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enopause, perimenopause, and andropause (male menopause) can produce a range of symptoms that diminish comfort and quality of life in both men and women.
If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, your doctor may recommend bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). This therapy involves supplementing with hormones that are chemically identical to the ones produced naturally by your body, and it provides relief from symptoms associated with menopause, perimenopause, and andropause.
If you are considering BHRT, you might have some questions and concerns about how it all works. Here’s what you can expect when you start BHRT.
What to expect from BHRT
The process of BHRT begins with a physical examination and some lab tests to determine the current state of your hormones. With that information in hand, your doctor can then tailor your treatment plan specifically to you, from dosage to method of administration (pills, creams, etc.)
You can expect to experience results as soon as a few weeks after beginning your treatment. Your symptoms will decrease and your overall sense of wellness will start to improve. After about six months is when you will feel the full impact of the therapy.
The most common reported outcomes of BHRT include:
- Improved energy levels
- More stable moods
- Renewed sex drive
- Improved sleep patterns
- Better memory
- Weight loss
As with any therapy, there is the potential for side effects with BHRT. These can include:
- Digestion issues
- Blurry vision
- Spotting (in women)
If you experience unwanted side effects, let your doctor know. They can make adjustments to the dose and method of treatment.
Getting ready for BHRT
Maybe you’ve been experiencing symptoms of menopause but haven’t yet sought treatment from your doctor. In order to prepare for your appointment, start collecting information on your symptoms now, so your doctor has everything they need to make an informed decision about your care.
Record your symptoms
Write down what you’re experiencing, noting when the symptoms occur, how often, and how severe they are.
Create a list of your current medications
Your doctor needs a complete picture of your health, which includes any and all medication you may be taking, both prescription and over-the-counter. In your list, be sure to specify the dose and frequency of each medication. This information is necessary to ensure you get the most benefits from your BHRT experience.
Gather your thoughts and questions
It’s normal to have a lot of questions when considering starting on a new course of treatment. Write down everything that comes to mind so you don’t forget to bring up anything important during the discussion with your doctor. It’s also a good idea to take notes during the appointment so you remember the key information that will allow you to make the best decision for your health.