Hormones regulate the essential processes of our lives: growth, aging, reproduction and metabolism. Hormone levels fluctuate over the course of our lives, and as we age, our production of certain hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid) naturally decline. Menopause is defined the cessation of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months, and perimenopause is that period of a woman’s life as she approaches menopause. Andropause is an informal term referring to a set of effects related to the slow decline of the hormones testosterone and DHEA(dehydroepiandrosterone) in middle-aged men.
These ‘pauses’ – the natural reductions of hormone levels with age – play a major role in many common complaints that arise in our middle years:
- Loss of strength/endurance – testosterone
- Emotional instability – testosterone, estrogen, thyroid
- Loss of cognitive function/short term memory – estrogen, thyroid
- Low energy – thyroid
- Weight gain – testosterone, thyroid
In the most blunt terms, aging of the human body can be characterized as growing ‘fatter, drier, shorter, and slower’. These physiological changes are normal – no one expects a 70 year-old to beat a 20 year-old in a footrace, a wrestling match, or a swimsuit competition – but most of us want to stay as fit as we can, for as long as we can. Hormonal balancing – replacing what our body is no longer producing on its own – can help us manage some of the more unpleasant functional declines of the natural aging process.
Bio-identical hormone therapy is not a cure-all. But in conjunction with positive changes in nutrition and lifestyle it provides a viable alternative to many pharmaceutical therapies, and has produced good results in restoring people to their former vitality.