Hormones are vital to life. They are what gives your different organs the instructions they need to function properly. They regulate the way a child grows into an adult, they control skin and muscle growth, and they drive sexual function. As a person gets older, their body naturally produces less hormones. This reduction in hormone production creates some undesirable side effects. For some people, the reduction in hormone production becomes abnormal to the point where they need bioidentical hormone therapy to help them live a normal life. Below is more information about hormone therapy and bioidentical hormone therapy cost.
What Does It Mean for a Hormone to Be Bioidentical?
Hormones are chemicals that are made in your glands. They serve as messengers that tell the rest of your body how it should function and when it should function. There are very few tasks in your body that are not controlled by hormones. Without direction from hormones, your brain would not function properly. Hormones control how your body breaks down food. Sexual drive and reproduction are driven by hormones. When your hormone balance gets out of whack, either because too many hormones are produced or because not enough hormones are produced, negative symptoms can occur.
A hormone is referred to as bioidentical when it is man-made, but it has a molecular structure that is all but identical to the hormones that are made by the human body. Some of the more common hormones that are produced include testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. Bioidentical hormone therapy cost varies depending on the type of hormone you are receiving.
These manufactured hormones are then used to treat people who have a hormone imbalance. Drug companies may make some forms of hormones that can be distributed by a doctor to their patients. Where your provider gets their hormones also factors into bioidentical hormone therapy cost. Other hormones are made to custom fit the patient. This is done by a pharmacist following a doctor’s prescription. This process is referred to as compounding.
The FDA has approved the preparation of bioidentical hormones for a number of conditions. Prior to giving approval for these hormones to be used, the FDA submitted them to extreme testing and review. Some companies will advertise that the products their hormones are made from are plant-based, so they are the more natural choice. However, after these hormones have gone through modification, they are no longer “natural” because they have been severely processed. Hormones that are approved by the FDA and compounded hormones can be administered through a variety of delivery techniques. These include sprays, creams, pills, and pellets. The method by which you receive hormones also factors into bioidentical hormone therapy cost.
There are those who argue that customized hormones designed to be bioidentical are safer, more effective, and more natural than the more conventional alternatives that are produced en masse. However, there is no real research or science that backs up these assertions. What is known is that hormones that are produced en masse must follow the strict guidelines left by the FDA for their production. The FDA has adequately tested products that they approve before their release.
Some people mistakenly think that drug companies are not interested in bioidentical hormones because they are not allowed to make money off of a naturally-occurring substance. In part, this is true. Drug companies are not allowed to patent naturally occurring hormones. However, what they are able to do is patent the process needed to make the drug absorbable in the human body. And this is what a number of large drug companies have done. This is how they are able to sell FDA approved bioidenticals.
Before these hormones were brought to market, drug companies invest millions of dollars in research and development. Part of this includes them doing their own tests for safety and effectiveness. And the FDA requires these companies to keep track of and constantly monitor the quality of the product that they produce. All of this is reported back to the FDA, They use this information to continue to monitor the product’s effect on the population.
FDA approval is based on the fact that these hormones have been shown in trials to relieve the symptoms they are designed to relieve. This is why the packaging of these products is going to say FDA approved.
Why Is Hormone Therapy Offered?
As people get older, their hormone production diminishes. This diminished hormone production creates some unsettling symptoms. For example, women who have entered menopause may experience symptoms that include:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of interest in sex
- Loss of energy
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
The purpose of the treatment is to replace hormones that are no longer being produced by the body. As hormone levels increase, symptoms caused by hormone deficiency will likely improve. Many people have experienced an improved quality of life as a result of turning to this form of therapy. Hormone therapy is not something that a person can choose to administer themselves. The hormones are given only by prescription, and they should be administered under the care of a physician. If you are interested in this treatment, bioidentical hormone therapy cost is something you may have to consider.
Addressing Common Questions about Hormone Therapy
When a person is considering hormone therapy, they may wonder how many other people in the United States go through the same therapy. Hormone therapy is a lot more popular and more common than most people think. It’s estimated that at any given time, 1.4 million people are using this treatment. Four out of 10 prescriptions for hormone therapy are given to women who are going through menopause. Your insurance may cover bioidentical hormone therapy cost.
Others have asked, how are the hormones given to the patient? There are a number of ways that hormone therapy can be administered. Implants can be used. Shots, gels, patches, and creams are also used. The method for delivery is going to vary based on your personal needs, the hormone that is being administered, and the length of time you will require said treatment.
Some have wondered how their doctor determines the right dosage for them. As we have mentioned, hormone therapy is only administered under the care of a physician. As such, the physician closely monitors the health and reaction of their patient. Based on the results of blood tests and other exams, the physician can determine if their patient needs a specific hormone.
During this time, the physician will carry out routine saliva, blood, and urine tests to determine the patient’s hormone levels. Doctors will likely take a number of tests in a row to gauge the patient’s hormone levels. This is because a person’s hormone levels not only fluctuates throughout the day, but they can fluctuate from day-to-day. If after taking multiple tests it becomes clear that the patient’s hormone levels are lower than what a person of their age should have, the physician may recommend hormone therapies as an option.
How Men Can Benefit from Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is not to be considered the fountain of youth for men. It is not designed to combat the natural reduction in hormone production that men experience. However, there are some men who have hypogonadism, where their body is producing levels of testosterone that are unnaturally low. This is a dysfunction of the testicles that prevents the body from creating a normal amount of testosterone.
Normal levels of testosterone are going to vary for men. Some of the things that will determine what is a normal testosterone level will include thyroid function, protein status, and other factors. However, on average healthy testosterone levels for men should be around 300 ng/daL. If a man has testosterone levels that are lower than 300 ng/daL, they would be diagnosed as having low testosterone.
For men, testosterone levels are going to reach their peak when they are between the ages of 19 and 20. From there, they will see a constant decline in testosterone production throughout adulthood. As men get older, they can expect to see a decline of about one percent of testosterone level per year after they reach the age of 30.
The only way to know for sure whether a man is experiencing low testosterone levels is to measure the testosterone levels in their blood. Some men are born with conditions that damage their testicles and as a result have lower than desired testosterone levels.
Contrary to popular belief, both men and women produce testosterone. Women need to have a set level of testosterone in their body for it to function properly. The difference is that the level of testosterone found in women is a lot lower than what is found in men.
When a woman hits menopause, her estrogen levels drop, which by comparison makes her male hormones higher. When a woman has excessive testosterone in her bloodstream, she may experience infertility, acne, facial hair growth, and loss of scalp hair. Conversely, low testosterone in women can lead to problems including infertility, weak bones, and loss of libido. Bioidentical hormone therapy cost becomes less of an issue when you consider your quality of life.
When you are visiting with your medical professional, it is good to ask your doctor questions. First, you will present the symptoms that you have and then directly ask your physician if you need hormone therapy. If the answer is affirmative, then you can ask your doctor about the options that are available for therapy. It’s good to ask your doctor about the risks and benefits that each delivery method of hormones offer. Ask them how long you will need therapy and if there are non-hormonal treatments that are right for you. You can also ask about bioidentical hormone therapy cost and whether or not your insurance will cover part of this cost.
How Much Does Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Cost?
The amount you will pay is going to vary, depending on the hormones administered and the frequency with which they will be administered. It is difficult to truly pin down the out-of-pocket expense. This is because of the treatment plan is individualized to meet your needs. The bioidentical hormone therapy cost is going to depend on the way that the treatment is administered, be it an injection, cream, or gel. It is also going to depend on the type of hormone that is administered.
Most patients should expect that their initial expense is going to be higher than what their recurring expenses will be. This is because the initial expense may include lab work, consultations, and exams to try to identify the root cause of the symptoms. From there, a plan is created that’s tailored to suit your individual needs. Once all of this has been done and a treatment plan has been established, then recurring expenses are likely to be a lot lower.
Are you experiencing symptoms that you feel may be the result of a hormonal imbalance? If so, consider us here at World Wellness Health Institute in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Let us discuss your symptoms with you as well as any test that you may need. We can determine if bioidentical hormone therapy is the right option for you. We can also answer any questions you may have regarding bioidentical hormone therapy cost. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!