Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Hormones are messengers between body systems that help regulate physiology and behavior, including digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sleep, stress, growth, movement, reproduction, and mood and play an integral role in overall health. Millions of women suffer from hormonal imbalances that interfere with their health and quality of life. A healthy and well-balanced body manufactures all of the hormones it needs to function. However, when you have a hormone imbalance, you have too much or too little of a certain hormone and it can have a serious effect throughout the whole body. Think of hormones like a cake recipe. Too much or too little of any one ingredient affects the final product.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Signs of hormonal imbalance in women include breast tenderness, weight gain in the abdomen, hips, and thighs, decreased libido, irregular cycles, thyroid dysfunction, constipation, muscle weakness, muscle and joint stiffness, increased hunger, thinning hair, and night sweats.
Causes of Hormone Imbalances
Hormone fluctuations occur naturally as we age. However, hormonal imbalances can also be caused by our lifestyle. Hormone balance is tied to the food we eat, the exercise we get, the toxins we absorb, and the stress we carry. Your lifestyle should work with your hormones, not against them.
The wrong food can actually harm your body. An unhealthy diet consisting of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fat, soy, and processed foods can lead to inflammation and weight gain that can easily contribute to hormonal imbalances. Certain foods, like gluten and dairy, can actually burden the liver so that the liver is unable to properly detoxify leading to an excess of hormones. Exercise also has a direct impact on hormones, including insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. It also helps increase serotonin and dopamine levels which can help with mood and relieve stress. Stress relief is important because when the body is stressed, more cortisol, a hormone, is released at the expense of other hormones. Risk factors that may contribute to hormonal imbalance include smoking, hormonal birth control, and polycystic ovaries and/or breasts.
How a Functional Medicine Doctor can Help Restore Your Hormones
Unfortunately, a majority of women are living life with some level of hormone imbalance as they have come to accept the symptoms as normal signs of aging. Furthermore, traditional medicine does not offer much in the way of solutions. Conventional treatments for hormone imbalances usually leave people dependent on prescription drugs that mask the symptoms rather than addressing and treating the root cause. A functional medicine doctor will ask why the body is failing to produce and regulate proper hormone levels. Often times, the answer lies in a related system, such as the thyroid, showing just how important functional medicine is becoming in today’s healthcare system.
While there is no single test for doctors to diagnose a hormone imbalance, a functional medicine doctor may conduct both blood and saliva tests to determine different hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and cortisol. A detailed health history will also be conducted to determine whether there are any conditions that may be contributing to a hormonal imbalance, such as adrenal fatigue, a common cause of hormonal imbalance.
Treatment is dependent on the type of hormonal imbalance, but can include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in the form of a cream or injected pellets, including estrogen and/or testosterone, and thyroid therapy. In addition, a good diet and exercise regimen, as well as certain supplements can help to naturally restore and balance hormones.
CONTACT A DENVER HORMONE DOCTOR
J. Gruber Health Solutions in Denver, Colorado is a functional medicine practice focusing specifically on hormone health. Hormone health is about living better and Dr. Gruber can help you achieve that goal. Contact us today at 303-746-1964 to set up your consultation today!
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays important roles in the body. Though produced in both men and women, it is considered to be the “male hormone” and is found in much higher concentrations in men. It is responsible for many of the secondary characteristics in men like a deep voice and chest hair. It also regulates many aspects of daily life. Optimal testosterone levels have both physical and psychological benefits.
Why is Testosterone Important?
Testosterone helps maintain a number of important bodily functions, including sex drive, sperm production, muscle and bone mass, and fat distribution. Because testosterone affects so many things, its decrease can have a significant impact. Unfortunately, testosterone production typically decreases as you get older beginning at around age 30.
Causes of Low Testosterone/Low T
Common causes of low testosterone in men include chronic health conditions like diabetes, pituitary gland problems, or genetic disorders. Other causes include trauma to the testes or steroid use that actually prevent the testes from producing testosterone. Factors that may contribute to low testosterone include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, alcohol and drug use, and certain prescription medication.
Signs of Low Testosterone/Low T
Lower testosterone levels are associated with a poorer quality of life and men with low testosterone can experience a variety of symptoms. Effects include decreased muscle and bone mass, increased body fat, loss of aerobic capacity, extreme fatigue, mood changes such as decreased energy and increased irritability, loss of competitive drive, and hair loss. In addition, because testosterone fuels a man’s sex drive, if he is low on testosterone, he will likely become less interested in having sex. Many men believe that their loss of interest in sex is simply due to getting older; however, a reduced desire for sex and fewer erections are also a sign of low testosterone.
Low Testosterone/Low T Treatment
Proper diagnosis of low testosterone is important since many of the symptoms can be indicative of other medical problems. A functional medicine doctor will diagnose low testosterone based on a physical exam, a review of symptoms, and blood tests. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, all types of testosterone should be measured, including total, free, and bio-available, as well as estrogen and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Treatment includes restoring declining levels through the use of Bioidential Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). Types of treatments include topical creams, pellets that are inserted under the skin that slowly release testosterone, and subcutaneous or intramuscular injections. Once treatment begins, noticeable improvements usually occur within a few weeks. Continuous treatment and monitoring is required to maintain optimal levels.
Contact a Denver Low Testosterone/Low T Doctor
Dr. Jim Gruber at J. Gruber Health Solutions has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating men with low testosterone. We offer individualized health plans and a variety of bioidential hormone treatments to help restore your levels and maintain optimal wellness. Contact us today at 303-746-1964!
Low Libido Treatment Serving Denver, Colorado/Greenwood Village, CO
A decrease in sex drive is a condition that is unique in the fact that there is no definitive way to monitor it. Doctors have no gauge for what a “normal” sex drive should be, so it is defined differently with each and every patient whether they’re a man or a woman.
Only you can define what your natural desire for sexual relations should be, and as a result, only you can decide when it’s time to seek the help of a qualified professional.
If you’ve noticed a decrease in your libido, it could be due to a number of factors. The solution may be simple, as in the case where the culprit is a side effect from a medication you were prescribed. It could be the result of the physical and mental anguish that comes with dealing with an unrelated chronic pain, or it may be hormonal. We’ll explore some of the causes for a low libido in further detail below.
Low Libido in Women
It may be difficult for a woman to determine what is causing her loss of libido, because it is difficult to monitor when a loss actually occurs. Simply not wanting sex as often as your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sex drive is lacking, although if you’re desire is less than you think it should be, it may be time to contact someone for help.
Whether the cause is physical, psychological, or hormonal, our team can develop a treatment plan that restores your vigor to a level that meets your expectations.
Some physical and psychological causes for a diminished libido include:
- Pain during sex
- A preexisting condition such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure
- Side effects from medication
- Issues with your self-esteem
A diminished sex drive can also be caused by a drop in hormone levels. This can be due to natural phases of life such as menopause or breast feeding, or an unexpected hormonal imbalance. In the case of an imbalance, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be considered as a treatment option.
Low Libido in Men
Some people think that men should have no problem with their sex drive, and because of this, many men suffering from a diminished libido may keep the problem to themselves. The reality is that many men are suffering from the condition but may be too embarrassed to ask for help. The first step in treatment is to admit there is a problem. While there is no standard measurement for a healthy male sex drive, you have the power to determine when it isn’t what you think it should be.
There are a number of treatable factors that can lower your sex drive. Some of these include:
- Side effects from medications such as antidepressants or drugs for high blood pressure
- Poor sleep habits
- Erectile dysfunction
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Low testosterone
If you feel that you may be suffering from a loss of sex drive, we recommend that you keep a log of your experiences as well as any questions you may have. This information is vital in helping us determine a unique path to helping you improve your condition.
Our treatment plans may be a combination of lifestyle coaching, medical examinations and hormone therapy (BHRT).
Low Testosterone / Low T Treatments Serving Denver, Colorado / Greenwood Village, CO
Testosterone is the male hormone that is responsible for developing the testes during puberty. It contributes to male attributes such as facial hair and a deepened voice, while affecting a man’s libido and even his mood.
Symptoms of Low-Testosterone (Low-T)
After the age of 30, a man’s testosterone levels naturally begin to decrease. This regression is usually gradual and spread out over the rest of his life. In some cases though, the levels drop rapidly, which leads to a host of symptoms. Some of these may include:
- Diminished sexual desire
- Clinical depression
- Less energy
- Loss of bone density which will appear as a loss of height
- Decreased strength due to depleted muscle mass
- Weaker erections
- Obesity, type 2 diabetes, or problems with your thyroid
- Less semen during ejaculation
- Testicle shrinkage or numbness in the testicles
- Erectile dysfunction
Causes of Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Among the known causes of low testosterone, medical experts have defined three main factors. They believe the condition originates either in the testes, pituitary gland, or the hypothalamus of the brain. Low testosterone in relation to the testes can occur due to a number of reasons:
- Undescended testicles
- Injury to the testicles
- Cancer therapy in response to testicular cancer
- Contracting the mumps in puberty or adulthood because which leads to an inflammation of the testes
- Genetic conditions such as a chromosome abnormality
When low testosterone is a result of a condition in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, doctors may seek out one of the following:
- Damage to the pituitary gland caused by a tumor
- A malformed hypothalamus
- A decrease in blood flow to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus
- The existence of the HIV or AIDS virus because either one may inflame the pituitary gland or hypothalamus
We may also ask if you’ve used anabolic steroids or have been battling with obesity, because both factors can interfere with the body’s natural production of testosterone.
Low Testosterone Testing and Treatment at our Denver Low T Center
The first test our doctors will perform when you come into the office is a blood screening to determine where your testosterone levels are at. In some cases they may be already be dangerously low before any of the more serious symptoms have become apparent.
Whether your symptoms have begun to impair your quality of life or not, we always recommend that you pursue some type of treatment plan. Ignoring low testosterone can lead to more serious conditions over time such as a weakening of bone and muscle mass.
Menopause Treatment Serving Denver, Colorado / Greenwood Village, CO
Night Sweats? Insomnia? Depression?
Between the ages of 45 and 55, a woman’s ovaries stop producing new eggs and she is no longer able to get pregnant. At this stage of life, her body begins to produce less estrogen and as result, a gradual or sudden end to the menstrual cycle. This phenomenon is called menopause.
In some cases, menopause may be brought on by surgeries such as hysterectomy, or chemotherapy treatments used to fight cancer.
Symptoms of Menopause
No two women are the same, and the symptoms associated with menopause can vary in severity from person to person. In addition to a gradual reduction and loss of her period, woman going through menopause may also experience:
- Heart palpitations
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Diminished libido
- Memory lapses
- Mood swings such as irritability, depression, and anxiety
- Urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal infections
- Joint pain
The menopause experience can be a challenging one, but it doesn’t have to be faced alone. Although menopause is considered a natural stage of life rather than a medical condition, woman can still turn to their health care professionals for help in coping with symptoms of menopause.
The first step in any menopause treatment is to determine whether or not the symptoms experienced are actually caused by menopause. Urine and blood tests are typically used to check for declined hormone levels associated with the onset of menopause.
Hormone therapy can be used to treat symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. The process involves increasing the body’s estrogen levels through the use of oral medications, patches, or vaginal creams.
In addition to hormone therapy, doctors may recommend the use of antidepressants or blood pressure medication to control the symptoms associated with menopause.
Menopause Lifestyle Counseling
Lifestyle changes may be recommended to help you cope with the discomfort. Examples of positive lifestyle habits that can help make the process of menopause easier to handle include:
- To combat hot flashes, dress in layers and light clothing to help regulate your body temperature. Also, try to limit your consumption of hot beverages, spicy food, and alcohol
- Use vaginal lubricants, especially during intercourse, to deal with vaginal dryness
- Add Calcium and Vitamin D to your diet through food and supplements
- Maintain a regular dose of exercise and sleep
- Explore a range of relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga
Andropause / Male Menopause Treatment Serving Denver, Colorado / Greenwood Village, CO
Tired? Depressed? Decreased Libido?
Sometimes referred to as male menopause, andropause is a dramatic reduction in testosterone production that may occur in middle aged men.
The term male menopause is a bit misleading. While the onset of menopause in women can be quite sudden, men can start losing their testosterone as early as the age of 35. This gradual reduction means that the resulting symptoms of andropause can slowly build with time.
Doctors began studying the causes and effects of andropause as early as the 1940’s, but it has only begun to gain acceptance as a recognized condition by the medical community within the past few years.
Currently, about 25 million males between the ages of 40 and 55 may be suffering from an excessive loss of testosterone production otherwise known as andropause.
Andropause Symptoms and Causes
Some of the most common symptoms associated with Andropause include:
- Decreased libido
- Night sweats
- Limited ability to concentrate or stay focused
- Erectile dysfunction
It is still uncertain if these conditions are directly caused by low testosterone or if decreased production is simply a result of preexisting conditions. Doctors do believe that the factors are linked. For example, erectile dysfunction is usually the result of restricted arteries, but the condition is almost always accompanied by decreased levels of testosterone.
In a recent study of 2,100 men over the age of 45, the likeliness of low testosterone was:
- 2.4 times higher in obese men
- 2.1 times higher in men suffering from diabetes
- 1.8 times higher in men with high blood pressure
The most obvious therapy for treating the loss of testosterone levels is to increase them again through Testosterone Replacement Therapy or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). This increase can be received through a variety of methods. Some of them include:
- Injection directly into the blood stream
- Patches worn on the upper arm or inside the mouth
- Creams or gels that are absorbed into the skin
In addition to hormone therapy, patients may explore the use of herbal supplements and vitamins. Here are just a few options:
- Vitamins C and E
- Muira puama (a natural aphrodisiac)
- L-arginine (used to help maintain blood vessel tone)
- A diet rich in the following may also help:
- Low fat foods
- Tomato products (these are also know to reduce the risk of prostate cancer)
Decreasing alcohol consumption is also recommended, because excesses of alcohol lead to a build-up of the aromatase enzyme which converts testosterone into estrogen. Fat cells can also lead to aromatase enzymes, so treatment plans always include some form of an exercise regimen to counter these effects.