Hormones are important chemical messengers working in the body, telling our organs and cells how to function. Around the age of thirty, the human body begins to decrease its hormone production. As hormones continue to decline with each passing year, the symptoms of aging steadily increase. It turns out that many of the symptoms we attribute to aging – memory loss, lack of energy, decrease in sex drive, inability to lose weight, decreased bone density – are actually symptoms that can be linked to hormone depletion. And while synthetic hormones have, for good reason, received a bad rap, bioidentical hormones are ready to help.
For over two decades, Dr. Bradley Calobrace has been helping patients reclaim a more youthful appearance through successful plastic surgery. Now that his Louisville practice offers hormone replacement therapy, he feels he is truly able to help his patients reclaim a youthful life as well. “Our philosophy in our practice has always been to make our patients happier and healthier,” says Calobrace, adding, “hormones help them to live healthier, better lives.”
Bioidentical Hormones Vs. Synthetic Hormones
In 2002 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) released findings of a large scale study done on hormone replacement therapy. The investigators found that the associated health risks of hormone therapy outweighed the possible health benefits. These findings, however, do not apply to bioidentical hormones. Unlike synthetic hormones – created to mimic the effects of natural hormones on the body – bioidentical hormones have the exact same chemical structure as the hormones produced naturally by the body.
“They came out in 2002 and said, ‘Hey, hormones are scary, they are dangerous. They increase our risk of heart disease and strokes.’ Well, it really wasn’t hormones,” clarifies Dr. Calobrace. “It was synthetic hormones. Our body knows exactly how to use natural hormones. We only use hormones that are identical to the body’s, called bioidentical hormones. They are safer.They actually don’t increase our risk of stroke, they reduce it. They don’t increase our risk of heart attacks, they reduce our risk of heart attacks. I don’t believe in synthetic hormones, I don’t think they benefit patients, but bioidentical hormones, like BioTE, are very beneficial.”
Bioidentical hormones can reduce the risk of:
- heart attack
Bioidentical hormones can increase:
- mental clarity
What is BioTE?
Unlike other hormone replacement therapies administered through messy creams, transdermal patches, or orally in pill form, BioTE hormones are uniquely delivered through small time-release pellets that are inserted just below the skin.
First, Dr. Calobrace uses a fine needle to numb the area just above the buttock. Next, he makes a small incision to insert the pellet, approximately the size of a grain of rice. After a small bandage is applied, the patient is free to leave and resume normal daily activities.
Within a few days, the hormones begin to start working. The patient can enjoy a steady, even dose of bioidentical hormones for up to five months at a time with each in-office procedure. Symptom relief typically begins within the first week, although it can take up to three weeks for some first-time patients.
Who is a Good Candidate for Bioidentical Hormones?
The first step toward determining potential hormone deficiencies is a blood test. While the lab results provide a starting point for creating a treatment plan, a consultation is equally important in order for the doctor to get a full picture of the symptoms each patient is experiencing on a daily basis. “I always say, we’re not looking for normal hormone levels, we’re looking for optimal hormone levels in our practice,” says Calobrace. “If you optimize the hormones, patients go back to living a much more youthful life. They feel better, they have energy, libido and their health is going to be better.”
Both men and women can benefit from bioidentical hormones. “Women, they lose their estrogen as they go through menopause. The perimenopausal time is very difficult because the estrogen and progesterone are up and down,” explains Calobrace. “We know that men, as they start to turn thirty and on up into forty and fifty, their testosterone level goes down each year. And they start to feel it. They feel the loss of libido and energy and mental clarity.”
Interestingly, men aren’t the only ones who need testosterone. While the amount of testosterone women need is only a small fraction of the amount of testosterone men need, it still plays a vital role in providing energy, providing mental clarity and boosting the sex drive.