Women and Hormone Therapy – Expert Answers to Top Questions
Laurie Miller talks to Viking’s Clinical Director, Elizabeth Snedeker, about the top questions women have regarding #HormoneReplacementTherapy. Of the two genders, women benefit from HRT far more than men do (as a rule). Ladies, if you’re over the age of 40, you should check on Hormone Therapy as a solution for lower energy, weight gain, hair/skin/nail improvement, better cognitive abilities, heightened libido, and so much more.
[00:00:00.000] – Elizabeth Snedeker
Say, I have a patient that’s 45, she’s in the throes of perimenopause or menopause. She doesn’t like her husband, her children. She loves them, but there’s so much work. She’s not sleeping. She’s hot all the time. She’s sweating. Feels like she can’t even wear makeup because she’s just going to sweat it off during the day. When she does work out, nothing really happens. So she just has lost that drive. We’re six months into therapy and she is a new lady.
[00:00:28.950] – Laurie Miller
Hey, it’s Laurie. I am here today with Elizabeth Snedeker, who is the Clinical Director of Viking. She’s going to tell us, we’re going to do a few segments. So just answering your questions and getting a little more in-depth about hormone replacement therapy, what that entails, what are these things, what are the benefits, what are the risks. So we’re going to do several short segments just to get that covered and answer your questions. So if you have questions, just comment or send those questions in and we’ll be glad to cover them in a segment. Elizabeth, tell us a little bit about you, please.
[00:01:13.210] – Elizabeth Snedeker
Hi. So I am, as Laurie said, I’m the Clinical Director Supervisor here at Viking, which just means that I’ve been here for a while and I know the in and out of things and I go over our protocols and make sure our patient satisfaction is high always and handle practitioner questions and things like that. So I love what I do. The best area of medicine I’ve ever worked in with the highest satisfaction for me as a practitioner because we make a difference in people’s Lives every day.
[00:01:48.930] – Laurie Miller
So I’ve asked Elizabeth, what are the top three issues that women ask about or the top three things they inquire? And so we’re just going to do a rundown of those. What would you say is probably the First one?
[00:02:02.080] – Elizabeth Snedeker
What I always tell people, a lot of times women come to us through their husband or they see what hormone replacement therapy is done for someone they know or a lot of times their husband will come first or their partner. And they’ll come through and they’ll say, Well, what is this about? Now that I see how big of a difference it’s made for my partner, I want to know what this is about. But women, as the difference just in how we are, they’re a little bit more skeptical. We’re a little more hesitant to just jump right into things most of the time. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just how we are. We’re a little more cautious.
[00:02:40.960] – Laurie Miller
I think we’ve heard a lot of conflicting information, too, about hormone replacement therapy for women, as opposed to what’s out there about men as well.
[00:02:49.400] – Elizabeth Snedeker
Yes. So there’s a lot of questions and answers. So the first question I get is, how is this going to help my life? How is this going to benefit my day to day? And so the target population that we are really shooting for, for women, are women that are starting to notice they are aging. That’s really, they’re noticing some changes in their skin, hair, and nails. They’re noticing they’re not as energetic, they’re not able to lose weight or retain muscle mass as well. They are moody, they’re having some irritability issues, or they’re real anxious or depressed mood. I’m telling you, HRT just a lot of your person. And so that’s our target population. We’ll do anything by case-by-case basis at any age to see what we can do for you to help. But target population is somewhere probably over 30, 35. And perimenopause, which is that range, that area of life where your body is just starting to decide, When am I going to stop or go into menopause? That can happen as early as 35 with your symptoms to start, and it can go on different lengths of time for different women. It can in severity of symptoms can be different.
[00:04:10.160] – Elizabeth Snedeker
So benefit of HRT for women, specifically in the perimenopausal or menopausal state, help with hot flashes, night sweats, help with mood to benefit feeling less irritable, anxious, depressed. Also, more energy, more libido. It helps with vaginal dryness or sexual dysfunction. It just gives you a bit of a zest for life again.
[00:04:35.910] – Laurie Miller
That’s been one of my main things is just motivation and drive and just feeling good enough to.
[00:04:44.980] – Elizabeth Snedeker
– Take care of yourself. Yes. Yeah, and take care of those around us. As women, we have a lot on our plate. Most women have quite a bit on our plate, and we’re usually dead last when it comes into. So as we age, we keep up with that for a good amount of time. We’re able to squeeze ourselves in there. But as we age, we lose that motivation and that drive to, I’m taking care of everybody else. I got kids in sports, my husband needs this, I’m running a business, or I have to keep work on the table too. So we’re just dead last. Well, HRT gives you the ability not to be selfish and put your… I’m not saying that it changes that mindset, but it changes your ability to have the motivation, energy, and drive to take care of yourself and your confidence level, to be honest. Absolutely. Those are some benefits. Long-term benefits of HRT, bone retention helps to prevent osteoporosis, helps with your muscle retention, helps with cognition and dementia prevention. I mean, large key areas that women really struggle with as we age with bone fractures, losing our strength, therefore we lose our mobility, our flexibility.
[00:05:59.880] – Elizabeth Snedeker
We’re more prone to falls in that regard. And then also as we age, we can slow down a little bit cognitively. HRT is so preventative in all of these areas. I just can’t seem to praise it enough. So for women, it’s just, and we are women, especially I love the men too, don’t get me wrong. But helping women to just realize that they don’t have to feel like that as we get older. It’s not something that our doctor, some of our doctors just say this is just going to be. Well, looking down the pipe, that’s pretty.
[00:06:37.450] – Laurie Miller
And it’s really crazy to me the amount of suffering that women go through this whole period, and it’s just unnecessary. And not only can you ameliorate those symptoms, but you can even thrive above that. And so it’s really sad to me that this isn’t addressed more. I’m really excited about getting, like Sam was saying HRT is probably more life-changing for women even than the men. That has been my experience for sure because, as you’re saying, helps in so many different regards for women, and because we are busy taking care of everybody else. By the time we get everyone else taken care of, typically, we’re just like, Oh, I just need to sit. I just need to rest. I need to have a little bit of sleep. Speaking of sleep, that was a huge one for me. Just sleep alone and getting sleep after I started this was a game-changer all the way around. I think it stands that women, their treatment is just huge with hormone replacement therapy, for sure.
[00:07:58.790] – Elizabeth Snedeker
It is. It’s my favorite thing to hear say, I have a patient that’s 45. She’s in the throes of perimenopause or menopause. She doesn’t like her husband, her children, she loves them, but there’s so much work. She’s not sleeping, she’s hot all the time, she’s sweating. Feels like she can’t even wear makeup because she’s just going to sweat it off during the day. When she does work out, nothing really happens. So she just has lost that drive. We’re six months into therapy and she is a new lady. She is sleeping. She has taken care of herself. She’s taking care of everybody else around her. She’s sharper mentally. She is with it. And I’ll say this as a generalization, some women take longer to dial in on their therapy, and some women are not candidates for therapy. But those are my favorite clients, men and women that come to me and they say, What is this about? Is this an option for me? Six months down the road, they’re like, Why did I wait so long to do this? Because I’ve been miserable for 10 years, and I didn’t have to be.
[00:09:02.530] – Laurie Miller
I think that’s probably one of your biggest comments from existing patients would be, Why did I suffer like that? Again, that was my experience because I really had no idea that all that cluster of symptoms was even related. It took me a minute to catch on to that. And once I did, like I said, it’s not magical sprinkling of fairy dust, but it’s pretty close.
[00:09:29.320] – Elizabeth Snedeker
Yes. Hormones are in the driver’s seat for so many of our life processes, our mentation, our metabolism, so many things. The second thing I hear a lot from women is, okay, you’re telling me all these benefits. Where is the red tape? What’s the risk here for me? And so with everything that we do in medicine, there is an amount of risk that goes with my HRT. Myself and our practitioner team here at Viking are very transparent about the risks. It’s not something like she said, it’s not magical fairy dust. We’re actually dealing with human hormones that we don’t strive for astronomical, super physiological levels of hormones. We really try to keep you within what you would be, say, 10 or 20 years prior in your life. We’re not going over an abundance. However, anybody that has had any female that has had a hormone-dependent cancer of any kind is not a candidate for HRT unless we do a case-by-case basis and we’ll work with clearance from your specialist. But in a generalization, no patient with any type of hormone-dependent cancer is a candidate. And that being said, we always want you to have a yearly pelvic exam, a yearly mammogram while you’re on HRT to make sure that we’re not feeding any hormone-dependent cancer.
[00:11:00.860] – Elizabeth Snedeker
So hormone replacement therapy will not give you cancer. If you do develop a hormone-dependent cancer while you’re on hormone replacement therapy, that in lies the risk. And so that is why preventative screening and making sure that your specialists like your OB/GYN or whoever is doing your comprehensive preventative care is aware that you’re on HRT so that they can adjust and customize your preventative screening accordingly. Because the danger lies, and if you do develop a breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, that’s hormone dependent, some are not, that we will accelerate potentially that disease process. And so at Viking, we are very we’re very much in the belief that the benefit that you’re going to get, as long as we do it right, medically monitored and you’re involved in your care and you’re educated, it way outweighs the risk of the bad things that could happen with it. So that’s one risk. Really, the other risk for females and a lot of what you hear in the news has a lot to do with the synthetic hormones. So primarins and things like that. These are synthetic hormones, so they’re not what we’re dealing with. The products that Viking deal with are bioidentical hormones, which mean your body identifies these.
[00:12:25.940] – Elizabeth Snedeker
They’re not from supermarins from horses. What we deal with is what the body identifies as human hormones. We do micronized bioidentical progesterone. We use only licensed compounding pharmacies within the US. We have licenses with through… And so it’s a totally different ball game as far as addressing the risk. Cardiovascular, what’s actually seen to improve cardiovascular risk over time and the cancer risk will not increase your risk for cancer if you were unfortunate enough to develop while you’re on it. Really, for females, the other risks are just the aggravation risk that can come from using testosterone. If you’re very sensitive to testosterone, adverse effects could be accelerating with hair growth. So you could notice that you’re shaving a lot more frequently, your voice deepens or you have putorial enlargement that’s uncomfortable for you. But most of those, all of those really, if we catch them quick enough, they are reversible as long as we just toned down your testosterone level. So that’s why at Viking, we’re just very serious about medically monitoring you. When you get started on therapy, we have a very supportive structure in the beginning. You’re always welcome to reach out. Hey, this is going on.
[00:13:48.370] – Elizabeth Snedeker
How am I supposed to be feeling right now? This is an issue. We will see you at our consultation, I’ll elaborate you to tell you what we think is your best protocol. And we see you again and we have you get last seven weeks and eight week consult if you do the injectable testosterone. But you’re welcome to always reach out in between. A lot of times we also utilize Progesterone. Progesterone is going to help with a lot of the perimenopausal syndrome symptoms and then also estrogen, if it’s indicated and you’re truly postmenopausal. You’re welcome to call in. I’ll have a conversation with you. You don’t have to go through all of the gamut of new patient intake labs. If you just want to have a conversation, then I’m happy to do that for you just to answer any specific.
[00:14:39.170] – Laurie Miller
Questions that you have. That’s one of the things that I have learned so much about Viking is that the accessibility is one because they really will walk you through, they’ll answer questions. If you pop up with a concern like, I don’t know if this is normal on a random Tuesday, you can actually reach someone and have that question answered and have that addressed. And not just someone, but someone who is skilled and educated and deals with these things every single day and can guide you specifically on how to deal with that and is that normal? I think it’s just really important to know that these are medical providers. These are people who have studied extensively into the way the hormones work in the body and the functional doses and maximizing the doses and how to titrate for you. Because everybody’s different when it comes to hormones as far as what protocol works best for you. And so I love that. And once you get settled in that, then you’re pretty much set. But I love that in the beginning they are so involved and accessible to get that all really just finetuned for you and what your needs are.
[00:15:53.540] – Laurie Miller
Just reach out to us. If you are interested in more information, we’ll be happy to answer any questions. If you’ve got questions you want to put in the comments, we’ll come back by and answer them. I think both of us are just really, as healthcare providers, just really excited about changing the lives of women and men, but focus it on women today. We’ll be glad to answer any questions anytime. Hope you all have a good day. Bye.