Hormone Myths Debunked
Hormone replacement therapy (also known as HRT) has been around for longer than many people realize.
It started back in the 1960s with estrogen replacement for women who suffered from symptoms of menopause. Today HRT includes the replacement of several important hormones and is available to women and men.
It’s unfortunate that for the past 50 to 60 years the myths surrounding hormone therapy have been more prevalent than the actual truths. Even more unfortunate is that these myths have prevented countless people from gaining the long-term health benefits that properly monitored HRT can provide.
We think it’s time these myths were debunked. To that end, here’s the truth about some of the biggest myths regarding HRT.
Myth #1: Hormone Therapy Isn’t “Natural”
Ever wonder why you felt your best during your 20s? The answer is simple: This is when most people experience optimum natural hormone production.
However, that optimal production doesn’t last all that long. In fact, hormone production can begin to decline as soon as the late 20s or early 30s. The symptoms that result are weight gain, less energy, and lower motivation…to mention just a few.
If you believe the myth that hormone therapy isn’t “natural”, it’s likely that you also believe age-related hormone decline is just a fact of life. In other words…it happens to everyone…it’s unavoidable…people should just deal with it.
Well… we agree with the part about age-related hormone decline happening to everyone and being unavoidable. A reduction in hormones produced by the body will happen to every human eventually, and no one escapes it.
What we object to is the “just deal with it” mentality. This notion made sense decades ago when the average human’s lifespan barely exceeded optimal hormone production. But today, people can reasonably expect to live into their 80s and longer.
The other part of this has to do with options. There was a time when HRT wasn’t available at all. Then it was available…but only synthetic hormones were used, and they were available only to women. Today we have bioidentical hormones at our disposal. What’s important to know about bioidentical hormones is that they are an exact carbon copy of what the human body produces naturally. We can also optimize more than just estrogen today, and treatment is available to both women and men.
The bottom line is that the human body works best when hormones are present in optimal amounts…regardless of age. Properly administered bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (or BHRT) can help to keep you healthy and feeling your best, no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake.
Myth #2: Hormone Therapy is Just for Menopausal Women
It is true that HRT originated as a treatment for women suffering from symptoms of menopause (like hot flashes and weight gain).
But BHRT is about much more than just replacing estrogen in today’s world. Today BHRT can be used to successfully treat imbalances in several hormones.
Also, it is no longer necessary for women to wait until they reach menopause to take advantage of BHRT, nor is it necessary for women to stop BHRT at some arbitrary point. BHRT can effectively contribute to overall health while combatting the symptoms associated with perimenopause (i.e. the years leading up to menopause), as well as menopause and post-menopause.
And as noted previously…HRT is no longer just for women. Men can enjoy the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (also known as TRT), as well as replacement of other hormones.
Myth #3: Hormone Therapy Increases Your Risk for Health Issues
For years, there have been inaccurate reports suggesting that HRT is associated with various health issues.
In particular, the Women’s Health Initiative Study that was conducted during the 1990s purported to show a link between HRT and an increased incidence of breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and stroke. However, the study had several flaws, including the following:
- Most of the women in the study were at least 10 years post-menopause. We now know that women have better outcomes when they start hormone therapy earlier.
- The women in the study took synthetic hormones exclusively. Quality research is clear that synthetic hormones are unhealthy for women. Only bioidentical hormones should be used for hormone therapy.
- Most of the women in the study were overweight, putting them at an increased risk for the health conditions mentioned above, with or without hormone therapy.
- A whopping 42% of the women participating in the study dropped out of the study prematurely, skewing the results.
It’s also worth noting that the Women’s Health Initiative Study was funded by a pharmaceutical company that produced the synthetic hormones being taken by the study’s subjects.
There were also a couple of highly publicized studies conducted several years ago that concluded TRT was detrimental to cardiovascular health in men. Both studies were flawed to where their results were ultimately rendered meaningless.
The good news is this: Numerous quality studies that were properly designed and executed have shown that BHRT for women and TRT for men are both safe and beneficial when administered properly.
Myth #4: Over-the-Counter Remedies Work Just as Well as HRT
Several non-prescription products—often herbal in nature—claim to effectively treat the symptoms of age-related hormone imbalance. This is just false.
Good examples include over-the-counter estrogen derivatives for women (that don’t contain any actual estrogen) and “testosterone boosters” for men (that don’t contain any actual testosterone).
While consumers will sometimes get short-term symptom relief from taking these products (likely due to a placebo effect), the benefits are typically short-lived (if there are any benefits at all).
Myth #5: Hormone Replacement Therapy Doesn’t Work
Like any therapy, HRT must be administered correctly to be effective. Furthermore, administering HRT properly is a more nuanced process than what a lot of people—even doctors who lack experience with it—often realize. It’s important to work with a provider who has expertise in bioidentical HRT specifically.
The negative results encountered by some people can almost always be traced to HRT regimens that aren’t executed properly. Problems can include:
- An absence of detailed pre-treatment consultation.
- Use of synthetic hormones rather than bioidentical hormones.
- Improper methods of administration.
- Incomplete treatment regimens.
- A failure to use the correct hormones in the correct amounts.
- Insufficient oversight by way of routine lab testing and monitoring of symptoms.
- Failure to tailor treatment to each person’s unique physiologic needs.
- Periodic re-evaluation to ensure dosing is adjusted as needed.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Since 1999, Renew Youth has helped women and men to achieve their healthy aging goals through customized bioidentical hormone therapy. We’re proud to be leaders and pioneers when it comes to BHRT.
Are you ready to discover a new and healthier you? Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your free consultation.