A little pellet placed underneath the skin can make all the difference in some individuals’ physiology and behavior.
Hormone therapy has been practiced for several years in a few different ways, said Life’s Cycle medical director Dr. Pam Kimbrough. There’s conventional practices of hormone replacement therapy, which involve the use of synthetic hormones.
And there’s bioidentical hormone therapy, which is coming to the forefront of the practice due to its safety and long-term effectiveness, Kimbrough said. Bioidentical hormones are identical to the hormones the human body already produces, she said.
“When it’s bioidentical hormones, the target is hit more cleanly so you get better benefits as well as less side effects,” Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough, who has been practicing hormone therapy for nearly seven years now, said there has been some negative stigma surrounding the practice in the past, but that is beginning to change.
“There’s lots of concerns about risks for cancers and that kind of thing,” Kimbrough said. “But as time has progressed, we have more research now that really demonstrates that it can be very safe and effective for a lot of people.”
Hormone therapy is probably most well-known for helping treat symptoms of menopause in women, but there are an abundance of benefits it provides for men and women of all ages, Kimbrough said.
“We have younger men and women that may have issues with energy or mood swings,” Kimbrough said. “For women specifically, some people have headaches around their period time and this type of hormone supplementation can kind of prevent those from happening.”
Men and women often see a decrease in their hormone levels as they age, Kimbrough said. But other factors can contribute to hormone deficiencies, as well.
People who are experiencing stress or other illnesses can develop significant problems with fatigue, mood swings, decreased libido, muscle and joint aches, and difficulty sleeping, she said.
“If those things are going on, a lot of times we will check hormone levels— not only estrogen, but testosterone, thyroid hormones, some of the adrenal hormones— to kind of see what’s going on,” Kimbrough said.
If any of those hormones are low, then the clinic can supplement them based on the individual’s personal needs. At Life’s Cycle, Kimbrough typically uses SottoPelle, a bioidentical hormone pellet that goes underneath the skin and is absorbed for months.
Kimbrough said she has served patients in their 20’s, clear up to individuals in their 70’s and beyond. Some of her older patients suffer from severe arthritis and are able to keep their joints from hurting through hormone therapy, she said.
And through research, medical professionals are continuously discovering more benefits and uses for bioidentical hormone therapy.
“We have a lot of data now going forward showing safety and effectiveness and long-term benefits, with longer life-spans with better quality of life,” Kimbrough said.