Hormone Therapy and Alternative: Therapies During Midlife for Men and Women

Dr. Janice Alexander | 01/01/2021

Originally featured in the January 2021 issue of Mequon Beacon.

Midlife for men and women is a time when some note bothersome changes in physiology. The good news is that many do not need treatment for these symptoms. The best treatment depends on your preferences. Medications and supplements are not the choice of everyone, and an individual’s health history should be considered before a treatment choice is planned.Yet, it must be emphasized that some of the discomforts of mid-life such as obesity, depression, hot flashes, erectile dysfunction can be improved with lifestyle changes, diet and exercise modifications, weight management and smoking cessation. These approaches do no harm and cost very little.

Anxiety, stress and depression are common during the holiday season and especially this past year while we are under a pandemic. Most of us have had limited socialization which always makes life lonely and more difficult.We need to keep up with the 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly and the 30 minutes of strength training three times a week in order to keep our spirits up along with our muscle mass. Food triggers such as too much caffeine or alcohol can make depression worse and cause sleep disturbance. Hot and spicy foods may start to cause GI distress or make hot flashes worse. Sometimes it is best to limit these in your diet. For decades women have used soy products and herbs such as black cohosh, evening primrose oil, ginseng, kava, 5-HTP, St. John’s wort and natural progesterone cream made from yams to treat menopausal symptoms.These supplements, however, are not regulated by the FDA and may be contraindicated when used with certain medicines or medical conditions. For example, some women with breast cancer should not be using soy products. Supplements and vitamins may also cause excessive bleeding, so it is always a good idea to discuss these with your physician, especially if you plan on having a surgical procedure.

Prescription Hormone Therapy is available to symptomatic men and women who are appropriate candidates for this type of therapy. A woman’s body makes three types of hormones: estrogens, progesterone and testosterone.The term ‘bioidentical hormones’ is confusing as scientists and other health care professionals view them as chemically related to a person’s own naturally occurring hormones, whereas, to others, this term refers to a custom compound that is not manufactured by a commercial pharmaceutical company. Estrogen can be supplied as a cream, a patch, a vaginal ring, an oral or vaginal tablet or a subcutaneous pellet, with or without progesterone or testosterone. Progesterone alone can be an option for treating menopausal symptoms and can be prescribed as a topical cream, oral tablet or implant. Testosterone can be provided to men and women as a cream or ointment. Men can also receive testosterone as a patch, injection or tablet. While it is true that custom compounded hormones are not required to be approved by the FDA, many have found them to be helpful during midlife to control their symptoms.

Other prescription drugs such as SSRIs (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors) have also been used to treat depression and hot flashes. Complementary and alternative medicine have also been used and include acupuncture, herbal, dietary and energy therapies. The importance of vitamin and mineral balance should also be emphasized especially since we rely on them to maintain vital structures. During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important for you to get an appropriate amount of Vitamin D3 (usually 2,000IU daily) and Zinc (varies between 20-50 mg). If you are looking for more information on preventive and wellness therapies, come visit us at the Cedarburg Family Wellness & Aesthetics Center. We have Covid-19 preventive measures in place to keep you safe during your visit. TeleHealth is also available.

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January issue of Mequon Beacon

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.