoms begin, it’s time to get hormone testing – even if it’s in your 30’s. Hormone tests at RegenCen in Traverse City, Petoskey, and Naples will show estrogen levels, thyroid levels, testosterone levels, and more. Hormone tests come back quickly and then the providers at RegenCen can start helping you get your life back.
When should women replace testosterone and progesterone?
Most women choose to supplement testosterone and progesterone levels during the perimenopausal years – after hormone testing of course. Perimenopause most often starts in the mid 30’s to the mid 40’s. Micronized progesterone and testosterone pellets are very safe and very effective at relieving perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and low energy. Women may look for “hormone testing near me” for other individual circumstances at an even younger age. For example, birth control pills suppress ovarian function and the ovaries make testosterone so younger women often choose to supplement their testosterone to increase their energy, improve low sex drive, and as an adjunct to weight management even in their 20’s. Bioidentical hormones at RegenCen can be tremendously helpful in easing the transition from perimenopause through postmenopause. In fact, most menopausal symptoms can be controlled or even eliminated by customizing a bioidentical hormone regimen at RegenCen as your natural hormone production fades.
When should women start estrogen replacements?
When the transition into menopause is complete (doctors set an arbitrary point of 1 year after the last menstrual period) estrogen replacement can be started in most cases. Estrogen pellets placed under the skin provide the most consistent release of estradiol and they last about four months. Estrogen pellets are the preferred estrogen replacement method at RegenCen. Estrogen shouldn’t be supplemented until a woman is menopausal. And estrogen should always be replaced with methods that go through the skin, like estrogen creams, estrogen patches, or the RegenCen preferred method of Biote estrogen pellets. Oral estrogen has been shown for years to be unsafe whereas estrogen that is replaced through the skin like with pellets is much safer and it also protects women from osteoporosis.
Continuing bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, micronized progesterone, and testosterone have been shown to maintain women’s overall sense of health and well-being throughout her life. But it’s not just sleeping better and skipping the hot flashes. Hormone replacement was proven long ago to lower women’s risks of many diseases due to aging. Studies have shown testosterone replacement reduces women’s Alzheimer’s risk by up to 50%. Maintaining more youthful hormone levels also prevents hormonal belly fat. And maintaining estrogen and testosterone supplementation along with exercise nearly eliminates the possibility of osteoporosis. There was a time in the U.S. when medical research determined that women’s hormone replacement therapy actually INCREASED many health risks, including breast cancer. In the past 15 years, those conclusions have been discredited and reversed with the advent of bioidentical hormones. Those previous risks were associated with synthetic progestins and animal-derived estrogen, which are quite different than the hormones we naturally make ourselves. But reversing those long-held fears in physicians and the public has been a long battle which continues to this day. Now that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is becoming mainstream, women are changing the course of their health and their lives. The impact of never going through menopause (or reversing those changes later) can’t be overestimated.
Women have a choice now – why suffer though menopause if you don’t have to?