When I was 49, I started to notice symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and a general sense of being “off.” Tired of the traditional medical route (otherwise known as “let’s just give you a bunch of prescriptions”) I decided to try a facility in Delray Beach that focuses on an integrative and natural approach to wellness. Too many times I had face planted in the doctor’s office and been offered a handful of prescriptions to manage my symptoms. Not believing this is the best way, I always seek out more natural solutions to health challenges.
I scouted around and found a functional clinic close to home and quickly scheduled my appointment at the biostation. Because it is important to start with the “truth” about where your health really is, I was set up with a full blood panel. This particular blood panel would look at traditional markers, plus hormones, food sensitivities and vitamin levels. I knew, because of my age, my hormones were likely to be a little wonky.
I sat in the office of the biostation’s medical director, Dr. Martin Bloom, and listened as he walked me through my hormone findings. Everything sounded familiar: “You are estrogen dominant, your progesterone is starting to get low, all pretty typical for someone your age.” But then he added, “Your testosterone levels are very low, so I’m recommending we supplement your levels.”
Wait…what?? I need testosterone?
I thought that was for dudes and mostly when they needed their downstairs departments to take the elevator up. And, of course, it is, but testosterone is also necessary for women. It’s a vital hormone that can lead to improved libido, energy and fitness outcomes.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, testosterone supplements benefit women whose testosterone levels fall after hysterectomy or menopause. When they treated women post-hysterectomy with supplemental testosterone, the researchers reported across-the-board improvements in sexual function, muscle mass, and physical function.
As I have had a hysterectomy, I had quite a few questions for Dr. Bloom:
I had no idea women would need to supplement testosterone. Why do women need this?
Dr. Bloom: At menopause, women naturally experience declines in testosterone. That decline may be correlated to a reduced libido, loss of lean body mass and low energy. Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy may also benefit sexual function in certain perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
What’s the difference between synthetic and bioidentical hormones (BHR)?
Unlike synthetic hormones developed in a laboratory, bioidentical hormones are derived from plant sources. These hormones are extremely safe compared to the alternative. Their chemical structure exactly mimics that of the body’s own hormones. This is crucial, since it means the body’s hormone receptors process bioidentical hormones easily. That, in turn, accelerates the positive effects of treatment and reduces the likelihood of side effects.
What are the methods in which these BHR can be administered?
Depending on your needs, you may be able to use patches, creams, or pellet therapy.
For me, Dr. Bloom recommended the bioidentical testosterone pellet, a small white cylinder containing bioidentical hormones in the appropriate dosages. It is implanted into my hip using a tiny skin incision. The medication is released over time in a way that works harmoniously with the body’s systems and prompts optimal response. I was told I should see immediate effects and that the hormones would stay in my body for three to four months. This depends entirely on my individual body and how the hormones are absorbed. The pellet method is appropriate for both men and women.
At this time, insurance does not cover this type procedure, but I’m hoping as we get smarter about maintaining our overall health and focusing on longevity, this will change and insurance companies will begin to cover proven methods of anti-aging.
A month after my pellet implant, here’s my update:
- The incision healed very quickly and did not disrupt any major activities.
- I noticed an almost immediate increase in energy. I seem to be able to do more physical activity with less fatigue.
- Sleep has always been a problem for me and I was nervous the testosterone might actually make sleep more challenging, but I haven’t noticed any major changes.
- Being single at the moment, I haven’t tested the waters for sexual energy and function, but I have noticed that I’m pondering on it a bit more…. (Keep you posted)
Feeling wonky? Call the biostation and schedule your blood labs.
3100 S. Federal Highway, Suite J, Delray Beach; 561/-257-3497; thebiostation.com