In the ideal world, people should feel cool about growing old, considering the experience and wisdom that comes with age. Not in today’s society. Aging is increasingly being seen more as a curse than a blessing. It is associated with loss of esthetic appeal, onset of debilitating diseases, and dependence on another for survival. This leaves many people with no choice but to do something to prevent or slow its progress.
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the means you have for slowing your aging clock. This is given how levels of important hormones changes as time rolls on. How can these therapies help women to deal with aging? What options are there? Read on to learn more.
Hormones and aging
Hormones are naturally occurring substances in the body. They are crucial to many important processes in the body that promote good health and attractive look. Some call them “police” or “messengers” of the body that ensure everything goes on appropriately. So whether you are healthy and boast young, attractive look or not depends greatly on their levels. Hormones control growth and development, metabolism, and immune function, among other processes.
The decline that is seen in the levels of these substances as people get older has been identified as a major contributor to age-related issues. Usually, your hormones are at their highest when you are younger. They start to become lower from the 30s in most cases. Some refer to the period during which women observe changes in hormone levels as perimenopause. It leads on to menopause, which practically marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years.
The aging process in women, as regard hormonal imbalances, is different from that of men to an extent. The interplay of hormones that may contribute to this phenomenon is more complicated. But a well planned and executed hormonal replacement therapy can help to deal with related issues.
Hormones for anti-aging therapies for women
As the name indicates, a major aim of hormone replacement therapy is to replenish or make up for low levels. But that is not all what it is about. Part of the goal is to ensure balance in the amount of the substances. This is because excessively high levels is also a risk. We discuss below some of the hormones that may help to check issues associated with aging.
This is a major female hormone. Estrogen comes in different forms, namely: estradiol, estriol and estrone. These differ in both chemical structure and function. Of the three, estradiol is the most powerful. The main role of estrogen is promotion of development of sexual characteristics in women. Estrogen is also crucial to the maintenance of reproductive health.
The level of the hormone drops in the years leading to menopause. This brings along with it symptoms such as:
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Decrease in sexual pleasure
Reduced sexual pleasure and vaginal dryness are two of the most common menopausal symptoms. Researchers believe estrogen replacement can help deal with these symptoms, while also decelerating aging.
Another key hormone in women, progesterone helps to address the multiplying effect of estrogen on the endometrium. In simpler terms, it helps to regulate the balance of the other hormone. It is considered a precursor hormone for estrogen, testosterone and cortisol.
Low levels of progesterone are associated to sleep issues because it is essential for promoting sleep quality. It is also helpful for mental and immune functions. Mood swings, poor concentration and focus, and lack of mental alertness are likely from low levels.
The use of bio-identical progesterone may therefore help to improve levels and deal with these issues. Its efficacy can be enhanced when combined with estrogen, more specifically estradiol.
Now, you may think testosterone is only important for men. Not true. Women also needs it, although in lower quantity. It is required for promoting sexual health, weight loss, strength and lean muscle mass. The hormone enhances mental alertness, bright mood, and overall sense of well-being.
If you lack optimal levels of testosterone, you will be predisposed to weight gain and loss of muscle mass. This, obviously, will tell adversely on your physical appeal. You also experience loss of libido and, possibly osteoporosis. Therapy therefore looks like a great option to keep away these signs of aging.
Produced by the adrenal glands, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is also linked to aging. This natural substance is precursor to androgen hormones, such as testosterone, and estrogen. You need it more as you get older. Yet, it in fact falls in levels like other hormones as years pass. Experts say you start experiencing drop in its amount any time from mid to late 20s. By the time you reach your 70s, you may have just between 10 and 20 percent of the levels in younger individuals.
This decline in DHEA levels has been associated to loss of muscle mass, strength and mobility. Increased risk for falls is another consequence among the elderly. Low levels have also been associated to greater risk for atherosclerosis, heart failure and death.
DHEA therapy will most likely help avoid these issues then. It offers potential for the treatment of osteoporosis, obesity, auto-immune disorders, and dementia.
Human growth hormone
You have probably heard by now of the “wonderful benefits” human growth hormone offers. It is believed to keep off signs of aging such as wrinkles and eye bags. HGH plays crucial role in growth and development of children and adolescence. It is useful for maintenance of tissues and organs in the body. This makes it great for promoting overall health and slow aging.
But like other hormones, it starts to fall in levels from the late 20s or in the 30s. This not only contributes to appearance of wrinkles, it also leads to weight gain and loss of lean muscle mass.
HGH therapy most describes the use of somatropin injections to correct low levels. This is quite effective in the synthetic form is similar to the growth hormone produced within the body. But this recombinant HGH is strictly regulated in the United States by the FDA. It is not exactly approved for slowing aging, but it appears some anti-aging clinics do offer them.
There are also OTC pills or sprays known as HGH releasers that can be considered for raising growth hormone levels in women. It has to be noted, though, that many of these supplements are practically ineffective.
This hormone doesn’t have a great rep with many people. The reason, no doubt, is its connection to stress. However, cortisol also plays a role in the aging process. A relationship between it and onset of diabetes has been observed. Imbalances may lead to allergies, mood swings, fatigue, asthma and bronchitis.
Research evidence on benefits of hormone therapies
The anti-aging benefits of hormone therapies for women aren’t just a matter of conjecture. Numerous studies have been done on how these may be beneficial. Virtually all of the hormones used in trying to slow effects of aging have been researched by scientists.
In a 2005 study, researchers examined how hormone replacement therapy could be helpful to women in menopause. This group is known to have significantly low levels of vital hormones and suffer hormonal imbalances. The women, all of whom had been in menopause for five years or more, were divided into two groups. A group was made up of those who had received hormone treatment for a long period. Those who never had treatment were put in the second group. Assessments by a plastic surgeon, who had no idea whom received hormone therapy, showed impressive results. The women on hormones had significantly less wrinkles and their skin looked healthier and softer, compared to those who weren’t.
Growth hormone, in particular, has been widely studied, as regards its anti-aging potential. The 1990 study by Dr. Rudman and colleagues was the one that brought the substance into focus for off-label purposes. That research revealed that treatment of elderly men with HGH resulted in positive body changes. The subjects gained lean muscle mass while also shedding body fat.
After the Rudman study was published, researchers took interest in learning more about the anti-aging benefits of growth hormone. Many other studies were carried out that indicated hormone replacement could be beneficial. In one 26-week study, therapy produced an average improvement of roughly 5 pounds while fat mass fell by about the same amount.
But when it comes to hormone replacement therapy, distinction is sometimes made between synthetic and bio-identical hormones. The latter option is said to offer a more natural means of replenishing hormone levels. Bio-identical hormones are identical to the natural substances in the body. They are tailored to meet individual needs of patients. Some argue that synthetic hormones are not identical to those produced in the body, making them less effective. But that claim may not necessarily be true. Synthetic HGH, which has been used in many studies, shares similar structure as the naturally occurring variant.
Anti-aging hormone therapies for women are available in forms that you could easily administer by yourself. These include injections, patches and gels. What this means is that there is danger of improper use. This could give rise to side effects. It is also not entirely impossible that these treatments may also worsen certain health conditions. So we advise caution in how you use them.
The side effects you may experience from hormone replacement therapy may be minor or grave. They include:
- Constant urge to urinate
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Metabolic dysfunction
- High cholesterol levels
- Aggravation of sleep issues
- Chest pain
Speak with an expert
It is advisable to consult a qualified professional to get the most out of anti-aging hormone therapies for women. This will be helpful in ruling out other factors that may be responsible for accelerated aging. You may not really need therapy until your hormone levels are significantly low.
A medical expert is better able to tell if therapy is the solution to the age-related issues you may be having. Before anything is done, examination of medical history and blood tests will have to be performed. The outcomes of those would be key to the determination of appropriate steps to take.
A major reason you need to speak to a professional is safety. It is not yet clear how safe most of these hormones could be when used consistently for a long time. So, expert guidance will be crucial.
Anti-aging hormone therapies may be beneficial to women with low hormone levels that could contribute to aging. Those in perimenopause and menopause make up the main group which the treatments are targeted. Hormones are responsible for many vital processes in the body. So it is crucial to maintain a balance for superb health and graceful aging.