Ask the Expert, Dr. Hilda Maldonado: Does Hormone Balance equate to needing hormone replacement?
Hormone balance does not always equate to needing hormone replacement. In reality this is a very individualized decision and multiple factors must be considered. The reasons for these choices vary from person to person, and it can change for the same individual based on age and lifestyle choices at different stages in life.
Sometimes there are contraindications for replacement, regardless of the indications and vice versa. Some well-known contraindications to estrogen and or testosterone products or byproducts include a family or personal history of conditions like breast or prostate cancer. The irony is that these conditions usually emerge as a result of a weakened immune system, and sex hormone (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) imbalances are often at the root of such weakness. In addition, if a person is thyroid deficient, adrenally deficient, has excess insulin or has vitamin D deficiency, they are compromising their immune system and in turn, increasing their risk for chronic disease.
It is important to focus on attaining proper hormone “rhythm” and immune system “harmony” and preserve a strong brain, bones and immune and cardiovascular system. Avoiding environmental hormone disruptors and learning how to eat in order to preserve hormonal health is crucial, whether you choose to replace or not. When replacing, it is best to choose bio-identical products. Be aware that any form of oral estrogen whether bio-identical or not, is not beneficial for your cardiovascular system, as it increases inflammatory markers. Transdermal or transmucosal estrogen replacement does not have this detrimental effect. Oral testosterone should always be avoided as it can increase the risk for liver problems. Progesterone can be used either orally, transdermally or transmucosally. When replacing hormones, the goal should be to remain within physiologic levels and avoid excesses that can result in side effects.
The bottom line is that we cannot live healthy and vibrant lives without hormone balance and we deteriorate when our hormones decline. Become educated and empowered. Understand that you have choices and a say on your wellness care decisions.
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