Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Role of Hormones
Hormones are chemical messengers that control every function in the body so hormonal imbalances can impact virtually every organ in the body and have a significant impact on quality of life. It is important to note that hormones are just as important for men as they are for women and both sexes produce the same hormones but in different amounts.
Hormones that can be balanced with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) include Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Dr Tash fully trained in BHRT at the prestigious Marion Gluck Training Academy in London. Dr Marion Gluck is a pioneer and
This is the female hormone that helps regulate a woman’s passage through puberty, fertility and menopause and is one of the most powerful hormones in the human body.
Upon reaching menopause, oestrogen levels fall dramatically leading to the symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence. Additional to the reduction in menopausal symptoms, the benefits of bio-identical oestrogen include improved muscle tone, libido, healthy hair and skin and reduction in bone loss.
The menopause has a few detrimental effects on the skin due to declining estrogen levels and includes oily or acne prone skin, sagging skin and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation or age spots.
Progesterone is often referred to as the ‘happy hormone’ because it can greatly improve a person’s mood and sense of wellbeing. Deficiencies or imbalance in progesterone is associated with irregular cycles, pre-menstrual tension, post-natal depression among many others.
At the onset of menopause, progesterone levels decline faster than oestrogen and contribute to irregular cycles, heavy periods, headaches, mood swings, night sweats and vaginal dryness or discomfort. There is a misconception that women who have had a hysterectomy do not need progesterone, however, as oestrogen and progesterone have a complementary effect they are always prescribed together in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Bio-identical Progesterone acts as a natural anti-depressant and reduces pre-menstrual symptoms. It promotes fat burning for energy, reduces fluid retention, maintains a healthy lining of the uterus and protects against breast cancer.
This is a male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. Although women produce it in small quantities they are more sensitive to it and the levels vary from woman to woman.
In both men and women, testosterone enhances libido, decreases body fat and increases muscle strength, helping to counteract lethargy and depression.
Low levels of testosterone are associated with fatigue, irritability, depression, aches and pains in joints, thin, dry and saggy skin, osteoporosis, weight loss, increased risk of heart attack and loss of muscle development.
This is the most abundant steroid hormone in the body and is converted into oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The hormone is also referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone and its levels rise rapidly at puberty until 25-30 years of age and then decline. This correlates with signs and symptoms associated with ageing after the age of 30.
Deficiency in DHEA can lead to fatigue, lack of motivation and drive, aching joints, loss of muscle tone, weight gain and depression. The benefits of DHEA include an increase in energy levels and a feeling of vitality.
Common hormone related conditions
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
This is characterised by physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms experienced by women 7-10 days before their period starts and diminishes once menstruation begins. Reduced progesterone levels are thought to contribute to this.
Symptoms of PMS
This is the transition period before and after the final period. The hormones are fluctuating giving rise to a combination of symptoms.
Symptoms of the peri-menopause
Worsening PMS symptoms
Aches and pains
Anxiety and/or palpitations
Mood swings or irritability
This is defined as the time when a woman has had no periods for 12 continuous months. Hormone levels drop giving rise to symptoms of the menopause but in some the levels fluctuate for some time which can last many years.
Symptoms of Menopause
Hot flushes and night sweats
Poor memory and concentration
Aches and pain
Loss of libido
Some types of acne are aggravated by fluctuations in hormone levels.
Andropause or ‘male menopause’
Andropause is the gradual onset of symptoms due to the gradual decline in hormone levels.
It is difficult to diagnose due to the insidious onset of symptoms and normally noticeable around the age of 40. The decline in testosterone can be accelerated by excess weight, stressful events, depression or illness.
Symptoms of Andropause
Physical symptoms: Reduced body hair, enlargement of the breasts, reduced libido or erectile dysfunction, weight gain, reduced energy levels and reduced lean mass.
Emotional symptoms: Mood swings, depression, insomnia, irritability, poor memory and concentration.
Cardiovascular symptoms: Increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol and increased abdominal fat.
Role of Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bio-identical hormones can be used to replace and rebalance the body’s hormones due to imbalances for as long as needed. These are particularly useful during the peri-menopause, menopausal or post-menopausal periods. They can also be used to treat the andropause in men and pre-menstrual syndrome in younger women.
What is a Bio-identical hormone?
A bio-identical hormone has the same chemical and molecular structure as the naturally occurring hormone produced in the body. This means that they fit their action sites perfectly, consequently the action they produce are identical to what happens naturally in the body. This is true hormone replace replacement while conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is considered as hormone substitution therapy.
Difference between BHRT and HRT
|Bio- identical: Structure identical to naturally occurring hormones hence well tolerated and fewer side effects.||Not-identical: Structurally not identical to hormones hence the body identifies HRT as foreign substances which possibly leads to side effects and risks.|
|Mimics hormone actions hence action is specific.||May not treat symptoms of hormone imbalance accurately|
|Manufactured from plant sources||Some hormones are synthetic hormones, and some are derived from animal sources such as horse’s urine|
|Individual prescription||Lack of flexibility with dose adjustments|
Frequently Asked Questions
Why didn’t my doctor tell me about the treatment before?
Firstly, they don’t recognise hormonal imbalances as a disease.
Secondly, pharmaceutical companies conduct doctors’ further education, and as BHRT cannot be sold ‘off the shelf’ it remains off their radar. Usually doctors learn about BHRT from their patients. It’s important to create demand for such a successful treatment and encourage your doctor to learn more about how you have benefited from BHRT.
Do I have to be on this treatment for life?
When is the menopause over?
How quickly will the treatment begin to work?
Can BHRT slow the ageing process?
Skin changes, especially loss of elasticity and dryness, worsening cognition and memory, organisational skills, and energy declining sexual function all occur as our hormones decline. Balancing the hormones can prevent some of these effects and possibly prevent certain conditions from developing, such as osteoporosis.
How long has BHRT been around?
Are the hormones you prescribe natural?
Where do bio-identical hormones come from?
How much will the medication cost me?
How long is a prescription valid for?
Where do I get my medication from?
In the UK, the medications are available and can be dispensed from specialist compounding pharmacies including the Specialist Pharmacy which is used by Skin Enhance Clinic.
Can I tell my GP about this treatment?
Do men need hormones also?
I have a history of cancer. Can I go on this treatment?
Patient Journey and Cost of Treatment
Here is a guideline of a patient journey in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy at Skin Enhance Clinic, however, individual treatment schedules may differ with consultations required outside of the specified schedule.
Initial Consultation (Up to 60mins via video or face-to-face) £199
In-depth consultation going through the symptoms, discuss if BHRT is suitable for you, making an initial assessment, and organising appropriate tests.
First Follow-up Consultation (Up to 30minutes online or face-to-face) £99
1 week following the initial consultation, you will be invited for the results of the tests and review. A suitable treatment plan will be made and a personalised prescription as appropriate will be issued.
Second Follow-up Consultation (Up to 30minutes) £119
6 weeks later you would attend for a review to check on your progress and answer any questions you may have. Any adjustments to the dosage of medication will be made if necessary.
3rd Follow-up consultation (Up to 30minutes) £119
12 weeks later you will attend for a progress review, dose adjustments and repeat medication.
4th Follow-up consultation (UP to 30minutes) £119
At 6 months review, it may be necessary to have further tests during the review appointment otherwise repeat prescription will be issued.
Ongoing regular reviews (Up to 30minutes) £119
It is recommended that you have a review every 6 months in person or via telephone. Please note that in order to receive ongoing prescriptions for BHRT you will be required to have a face to face review and blood tests at least once per year. Depending on the treatment or condition, further tests may be advised at these appointments.
Blood Tests and other Tests
Dr Tash will take blood for testing as appropriate during appointments. The laboratory fees for blood tests are charged separately and some examples are shown below:
Female Hormone Profile £199
Male Hormone Profile £199
Thyroid tests £99
Vitamin D levels £120
Pelvic Ultrasound £99
Mammogram screening up to date
Cervical Screening up to date
Bone Density scan if indicated
The prescription will be sent to the London Specialist Pharmacy which produces (compound) bespoke BHRT medicine to the highest quality standards in their state-of-the-art laboratory. The medication will be delivered to you within 3 working days. You will liaise and pay the Specialist Pharmacy directly for the cost of the drugs. As a general rule private prescription for daily doses per hormone will cost between £1-£3.
Repeat prescription without face to face appointment £50
Letter/Medical Report from £50
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Five Good Reasons To Choose Skin Enhance And Wellness
Just what makes Skin Enhance so unique?
Here are five reasons why you should choose us when you are considering cosmetic treatment.
- The guiding principle of Skin Enhance And Wellness is to deliver exceptional patient care and Dr Tash always has her patient’s welfare at heart.
2. You start with a face-to-face consultation at Skin Enhance And Wellness and there will be plenty of time to consider all your options, and ask any questions you might have before you decide, together with Dr Tash, what treatment is right for you.
4. Dr Tash only ever uses the best products that are sourced for Skin Enhance through official UK Pharmacies eliminating, as far as is possible, any risk to her patients and assuring the quality of the treatments given.
5. While Dr Tash knows that to most people having cosmetic treatment is all about being more confident, she firmly believes that consultation can also help to reduce any emotional and psychological effects that a patient might be experiencing with some skin conditions. There are many other things that Dr Tash can advise you on, and these include Professional skin care products and maintaining a healthy skin and wellbeing.