What are Bio-Identical Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are hormones that have the exact same structure as the hormones that are naturally secreted by the body. This is in contrast to non bio-identical hormones which are not structurally identical to those secreted in the body. Examples of non bio-identical hormones include birth control pills, synthetic progestins, and Premarin.
What are the principles of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement?
Bio-Identical Hormone replacement is based on the principle that hormone replacement should mimic our natural hormone production as closely as possible. Hormone replacement should ideally re-produce the exact same hormonal milieu that is present in a healthy, youthful patient. Therefore the hormones should be chemically identical, replaced at the correct time of day, administered in the best available form, and in the correct proportion to other hormones.
What are the different forms of Hormones Available?
Dr. Camp uses a wide range of hormones for the many different patients that he sees. He uses the following routinely, though each patient will typically respond to one form better than another:
Estrogen: Dr. Camp uses Bi-Est, Estriol, and Estradiol in topical , vaginal, and Sublingual forms. Rarely, he will use oral Estradiol if it is indicated.
Progesterone: Dr. Camp uses oral, sublingual, and topical forms.
Testosterone: Dr. Camp uses topical, sublingual, and vaginal testosterone.
Why Replace your Hormones?
Aging is the product of the long term, and permanent decline of all of the hormones in the body. As our hormones decline, many diseases will increase while our quality of life decreases. For example, common diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, and many others may be the simple result of having long term hormonal and nutritional deficiencies.
Therefore, many of the symptoms of aging can be stopped and even reversed by correcting all of the underlying hormonal imbalances. Each hormone, as it declines with the aging process, produces physical changes in each patient that of course will make a person look and feel older. These changes are important clues as to the underlying hormonal deficiencies present and can be used by an experienced doctor to determine what hormones have declined the most.
How to Make Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Safe and Effective
- Use Physiological Doses
- Choose the best type, and brand of hormones
- Take the hormone by the safest route
- Simultaneously correct all hormone imbalances
- Perform regular follow-ups to insure safety
- Insure great communication between physician and patients
What are the typical hormonal changes that occur as a woman ages ?
Progesterone declines start early in life in our modern world and typically accelerates around age 35. By the age of 45-50, the average woman is estimated to have an 80% reduction in progesterone levels. Declining progesterone is associated with many of the symptoms of PMS and Peri-Menopause and is one of the easiest and safest hormones to replace. Additionally, it is imperative that Progesterone (not synthetic, non bio-identical progestins) be replaced to lower Breast cancer risk, to increase thyroid hormone activity, and to improve symptoms such as water retention, bloating, sleep disturbances, and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Estrogen declines accelerate as a woman gets into her 40’s and 50’s as ovarian production declines. Estrogen declines produce a wide range of symptoms also that are detailed below.
What are the symptoms of Hormonal Decline ?
Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency may include the following:
- Breasts lose fullness and/or begin drooping
- Skin dries out.
- Foggy thinking (especially in the morning) mind confused, mildly depressed and/or a feeling of ‘Just don’t care
- Difficulty sleeping, restless, night sweats
- Vaginal dryness, urinary urgency
- Decreased Libido
Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency
- Diminished Muscle Mass
- Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
- Decreased Libido
- Mild Depression
What are the causes of hormonal declines? I eat a perfect organic diet so my hormones must be fine, right ?
The list of hormonal disrupters grows longer each day! Each day we face numerous environmental toxins from petrochemicals in our oceans, to heavy metals in our fish, to pesticides in our vegetables. Additionally, the make-up used by our women have parabens, the water we drink has fluoride or plasticides, all of which disrupt our hormones and likely contribute to the increased incidence of chronic disease and cancer in our world. Studies show these toxins are ubiquitous in our society and are at similar levels whether one lives in an urban or rural area and whether one eats healthy and organic or not (though obviously you will get less pesticide exposure by eating organic and Dr. Camp strongly recommends organic over conventional produce).
Additionally hormones are depleted by disruptions to our sleep and wake cycles, alterations in our stress hormones, and by dietary and nutritional deficiencies. Common medications including SSRI’s, Statin based lipid medications, and numerous others disrupt our hormone production and are even present in our water supply at amounts that are likely high enough to cause us long term damage.
What hormones does Dr. Camp typically replace in a patient ?
Dr. Camp diagnoses first and then treats each patient uniquely to provide the exact hormonal replacement that each of his patients needs. In general, many of his patients need adrenal hormone support including DHEA and Pregnenolone, sex hormone support including Progesterone, Estrogen, and Testosterone (yes women do need Testosterone too), and thyroid hormone. Some women need only one or two types of hormone replacement, and some need all of them to be replaced to get the full benefit of hormone replacement.