Hormone Replacement Therapy – Pros and Cons

That’s the question, isn’t it?!

The media does a great job at confusing us sometimes.  For many years, women were told that hormone replacement therapy had some ill effects, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer.

A new study shows that women who took HRT 18 years ago are no more likely to die of anything than women who did not.

Well, that’s great news!

But there will always be confusion about hormone replacement therapy.  It’s complicated and every women is unique.  There is NO one size fits all solution in this situation.

Of course there’s a lot more to consider than just re-introducing your fleeing estrogen back into your body.  I recommend working with a practitioner who has experience with bio-identical hormones. 

There is also another delivery form called hormone replacement pellet therapy.  And there are some definite pros and cons to this method.  And that’s exactly why I was compelled to create a podcast all about it.

The Promise of Testosterone

It’s true that women produce testosterone.  But the acceptable ranges in women are very low.  The normal range for women is 9-55.  While ranges for men are much higher; 250-790.

At menopause, as estrogen leaves a women’s body, her other hormones shift to compensate for this change. In order to account for this imbalance, hormone replacement therapy is one strategy to consider.

Now, a popular anti-aging strategy administers testosterone to women which can be concerning on many levels. Women aren’t able to tolerate testosterone in high levels. Also, marketing “over- promises” are on overdrive in some of the medi-spas and anti-aging establishments.

Just because testosterone is said to increase energy, libido and muscle mass doesn’t mean that giving a women more than she needs or can handle will work.

In fact, in my clinic, I’ve seen the opposite.  And it’s quite distressing.

The unwanted side effects of too much testosterone can be uncomfortable and frustrating.

Too much testosterone is NOT a good thing.

Let’s look at some of the undesirable side effects of too much testosterone.

It may increase mood swings.  No one needs those!

Another side effect is heightened libido.  But, hang on a minute here before you get too excited.  It can be the kind that makes you feel like a 17 year old boy which may not be the best for your marriage or your partner.  Yes, I said, “boy”.  For some women, too much testosterone causes them to think about sex all the time, kind of like a 17 year old boy.  Hmmm, talk about unintended consquences!

Also, unwanted physical changes like increased facial hair and an engorged clitoris are possible unwanted side effects. In some cases, the engorged area is painful and extrmemely uncomfortable.

My recommendation on testosterone pellet therapy…buyer beware!

What’s in the Episode?

:33 Why would a women need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
1:05 Can a women be on HRT in perimenopause?
1:55 Top symptoms to watch for now.
3:00 Estrogen drops rapidly at menopause.
3:37 Testosterone plays a role as well and may cause unwanted symptoms (irritability, insomnia, unwanted facial hair, and loss of hair (like male pattern baldness).
4:28 Women who have had hysterectomies (with uverectomy – ovaries removed), tend to have low testosterone.
5:45 How is HRT delivered to a woman? (How the hormone is being delivered in the body) Rhonda explains oral, bio-identical (cream form), troche (under the tongue).
6:42 Oral estrogen is not advised (per the research); Rhonda explains why.
7:41 Pellet Therapy – what is it and how does it work?
8:23 Why Rhonda prefers pellet therapy for men related to testosterone but not for women.
10:47 Testosterone ranges for men and women and why it’s important to understand the difference.
12:23 Women were not meant to feel like a 17 year old boy!  Testosterone pellets put women’s ranges way out of their normal range which has many adverse effects.
13:03 What physical changes really happen to a women who receives HRT testosterone pellets?
14:36 The correct way to work with your practitioner for HRT pellet therapy.  Caution – the “medi-spa” businesses may not have all of the pieces in place for optimal results!
19:05 Why Rhonda starts with low doses of bio-identical hormones and what she’s learned over 20 years of treating women.
19:48 High doses of testosterone may cause production of “bad” estrogen in some women.
20:57 Rhonda’s final thoughts and advice on HRT Pellet Therapy.

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Rhonda practices functional medicine.  To find a practitioner near you (in the United States) click on the button below.

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