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Understanding Ozone Therapy for Healing

When your hormones are depleted or imbalanced, you can experience many horrible side effects ranging from weight gain and muscle loss to fatigue, mood swings, menopause symptoms, low sex drive, and more. 


When applied properly, hormone therapy, which either adds, blocks, or removes hormones, is a life changer and can even be a lifesaver.


In this article, we will discuss the basics of hormone therapy with a focus on the many issues hormone therapy can treat. 


Hormone Therapy: What It Is and How It Works

Hormone therapy, often referred to as hormone replacement therapy or HRT is a prescription medical treatment used to correct hormonal imbalances or deficiencies in men and women that stem from a wide variety of underlying conditions, medical conditions, aging, natural life changes, and other underlying factors.


Hormone therapy is typically used to supplement or replace hormones that are deficient or out of balance in the body. This helps restore hormonal levels to a more optimal range, which in turn can alleviate a wide range of annoying symptoms that bottomed-out or imbalanced hormones can cause.


Additionally, hormone therapy can also provide long-term health benefits, such as improving bone density, enhancing mood and cognitive function, and reducing the risk of certain chronic conditions. 


Hormone therapy can involve taking only one hormone or various combinations of hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Your hormone therapy treatment plan is based on the results of a medical evaluation and blood work performed by a specialized hormone therapy provider.


Hormones are administered through various methods that might include pills, creams, patches, injections, and possibly even pellets. Each HRT method has different pros and cons. 


Your HRT provider can help you decide which hormone therapy delivery method is best for your condition and lifestyle.


What Hormone Therapy Treats

Hormone therapy is probably most known for its use in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women and boosting testosterone in men. However, hormones can become unbalanced or depleted at any age due to a wide range of environmental and medical issues, and there are many types of hormone therapy and replacement other than estrogen and testosterone.


Regardless of the root cause of hormone issues, there are many issues that hormone therapy can treat. Here is a list of some of the most common: 


Menopause/Early Menopause

As women approach and enter menopause, their bodies produce less estrogen and progesterone, leading to a range of uncomfortable symptoms. This hormonal decline can start during perimenopause, the transition phase before menopause, and continue through menopause.


During this life phase, hormone therapy can be incredibly beneficial. By giving the body the hormones it is lacking, HRT can help manage and significantly reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms.


After hormone therapy, most women find drastic relief from common menopause symptoms, including:

  • Low libido 
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight gain 
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood changes (depression, irritability, fatigue, etc.) 

Hormone therapy can not only help alleviate symptoms, but it can also help prevent long-term health issues associated with hormonal imbalances that can come about because of menopause, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.


Weight Management Issues

If you’ve been busting your butt in the gym and know you are eating in a calorie deficit but are still not losing weight, or even worse, gaining weight, chances are your hormones are to blame. 


No matter how much you diet and exercise, if your hormones are out of balance, you will most likely struggle to lose fat and keep it off.


For example, if your testosterone levels are low (which can happen to both men and women), you will likely struggle to keep or build fat-burning lean muscle, store more fat in your mid-section, not sleep very well (which is a significant root cause of weight gain), and suffer from fatigue that leads you to skip physical activity.


If estrogen is too high, you might experience increased fat storage, particularly around the hips and thighs, and water retention. In contrast, if it is too low, you could face issues such as a slower metabolism and increased abdominal fat.


Progesterone also plays a part in weight management. Low levels of progesterone can lead to water retention, bloating, and increased appetite. It can also cause mood swings and depression, which might result in emotional eating. Furthermore, progesterone helps balance estrogen’s effects, and an imbalance between these hormones can contribute to weight gain.

Other hormones, such as thyroid hormones, can also impact weight, which we will discuss a little further down. 


Muscle Loss/Wasting

If you have an autoimmune disease or other condition where you experience muscle wasting, HRT can help preserve muscle mass and improve strength. Additionally, people often lose muscle due to general aging. This is almost always due to declining levels of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.


Testosterone plays a crucial role in building and maintaining muscle mass in both men and women. Low testosterone levels can lead to muscle wasting, decreased strength, and increased fat accumulation. Testosterone hormone therapy can help get your test levels back into an ideal range so you are able to maintain or put on lean muscle mass. 


Estrogen also contributes to muscle health, particularly in women. Low estrogen levels, often seen during perimenopause and menopause, can lead to decreased muscle mass and strength. HRT can help restore estrogen levels, supporting muscle function and reducing the risk of age-related muscle loss. 


There are other growth and anabolic hormones that contribute to muscle maintenance. Your HRT provider will also check these levels to see if other forms of hormone therapy are needed to further support muscle health.


Endocrine Disorders 

Hormone therapy is often used to manage various endocrine diseases, which are conditions that affect the body’s hormone-producing glands. These diseases can lead to either overproduction or underproduction of hormones, causing many health issues. 


Here are the most common endocrine disorders where hormone therapy is often used: 

  • Hypogonadism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Disease 
  • Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Growth Hormone Deficiency
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Hormone therapy for endocrine diseases all have the same goal of restoring balance. However, exactly which hormones are used to achieve this is very individual. Additionally, there is often an underlying issue that is causing the endocrine disruption. Once that is corrected, we’ve found many of these issues (especially thyroid disorders) tend to resolve or significantly improve.


Issues Sleeping

Sleep issues almost always have an underlying root cause. They can stem from anxiety and stress, poor bedtime routines, adrenal issues, or alcohol or drug use. But they can also be due to an underlying hormone issue.


For instance, low levels of testosterone can lead to sleep disturbances. There is also an association between low testosterone levels and sleep apnea. In women, declining levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause hot flashes and night sweats, disrupting sleep.


Those are only a few examples of how imbalance hormones could be the root cause of your sleep issues. Addressing these hormonal imbalances through hormone therapy can significantly improve sleep quality and quantity. 


Heart Conditions and High Blood Pressure

Hormone therapy can offer significant benefits for heart health by addressing hormonal imbalances that contribute to cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and high blood pressure. 


As people age, declining hormone levels, especially estrogen in women, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hormones also influence blood pressure regulation. Imbalances, particularly low levels of estrogen and testosterone, can contribute to high blood pressure.


By balancing or restoring hormone levels, HRT can help promote a healthier heart and circulatory system. 


Cancer

Hormone therapy is often used as part of a treatment plan for certain types of cancer, as it is shown to help control cancer growth and improve survival rates. The two most common cancers in which HRT is used are breast and prostate cancer,

In breast cancer treatment, hormone therapy is often used to block the effects of hormones that fuel the growth of cancer cells. This typically involves drugs that either lower estrogen levels or block estrogen receptors in cancer cells.


For prostate cancer treatment, the goal is to lower testosterone levels, which can fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the primary hormone therapy used for prostate cancer and can involve medications or surgical procedures to reduce testosterone production or block its effects. 


Bone Loss

In postmenopausal women, declining estrogen levels contribute significantly to bone loss, increasing your chance of osteoporosis. Similarly, aging men may experience declines in testosterone levels, which also contribute to bone loss.

Hormone therapy can help address these hormonal imbalances, mitigate bone loss, and help prevent osteoporosis.


When is Hormone Therapy Recommended? 

If you have a condition that is known to benefit from hormone therapy or are having symptoms of imbalanced hormones that impact your quality of life, a consultation with a hormone therapy expert should be considered to determine if hormone therapy is your best course of treatment. 


There are many signs that you might need hormone therapy However, recognizing the signs of a hormone imbalance or deficiency can be tricky, as they can be easily written off as something else and vary depending on which hormones are affected.

However, there are some common symptoms that people with any hormone imbalance tend to experience. Here are some of the red flags to watch for that might indicate you need hormone replacement therapy:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Low libido
  • Memory fog
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased thirst

You should see a qualified hormone expert if you have one or more of the above symptoms. They will perform a medical evaluation and order extensive blood work to determine if HRT is the best route. Once your results are back, if your hormones are not in an ideal range, they will discuss the possible root causes and options you have for hormone therapy treatment.  


Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Covered by Insurance? 

Coverage for hormone therapy varies depending on your insurance plan and whether or not your healthcare provider accepts insurance. Sometimes, if HRT is deemed medically necessary for conditions like menopause symptoms or hormone-related disorders, it may be covered.


However, coverage specifics, including the types of medications and treatments, can differ between plans. The only way to know if HRT is covered by your insurance is to check your plan details or consult with your insurance provider directly.


How Long Does It Take for Hormone Therapy to Work? 

Hormone therapy is not one-size-fits-all. It requires a very personalized treatment approach. Factors such as age, overall health, hormone levels, and treatment adherence are only a few things that can influence how quickly it takes for your hormones to balance out and symptoms to disappear.


For example, if you are seeking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or night sweats, many women experience relief within a few weeks of starting treatment. Similarly, those receiving testosterone therapy for hypogonadism typically notice improvements in energy levels, mood, and libido within only a few weeks. 


However, for chronic hormone deficiencies, it might take longer for the effects of hormone treatment to become noticeable. It can also take some trial and error with dosage and delivery method. Exactly why it is crucial that you only receive hormone therapy treatment from a provider that is highly educated in hormone therapy and always attend follow-up appointments to have your hormone levels monitored. 


Is Hormone Therapy Safe? 

Yes! Hormone therapy is generally considered safe when properly prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional experienced in hormone therapy. Many hormone therapies, including those for menopause and other hormonal imbalances, have also received FDA approval, ensuring they meet strict safety and efficacy standards.


While some studies have raised concerns about the long-term use of hormone therapy, particularly regarding heart disease and cancer, these risks are generally low when the therapy is appropriately prescribed and managed.


Moreover, any potential side effects of hormone therapy are far outweighed by the benefits, not only in reducing symptoms but also in cutting the risk of serious health problems that can arise from hormonal imbalances.


Where To Get Hormone Therapy

Finding the right provider for hormone therapy is crucial for ensuring safe and effective treatment. 

First, you should never purchase hormones online or from unverified sources. This is very dangerous, as you cannot guarantee the quality, dosage, or safety of the hormones. Always seek hormone therapy from a reputable medical clinic specializing in hormone health.


You should also consider getting hormone therapy from a medical clinic that specializes specifically in hormone health, such as Relieve Health. Unlike your primary care doctor and even some OB/GYNs, medical clinics that specialize in hormone therapy for men and women are typically staffed with healthcare providers that focus solely on hormone health. 


These providers typically have a better understanding of how hormones work, how they are all connected, and the root causes of many hormone imbalances. They are also usually more current on the latest advancements in HRT and best practices—all things that can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and improved outcomes.


If you’re considering hormone therapy, choosing a specialized clinic, such as Relive Health, ensures you receive the expert care needed to achieve optimal hormone balance and overall well-being.


At Relieve Health, our mission is to help you enhance your health and well-being from the inside out. Click here to find a Relive Health clinic near you to book a consultation and find out if hormone therapy is the right solution for you.