Our bodies change as we age and nowhere is this more evident than when we go through menopause. The changes in our hormones, which regulate everything from our moods to how hot or cold we feel, can have an enormous impact on our lives. But beyond simply changing how we feel, and how we look, changes in hormones can also affect our health. Optimal health during ageing drives Shine Clinic to offer the latest treatments. Hormone replacement therapy is about more than how you look and feel. For more information on anti-ageing treatments see our fact sheet on Anti-ageing.
Feeling Our Age
With today’s expectations for a longer life, we want to do all we can to ensure that this life is one well lived, and that includes the last decade or three. But as we pass through the hormonal changes that mark the end of a woman’s child-bearing age, we feel the shift in our bodies as it adjusts to this new role. Some of the changes you may feel might include:
- A sense of overwhelming or constant fatigue
- Depression without a known cause or reason
- Gradual weight gain, especially in the tummy and thighs
- A loss of interest in sex or gradual lowering of the libido
- A tapering off of the menstrual cycle
- Hot flushes and other premenstrual symptoms.
A Natural Solution
When we stop producing the hormones that are part of our child bearing cycles, these symptoms begin to appear as a result. This is because many of the hormones that are part of that cycle also regulate many other aspects of our health. So how do we regain that normal balance? One way is to begin taking hormones to replace those that we no longer produce in the right amounts.
But science has discovered that simply replacing similar hormones is not enough. For the best possible results, we need hormones that are exactly the same as the ones they are replacing. That means being the same at the most basic level, the cellular level. These hormones must be biochemically and molecularly exactly like the ones they are replacing. The only way to do this is to use bio-identical hormones to replace those we no longer produce.
Synthetic vs Bio-Identical Hormones
Synthetic hormones are produced in a lab but are not exactly the same as the biologically produced hormones we create in our bodies. They are similar, but those differences can have an impact on us. Bio-identical hormones are plant-derived and then converted by biochemists into the human version of that particular hormone. These can include the different oestrogens, testosterone, progesterone and DHEA (didehydroepiandrosterone).
We now know that synthetic hormones can create a host of problems because of this small difference between their molecular structure and that of the naturally occurring hormones used in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Increased risks for breast cancer and heart disease are among the top side effects of synthetic hormones. It is why we don’t use them here at Shine Clinic and only use natural bio-identical hormones.
Benefits of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormones affect virtually every aspect of our lives and touch just about every part of our bodies. This is why when your hormones are out of balance it affects far more than just one area. The benefits of having your hormones returned to their normal balance are many, including:
- More energy and physical endurance
- Better weight management
- Improved memory
- Increased libido
- Control of mood swings
- Reduction of hot flushes and night sweats
- Improved bone density and immune systems
- Better skin texture and elasticity
- Regularity in menstrual cycles if still premenopausal
Of course, each person is different and so each individual will have different results. But since everyone needs balanced hormones to function at their best, most of these results will be experienced to some extent.
Who can have this treatment?
Women who think their hormones may be out of balance because of the symptoms named above are good candidates to be assessed for this treatment. This includes anyone who has recently had a hysterectomy or thinks they may be beginning menopause. Also anyone with menstrual disturbances or problems with premenstrual symptoms.
What should I expect during treatment?
The treatment begins with a consultation. We will go over your entire medical history and give you a comprehensive medical examination. Depending on the symptoms, various tests may be requested. These may be blood and/or saliva tests. We are looking not just at the hormone levels, but also your general health and nutritional status. Not all complaints end up being due to hormones alone. This is a thorough assessment and not all testing is covered by Medicare.
We will then sit down with you and discuss all of these test results at a follow-up meeting. We will explain the results, answer your questions and then propose an individual treatment plan. This plan will include all aspects of treatment including your diet, any advice regarding lifestyle and prescriptions for bio-identical hormones and/or supplements if needed.
We have to remember that this is a commitment for improved health now and into the future. Follow up testing and review is needed long term. As we age and are exposed to various environmental stressors our treatment plan and recommendations may change over the years. Frequency of reviews depends on how stable your condition is and how well you feel. Initial review may be 3–6 months apart. Eventually when stable, testing and review every 12 months is ideal.
Are there side effects or risks involved?
Bio-identical hormone balancing is a gentle process. At Shine Clinic, doses used are tiny when compared with a comparative dose of synthetic hormones. These are, however, prescription-strength, active hormones and when the doses are not balanced or too high, side effects can be experienced.
Possible symptoms of imbalance are a slight amount of spotting, cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, rarely increased acne or facial hair. However, because we monitor levels very closely at Shine Clinic, it is rare to experience these side effects. Doses are adjusted as needed to provide the best balancing with hormone levels that are in the lower normal range. We never aim to exceed normal levels. Improving symptoms as well as overall health is our primary concern.
There is no doubt that as we begin to feel better with improved health and vitality, we want to look the part. Many of our clients at Shine Clinic choose to enjoy any of our skin rejuvenation treatments as well as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers to give the skin and face a more youthful appearance.