After a certain age, our bodies’ repair processes become challenged. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is one of the fastest ways to prevent your body from breaking down. As we age, It takes a bit longer to recover from those tennis and pickleball games, gardening adventures and such. Our bodies require fuel, and without the presence of some key hormones, they will fall apart.
So, our bodies don’t stop making hormones because they cause bad things to happen? Correct. The reason why our bodies cease production of certain hormones is because about 100 years ago, most of us would be dead by about age 50. In 1910, life expectancy for white women and men respectively was 52 and 49 years of age. Penicillin had not yet been discovered and high blood pressure was treated with leeches. People died early and often. You wouldn’t find cataract or hip replacement surgeries back then because most people died before those kinds of problems arose.
Then came science. Penicillin, for example, in 1928. Because of that and other scientific advances, life expectancy has since increased by an average of about 30 years. However, that is due to science and not evolution. Hence, if we’re going to insist on keeping humans alive 30 years past their designed expiration date, something needs to be done in order to keep the bodies in good repair for the long haul.
Women benefit from HRT: keeps the soft squishy parts of the body soft and squishy (prevents atrophic vaginitis that makes sex and urination painful); allows calcium gut absorption which prevents osteoporosis-related fractures; protects against heart attack; improves/stabilizes mood; and more. Bonus: no more hot flashes or fitful sleeps!
Men benefit from HRT (testosterone replacement) with improved energy/endurance. Aside from aiding in the repair of tissues, both men and women can see improvements in libido, brain function, bone/muscle mass, strength, and fat distribution. The goal of HRT is to allow for a more “normal” life after “the change” occurs (menopause in woman, andropause in men) for better quality later years with better body function.
But, what about the cancer risk? Regarding breast cancer, it’s looking more like low progesterone might be the culprit behind this rather than estrogen. For example, anovulation and low serum progesterone levels have been associated with a significantly higher risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. And while certain estrogens administered alone have been considered a risk for developing breast cancer, good studies have demonstrated that the combination of estrogen with progesterone (NOT a progestin; that’s different) can decrease and prevent breast cancer. Progesterone, by itself, does not cause breast cancer and, conversely, appears to exert a protective effect.
Regarding the prostate, testosterone treatment does not increase one’s risk of developing prostate cancer. A meta-analysis study in 2016 found no relationship between a man’s testosterone level and prostate cancer. Similarly, not only does testosterone HRT not increase the risk, but neither does it make it more severe in men who’ve already been diagnosed.
There’s much more to discuss about HRT and its importance for health maintenance as we get older. Consult your physician or reach out to Medicine in Motion for an inexpensive consultation. Note that some physicians do not feel comfortable prescribing hormones so we often work with their patients and prescribe their HRT for them. [Please be aware that we do not sell hormones in our office; rather, we work with several local reputable compounding pharmacies to provide balanced bio-identical HRT regimens for our patients; hence, we have no financial incentive to prescribe HRT.]
Medicine in Motion is the private family & sports medicine practice of Dr. Jeffrey Pearson & wife, Laurie. They accept Medicare, TriCare, participate in most PPO plans and feature an affordable cash option. Visit www.medicine-in-motion.com.