Hormone Replacement Therapy FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body while bioidentical hormones match human hormones molecule by molecule.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy benefits men and women of various ages suffering from hormonal imbalances. Each treatment plan is uniquely tailored to the individual. To select the right therapy, you must understand all the available options for therapy and exactly how bioidentical hormone therapy can enhance your life and wellbeing.
If you are considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you may be experiencing symptoms that may be keeping you from feeling like yourself. Those symptoms may be the earliest signs of aging, such as foggy thinking, sleeplessness, muscle loss, or low energy. Furthermore, conditions of aging like menopause in women can cause hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain while even post-menopausal women experience symptoms including but not limited to hair loss and low libido. Aging also has an effect on men known as andropause, which is caused by fluctuation of testosterone levels.
Human hormones play a significant role in maintaining proper function of the body. Whatever the reason you are seeking ways to feel better, the first step in determining if your symptoms are the result of a hormonal imbalance and that you are a candidate for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, is comprehensive lab testing. Lab testing are blood labs that a LoveJoy Clinic provider will order for you. We look at a very specific panel for either women or men.
We offer the convenience of receiving your blood labs right at our clinic or we can have them ordered for a blood lab facility that is convenient for you.
Lab testing at LoveJoy Clinic assesses blood to measure the current status of your natural hormones. Your LoveJoy provider will use the results of this lab testing along with your medical history and current symptoms to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
At LoveJoy Clinic, we are experts in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. We take both an anecdotal and scientific approach to ensuring your hormones are balanced properly.
The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is dual fold. Unlike bioidentical hormones, synthetic, or conventional, hormones may be patented by pharmaceutical companies; therefore dosage varies only by milligrams dictated by your provider, while the molecular structure of the prescribed hormone is the same for every single person on that drug. Additionally, synthetic hormones are not created structurally the same as human endogenous hormones, which often leads to uncomfortable side effects. While synthetic hormones can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones on certain biological pathways, they rarely offer the same effectiveness at a deeper, molecular level.
Bioidentical hormones mimic the affinity of human endogenous hormones; therefore they are effective on more biological pathways, at all levels. Because bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of endogenous hormones, side effects are rarely observed, and in the event you do experience side effects, talk with your provider—the dosage may simply need to be adjusted. The added benefit of bioidentical hormones is that each dose is tailored specifically for your needs, not simply what doses the pharmaceutical company offers (as is the case with synthetic hormones.)
Bioidentical hormones that LoveJoy Hormone Clinic uses are hormones derived from the wild yam. This form of compounding has been used since the 1930’s and consistently in Europe since the 1960’s.
Wild yams are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. When the hormones are compounded from the wild yam, they are formed into very small pellets (about the size of a grain of rice). Hormones are separated in milligram units of Estrogen or Testosterone.
Hormones affect a multitude of pathways in the body. Women may experience fluctuations in their hormone levels throughout their lifespan. Imbalances can occur due to lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as expected changes, such as onset of menses, pregnancy, childbirth, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Imbalances of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is estrogen. When estrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido and bone loss.
The bone loss that women experience due to declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Adjustments to a woman’s hormone levels through bioidentical hormone therapy and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate these discomforts and improve overall health and well-being.
As men age, their testosterone levels decrease. In fact, by age 50 most men’s testosterone levels are about half they were in their early 20’s. Clarity of mind, energy, post workout recovery, and libido can all be significantly reduced around age 40 and beyond.
Tell tale signs of low testosterone include:
- Brain Fog (unable to have clarity of mind)
- Low energy
- After working out, it takes several days to recover
- Excess body fat
- Muscle density is less
- Low libido (low sex drive)
- Overly tired even after a short workday
The only way LoveJoy Hormone Clinic can know for sure where your testosterone levels are at is through a blood lab panel. Having a lab order at our clinic or at a lab convenient to you, we can have blood drawn and your provider will have information to know where your actual hormone levels are at. Combining this information with your health history and how you feel day to day, your provider can prescribe a hormone treatment plan for you.
Our medical director (Joy Melby) has been in the medical field since 1996. She has been practicing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy since 2004. During that time, she has performed over 20,000 procedures on both men and women. This means she has had patients in all ages, shapes, sizes, and varying stages in their hormonal life. This level of knowledge is crucial to being an expert in the field of hormone therapy.
Joy has trained all the providers at LoveJoy Hormone Clinic and all providers follow protocols that our medical director establishes. Consequently, the level of care and therapy protocols are the same with any provider and for any patient.
Bioidentical Pellet Hormone Delivery System (PHDS) is the main thing that we do here at LoveJoy Hormone Clinic. All our providers are Family Nurse Practitioners with many years of experience in internal medicine. However, they have chosen to specialize in Bioidentical Pellet Therapy.
Upon becoming a patient, the LoveJoy Clinic team will order the necessary labs for your visit, book your initial consultation, and send you an email with instructions on the steps necessary to prepare for your first appointment. This includes videos you should watch prior to your first consultation so you can be better informed to ask pertinent questions.
We offer a very convenient lab service right at our clinic. Very specific appointment scheduling so you do not have to wait. If you prefer, our Medical Assistant can send you an order form to have your blood lab testing performed at a lab facility close to you.
You will need to complete the online medical history and all necessary lab tests prior to your first appointment. Once your practitioner receives your test results, our medical assistant will contact you to schedule your first appointment that includes your consultation.
After your consultation and if you decide to proceed with hormone therapy that day, our team will schedule your “peak labs” appointment about 4 weeks later. This lab draw is important so we can determine your baseline and to confirm that the protocols we prescribed for you are correct. This is the science behind what we do here at LoveJoy.
For women, a follow-up appointment for your next insertion is about 3 months later. For men, approximately 6 months later. These appointments are ongoing for as long as you would like to stay on hormone therapy with LoveJoy Hormone Clinic.
Are hormones affecting your sex drive? The answer is likely a very reliable yes. Regardless if you are enjoying a healthy sex drive, a high sex drive, or agonizing over a low sex drive, in most cases, your hormones are in control. For some patients, emotional and psychological factors play a role in sexual desire. For both men and women, sex drive that has diminished with age, menopause, andropause, or pregnancy is likely linked to a hormonal issue. Approximately 70 percent of low libido issues are related to a hormonal imbalance. A low libido due to hormonal imbalance does not mean that you are helpless. In fact, you can take an active role in resetting your hormones to reclaim your sex drive.
What the Research Says: Hormones & Sex Drive
The research on sexual dysfunction and low sex drive is vast and has grown significantly in the last decade, as sexual functioning and related topics have become less taboo discussions between patients and their providers.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that there is a greater prevalence of multiple sexual dysfunctions in women, namely issues with desire and arousal1. Men, on the other hand, generally struggle with a single issue, most frequently premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction.
Low sex drive or impaired sexual function is often linked to the sex hormones: estrogen and testosterone, but imbalances in progesterone, DHEA, thyroid hormones and even cortisol can affect your sexual desire.
Low levels of estrogen can impact sexual functioning and desire in women. Too little estrogen can contribute to vaginal dryness, making intercourse painful. Low estrogen can also impair sleep and cause mood swings, which are rarely a positive influence on sexual desire.
Testosterone is the hormone that has the greatest influence on human sexuality. Low testosterone production can affect sex drive and sexual performance in both women and men. Yes, women need testosterone too! However, women’s needed levels of testosterone are only a fraction of what men require.
Low levels of testosterone can negatively impact the desire to have sex, cause erectile dysfunction in men, and limit arousal and orgasm in women. Stamina may also be affected in both genders if testosterone levels are low.
A 2013 study found that increased levels of progesterone were correlated with a decreased sex drive in women2. This correlation was noted by tracking and observing hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle. When progesterone levels were at their peak, women reported a greater disinterest in sex.
DHEA can have implications on sexual health, but since it is a precursor to testosterone, imbalances are often better treated with testosterone therapy. A small study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women supplementing DHEA reported significant increases in frequency of thoughts about sex, interest in sexual activity and mental and physical satisfaction. Minor side effects were reported, including oily skin, acne, increased body hair and hair loss. Changes in dosage reduced side effects3.
High cortisol levels can affect sexual behavior. High levels of cortisol are common in individuals who are stressed. Too much stress can send the adrenal system into overdrive and cause an influx of cortisol. Excess cortisol leads to unwelcome effects such as fatigue, weight gain and impaired immunity—factors that can lead to a low sex drive or general disinterest in sex. However, a 2008 study found that sexual arousal can be impaired by an increase in cortisol as the result of anxiety about sexual performance4.
Low Sex Drive in Men
Low sex drive in men is primarily linked to issues with sexual performance, such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. However, men with a hormonal imbalance may also struggle with the desire to have sex.
Low testosterone is frequently the diagnosis for sexual dysfunction in men. Testosterone plays a role in energy and weight management—two side factors important for sex drive. It also plays a strong role in sexual desire, stamina, arousal, and performance.
Erectile dysfunction, which commonly occurs in older men can be influenced by low testosterone. Erectile dysfunction (ED) that is not a result of low testosterone may be treated with a class of drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors. These drugs enhance blood flow to the penis, which leads to an erection. If this pathway is blocked, because of vascular impairment, it can be a sign of more serious diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or complications with diabetes.
Premature ejaculation is the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men and affects men of all ages for a variety of reasons. Ejaculation is regulated by neurotransmitters, hormones, prostate and erectile dysfunction. The cause of premature ejaculation (PE) may be an issue with one or some of these systems/conditions. For example, hyperthyroidism has been shown to contribute to PE and may be treated with anti-thyroid medications. Serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which act on the neurotransmitter, serotonin, can help men who are struggling with PE. Prostate issues and erectile dysfunction can also contribute to the incidence of PE.
Although low testosterone is the most diagnosed factor for low libido and sexual dysfunction in men, it is not the only hormone to play a role. Men who are stressed, depressed or lack sleep may also show a disinterest in sex. These symptoms may be related to high cortisol, or adrenal fatigue, or an imbalance of the thyroid hormones that influence metabolism, energy and sleep.
Boosting Sex Drive in Men with Hormonal Balance
Men who have noticed negative changes in their sleep patterns, sexual function, self-confidence, and reduced muscle mass or increased body fat may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
Hormone therapy is an effective treatment option for addressing issues with sex drive or sexual dysfunction that are caused by hormonal imbalance. A 2016 study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism examined the effects of testosterone therapy on sexual interest and activity in older men. This study was the part of a series of studies known as the Testosterone Trials, which examined the efficacy of hormone therapy in men aged 65 and older with low testosterone levels who are experiencing symptoms of testosterone deficiency. The year-long study found that men who were treated with testosterone therapy experienced consistent improvement in sex drive and 10 of 12 measurements of sexual activity. However, for the men in the placebo group, no significant changes were noted in their responses from the beginning of the study through the end of the study5.
In conjunction with hormone therapy, optimal hormone balance is achieved with dietary changes, routine fitness, and strategies to reduce stress. Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can both be affected by stress levels. ED is also closely linked to vascular health, therefore diet and exercise can play a significant role in restoring function. Physicians that specialize in hormonal health and hormone therapy can partner with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will get to the root cause of your symptoms, optimally restoring hormonal balance, overall health and wellbeing.
Low Sex Drive in Women
Low sex drive in women is most often linked to issues with desire and arousal. Many of the hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout a woman’s life—puberty, pregnancy and menopause—can cause sexual desire to wane. Women are commonly diagnosed with a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). HSDD is characterized by distress or anxiety related to the absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity in women. HSDD is the most common sexual health complaint among women, affecting 1 in 10 women.
HSDD can be a side effect of medications, certain lifestyle choices, life events: pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause or pain with intercourse. HSDD may also be a result of psychological or emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Relationship issues that affecting bonding with a partner may also be a factor.
Hormonal imbalances can play a significant role in female sex drive and sexual disorder. Estrogen dominance is a common condition that can impact sexual desire. If a woman has too much estrogen compared to other sex hormones, such as testosterone, she may experience low sex drive along with other negative effects.
In contrast, low estrogen can impact sexual function. Many women who lack sufficient levels of estrogen will experience vaginal dryness which can make intercourse painful. Too little estrogen is also associated with unstable moods and sleep patterns, which may affect sexual desire and activity.
Low levels of testosterone are another significant factor in low sex drive in women. Though women have less testosterone that men naturally, supplementing testosterone has been shown to boost female sex drive.
Thyroid disorders, which can affect metabolism, weight, energy and sleep as well as cause hair loss may also impair sex drive due to lack of energy or affected aspects of self-esteem.
Hormonal Balance Shown to Improve Sexual Desire in Women
Women who are suffering from a hormonal imbalance may notice that their impaired desire for sex is also accompanied by symptoms such as moodiness, weight gain, or insomnia. Comprehensive lab testing can help pinpoint the root cause of symptoms.
A 2016 study found that estrogen therapy was effective in increasing sexual desire in postmenopausal women. When testosterone was added to a low-dose estrogen therapy, sexual desire was further enhanced6.
In conjunction with hormone therapy, optimal hormone balance is achieved with nutritional balance, routine exercise, and strategies to enhance mindfulness and reduce stress. Sexual desire and arousal can be significantly affected by emotional factors and stress levels in women. Physicians that specialize in hormonal health and hormone therapy can partner with you to develop an all-encompassing treatment plan that will get to the root cause of your symptoms, optimally restoring hormonal balance, overall health and wellbeing.
Hormone Therapy to Achieve a Healthy Sex Drive
The providers at LoveJoy Hormone Clinic are experts in the area of hormone heath for both men and women. Every patient is different, but abet, many are the same. Our providers use what their patients tell them about their medical history, lifestyle, and day to day activities to help in providing a treatment plan. Combining this information with what the science of a patient’s blood labs ensures the protocols for treatment are as accurate as possible.
What our providers have found is “A patient doesn’t know what they don’t know” about hormonal therapy. So, our providers provide a consultation during the first visit to help educate the patient about what can be expected with hormonal therapy.
Does hormone therapy that LoveJoy Clinic offers help everyone? Not necessarily, but it about 99% of the patients who visit us will have some personally measured benefit from the services that we offer. The remaining 1% are medically unable to use our treatment yet. Possibly due to younger age or other factors.
The best course of action for you is to have a consultation with one of our providers. They can review your labs with you and talk about options with you. Call our clinic or book your lab appointment online today.
Pellet therapy is a sustainable delivery method for bioidentical hormone therapy. Every three to six months a pellet made of bioidentical hormones is inserted under the patient’s skin, usually on the upper part of the buttocks (either side). The pellets, which contain customized levels of estradiol or testosterone, are slowly metabolized over the course of three to four months, releasing the bioidentical hormone in much the same manner as the body’s natural hormones are secreted.
Very much like sucking on a piece of candy or lolly pop, ultimately it fades away and needs to be replaced to continue providing hormonal balance.
At LoveJoy Hormone Clinic, we believe the “Main Thing” is the main thing. In other words, we focus only on Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). Because of this, we do everything we can to keep the costs of our services as low as we can.
- We offer a FREE initial phone consultation.
- We offer both cash and insurance based blood lab services in our clinic.
- Your initial consultation with a provider is FREE.
After your initial provider consultation and if you choose to proceed with receiving LoveJoy Hormone Replacement Therapy, your first visit will cost an average of $350 for women and $650 for men. After that, it averages to about $120 per month.
LoveJoy does NOT take insurance as most insurance companies do not pay for natural based procedures. However, if you consider that most deductibles for insurance companies are $3,000 to $6,000 per year, our services are way below that annual amount.
When you meet with your provider for the first time, your provider will have a better idea of what services you are eligible for based upon your medical history and your blood lab results.
Book a Consultation
It begins with a New Patient Consultation. This consultation is FREE to you! There is NO OBLIGATION and is the fastest method to get you on your way towards an “optimized Hormone” life. Once you make a consultation appointment either online or by calling our office, you begin the discovery process.
Never had a better blood draw !!!
I recommend Lovejoy!