New Study: Hot Flashes Occur for 7 – 12 years Through Menopause
A study found that the average duration of hot flashes for women usually last around 7.4 years. Wow! That is a long time to flush randomly and at inopportune times. The study also showed that if a woman experiences frequent and early symptoms, the symptoms are likely to continue for nearly 12 years and 10 of those years are after their last period. African-Americans experience symptoms for the longest (10.1 years), and Asian populations typically have the shortest (5 years). If you experience anxiety or depression, these symptoms are likely to be more severe.
Bio-identical hormone replacement can help women suffering from these symptoms by replacing the natural hormones that were created by the ovaries prior to menopause. Your ovaries were responsible for creating the vast majority of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone until menopause. Therefore, after menopause, we can help you restore your natural hormone balance using the same hormones that your ovaries produced: Estrogens (Estradiol and Estriol), Progesterone, and Testosterone. This form of hormonal replacement is much different than synthetic hormones like Premarin and Prempro. Bioidentical hormones are identical to your own human hormones.
There are several ways to get your hormone levels up using bioidentical hormones. You can use implanted pellets, creams, or dissolving tablets. Let me tell you briefly about each one.
- Implantable pellets: Bioidentical hormone pellets is an easy way to maintain hormonal levels without worry or hassle. It is an office-based procedure where hormone pellets are implanted beneath the skin of the hip through a very small incision (the size of a pen). The body slowly dissolves the pellets over the following 4-6 months maintaining a very smooth hormonal level. Then, new pellets are inserted 4-6 months later. Some offices only implant testosterone pellets, and the other hormones must still be taken by the other methods below. However, we usually implant all necessary hormones under the skin unless the patient chooses otherwise. Many women elect to continue taking progesterone capsules since it aids in sleep.
Advantages: You do not have to mess with creams, dissolving tablets, or pills. Zero risk of transferring hormones to loved ones. Smooth hormone levels without fluctuations. Immediate hormone restoration.
Disadvantages: Pellet procedure every 4 months. The skin is achy for 1-2 days after procedure. Costs more ($350 per insertion is our current price). It takes 1 or 2 cycles to get hormones perfectly balanced.
- Creams: Bioidentical hormone creams are applied to the skin. There are several do’s and don’ts when using hormone creams, but the truth is it doesn’t matter so much where or how you apply it – as long as it gets into your bloodstream! I tell most people to apply the cream to their forearms, thighs, or other muscular areas. I always recommend rotating sites to get better absorptions, especially if testosterone is in the cream. Unless you like new dark hairs sprouting wherever you apply the cream.
Advantages: Easy to apply.
Disadvantages: Volatile absorption. Some women do not absorb creams very well, and they require frequent dose changes. You can also spread your hormone to other people if they touch you within 2 hours of application. This may not be such a bad idea if you want your husband to get in touch with his feminine side.
- Dissolving tablets: Bioidentical hormone rapidly dissolving tablets (RDT), also called Trochi, are an excellent way to get hormones into your system. These tablets MUST be dissolved. I discourage all women from swallowing any hormones except progesterone as it causes inflammation and increases risk of blood clotting. These dissolving tablets quickly get your levels to goal and are easy to adjust.
Advantages: Easy to take: Dissolve 1 pill per day. Great absorption. Quick acting. Cannot spread to others (unless you make-out with someone immediately after dissolving).
Disadvantages: Some dissolving tablets taste bad. They cannot be swallowed. Testing hormone levels must be timed with the dissolving tablet. You must dissolve your tablet 3-6 hours before giving a blood sample. You cannot do salivary hormone testing with dissolving tablets.