What Are the Common Side Effects of Hormone Therapy?
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
The aging process brings about several changes that we’d all rather do without. Lower energy levels, redistributions of body weight, and lower sex drive all combine to make many people feel downright slow as they get older, particularly as they hit menopause or enter their 50s.
While medical science can’t yet fully turn back the biological clock, many people are turning to hormone therapy to alleviate several aging symptoms, to restore sex drives, or to benefit from the other major advantages that quality hormone replacement therapy can induce.
But while hormone therapy can be a great treatment for a variety of conditions, it’s important to understand the potential side effects that you may experience should you decide to get this treatment.
Some basic side effects that may occur include night sweats, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, and high blood pressure.
Let’s break down the common side effects of hormone therapy in detail.
Who Uses Hormone Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is a relatively common service provided by wellness clinics and medical centers across America.
This versatile therapy can be used for a variety of things, although most people start taking hormone replacement or optimization therapies in middle age. It can also be used for those who experience muscle weakness.
Specifically, women may choose to pursue hormone replacement therapy during or after menopause. During menopause, levels of estrogen can drop sharply. As women’s primary sex hormone, estrogen affects a variety of bodily functions, including energy levels, sex drive, and more.
Less estrogen can feel uncomfortable and lead to mood swings, body changes, and more. Therefore, some women choose to pursue hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen levels to near premenopausal levels.
Men do not experience menopause, but they still experience a dramatic dip in testosterone levels during middle age. When this occurs, they may also experience symptoms like decreased sex drive, decreased energy, hair loss, and more.
Replacing decreased testosterone levels with synthetic testosterone can help to relieve many of these symptoms, boosting energy and libido and providing other beneficial effects.
Although these are the two most common uses for hormone replacement therapy, doctors may also prescribe this treatment for:
- Cancer treatments (as a subsidiary or side treatment to radiation therapy, not the primary solution)
- Counteracting bone mass loss
Because most healthy adult bodies in their 20s and 30s produce enough testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones, young adults do not typically need hormone replacement therapy.
Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization Therapy
There are different types of HRT available. Most common HRT services provide synthetic hormones through injections, which add a massive amount of synthetic hormones to the body very quickly. While this can be beneficial in certain ways by dramatically increasing hormone levels rapidly, it can also eventually lead the body to produce less natural testosterone or estrogen over time.
This may eventually lead to a cumulative effect that forces the person to take HRT regularly for the rest of their lives.
At Next|Health, we’ve pioneered a new type of HRT we call Hormone Optimization. Ideal for men or women who need more testosterone, our Hormone Optimization Therapy uses capsules instead of injections.
These capsules release synthetic testosterone into the body progressively rather than all at once. The benefits received are therefore experienced over a more balanced timeframe. Additionally, the body’s ability to produce natural testosterone is not affected.
We also produce bioidentical testosterone for each of our patients. In this way, testosterone is accepted and absorbed by the body more readily than other types of synthetic hormones.
Our Hormone Optimization Therapy is one of our most popular services for men or women looking to increase libido, boost energy, decreased swings, and more. One of our wellness specialists can discuss whether this therapy is a good choice for your needs.
The Benefits of Hormone Optimization
Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization therapy may be able to provide numerous benefits for women alike.
As described above, hormone production typically tapers off starting in the 30s and gradually becomes more severe throughout the 40s and 50s. But hormone imbalances can occur at any stage of life due to lack of sleep, poor nutrition, stressful lifestyle circumstances, and more.
Regardless, hormone optimization can induce wide-ranging results. Normally, our body produces very small amounts of hormones within individual cells. Therefore, even low-dose hormone replacements can make big changes.
In then, hormone optimization or replacement can assist with:
- Loss of vitality and energy
- Lower physical stamina
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Loss of morning erections
In women, hormone optimization can assist with:
- Many symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes
- Hair thinning
- Mood swings and depression
- Dry/painful intercourse
- Low libido
Whether you’ll see all these benefits is contingent on the current levels of hormones throughout your body. One of our wellness specialists or your doctor will be able to analyze hormone levels in your blood and determine whether additional hormones will be overall beneficial.
Are There Risks to Hormone Therapy?
Although many doctors now agree that hormone therapy is safe for adults with otherwise healthy bodies, there are a few risks associated with this therapy. Side effects are typically minimal, although they can become more dangerous under certain circumstances.
Common risks for any type of hormone replacement therapy include:
- An increased risk for heart disease
- Blood clots
- Increased risk for breast cancer (if estrogen is the hormone being replaced, not testosterone)
- Swelling of various tissues, such as the breasts
- Headaches and migraines
- Vomiting and nausea
- Vaginal bleeding
Are Side Effects Common?
Although the above side effects are possible, they are not especially common. Most people who undergo HRT are examined before receiving the treatment. The screening identifies any potential risk for side effects so that individuals can go into the therapy knowing fully what to expect.
Furthermore, certain types of hormone therapies are better received than others. As mentioned, Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization uses bioidentical testosterone pellets.
As a result, you may experience fewer side effects using this therapy than pursuing another treatment.
However, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor and one of our wellness specialists before undergoing any intense treatment, particularly one that can affect your body as radically as hormone therapy.
Furthermore, you might consider taking a baseline test before beginning any type of hormone replacement treatment. A baseline test can analyze the levels of testosterone, estrogen, and other key hormones in your body, letting you know whether hormone replacement therapy is a good idea in the first place.
Does HRT Cause Cancer?
No. Although the research did, at one point, link various HRT therapies to breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer, this research was eventually found to not be thorough enough.
Indeed, most doctors these days note that hormone therapy can be effective at treating several different conditions. It does not carry an undue risk for cancer in general, although certain hormone therapies may induce a slightly higher risk for breast cancer because of the types of hormones they use or the levels at which they boost estrogen.
Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization Therapy avoids this risk and does not boost estrogen levels at all. However, this does make Hormone Optimization less potentially effective for treating various postmenopausal symptoms than other types of hormone therapy.
Does HRT Cause Weight Gain?
It can, but this is dependent on lifestyle and dietary habits as well as opposed to hormones alone. Many individuals experience weight gain in middle age due to lower hormone production. But restoring testosterone or estrogen to pre-dip levels can sometimes cause weight gain as the body’s weight-storing processes fluctuate.
This is highly variable depending on the individual, however. Some people may find that hormone therapy causes a dramatic decrease in overall weight as metabolism increases and their bodies burn fat more quickly.
Your doctor or wellness specialist may be able to provide more insight into whether weight gain is a likely side effect for your case.
How Can You Know Whether Hormone Replacement or Optimization is Right for You?
Ultimately, your best bet for determining whether HRT or Hormone Optimization is right for you is discussing your options with your primary doctor and our specialist at one of our clinics.
But hormones play a big role in all types of bodily functions and processes. Adding new hormones to the mix will undoubtedly result in side effects or changes you may not have anticipated or desired.
Being fully prepared before taking your HRT or pursuing our Hormone Optimization is key to having a good experience and knowing whether it’s a good treatment altogether.
Want to investigate our Hormone Optimization Therapy more, or have questions about the specific process? Feel free to contact us today or visit one of our clinics at various locations. Our wellness specialists will be happy to discuss hormone therapy at length and put to rest any concerns you might have.