Have you heard of hormone replacement therapy? It is a way to treat hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalance can happen at any age. Hormone deficiencies occur when the production of natural hormones decline in aging adults. This usually happens after the age of 30 in both women and men. When hormones become low or imbalanced in women, it is known as Menopause. In men, it is known as andropause. One way to counteract either of these conditions is to get hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the process by which certain hormones are replaced on a prescribed schedule to mimic the body’s natural process. Commonly, these essential hormones include the human growth hormone, estrogen, and testosterone. Furthermore, hormone replacements are natural, usually plant-based, substances. These substances have an identical molecular structure and chemical composition as your body’s natural hormones.
By contrast, synthetic hormones are made to have different molecular structures. Drug companies can’t patent a molecule produced naturally by the human body. Instead, they design synthetic hormones that are molecularly different and, therefore, are patentable. Premarin, Prempro, and Provera are the most obvious and widely prescribed examples of products containing synthetic hormones.
Your body produces many different hormones that are responsible for different processes. Here at Complete Care Health Centers, we want you to know more about your body’s hormones.
Here are some hormones and a description of what they do:
Estrogen stimulates the growth of tissue, such as the development of breast and reproductive organs and ensures their function. In the brain, it boosts the function of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters affect sleep, mood, memory, libido, learning and attention span. This hormone has also been known to boost heart health by preventing plaque formation in blood vessel walls.
Estradiol is the most potent form of estrogen. This hormone is made by the ovaries, adrenals and fat cells when older. It also affects the functions of most of the body’s organs.
Estriol is the weakest and least active form of estrogen, primarily functioning during pregnancy.
Progesterone ensures the development and function of the breasts and female reproductive tract. It improves sleep and protects against seizures. Progesterone builds bone and benefits the cardiovascular system by blocking plaque formation in the blood vessels and lowering triglycerides. Progesterone also can increase libido and contribute to the efficient use of fat as a source of energy.
Another important hormone found in both women and men is testosterone. Testosterone is manufactured in women by the ovaries and adrenal glands, enhancing the libido and sexual response. It strengthens ligaments, builds muscle and bone and assists with brain function. Also, it is associated with assertive behavior and a sense of well-being. The level of testosterone influences both stamina and restful sleep. Testosterone has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
DHEA is made primarily by the ovaries and adrenal gland. Smaller amounts are produced in the skin and brain. In fact, DHEA is the most abundant circulating hormone. It provides protection against the effects of physical stress and inflammation. Also, it can increase libido and sexual arousal. DHEA improves motivation, engenders a sense of well-being, decreases pain, and enhances immune system function.
Cortisol is another important hormone that is made by the adrenal glands. It regulates the immune response, stimulates the production of glucose, and aids short-term memory. This particular hormone also helps the body adapt to stress by increasing heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. The level of cortisol increases early in the morning to prepare to meet the demands of the day. It gradually decreases throughout the day and reaches its lowest point late in the evening. This pattern is known as the “circadian rhythm.”
Pregnenolone is the building-block for all other steroid hormones. It is converted directly into DHEA and/or progesterone. DHEA converts to testosterone and estrogens. Additionally, progesterone converts to estrogens, cortisol, and aldosterone. It is this succession of conversions that makes human life possible. Made from cholesterol, pregnenolone is a natural steroid hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands. Like many health-promoting hormones, levels of pregnenolone drop with age.
Are you thinking about getting hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? If so, you may want to find out more about hormone imbalance and if HRT is a good option. Contact one of our knowledgeable providers today. 541.773.9772