What in the world is a plastic surgeon doing getting involved in optimizing hormones? Plastic surgeons typically train for 7 years after medical school to learn their craft. We learn about and operate on every part of the human body, from the soles of the feet to the top of the head. The old saying is that plastic surgery is the surgery of the skin and its contents (the whole body). Even though we may be made a parody of on television, we are involved in more than just make people look better. Part of our aesthetic (cosmetic) work involves psychological aspects of our patients and their happiness. Paramount to happiness is feeling as good as possible. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my patients say after surgery "I look better, I wish I felt better". This got me investigating what I could do as a physician to help my patients feel as young as they look.
In women we know that as they approach menopause they feel worse and begin to show the signs of aging more quickly, much of this due to the rapid change in their hormone levels. Restoring hormones to these women can alleviate many of their menopause symptoms and also has a marked beneficial effect on their long term health, both mental and physical. The same can be said of men, except that they don't fall off the "hormone cliff" the way women do. Men begin to drop their Testosterone levels in their 30's and continue to gradually drift down as they age. The symptoms for men and women are different but the long term health effects are similar. Restoring hormone levels to the natural level they had in their youth helps people feel better as well as limiting some of the signs of aging. In addition it decreases a host of illnesses that are associated with aging and allow people to live their life to the fullest for as many years as possible.
So how is this done in practice?
First we determine what each individual's symptoms are to make sure we address their concerns. We also do lab tests to determine where they stand hormonally. This includes looking at thyroid function, glucose levels as well as adrenal function. During treatment we monitor symptoms first and then numbers. After all, we are treating people not numbers. If the patient feels better and has less symptoms we know we are moving in the right direction.
Hormonal replacement is based on achieving optimal hormone levels, not on so called normal numbers that are typically age based and essentially irrelevant. Who cares if you are at the mid level of those who are your age if people at your age don't feel well? Isn't it a better idea to restore your hormone levels to those you had when you were at your physical peak? This doesn't mean we overshoot, or try to boost you to non physiological levels which could actually be detrimental to your health. We want you to be at the optimal level for healthy young people. These levels are safe and restorative.
What kind of hormones are used and can they be dangerous?
Only Bio Identical hormones are used. They have been used for many years and shown to be safe. Bio Identical means the hormones have the EXACT same chemical makeup as the hormones that your body produces. This is in contrast to the hormones that are manufactured and patented by drug companies that can have so many side effects. Bio identical hormones are made from plant extracts. The dosage is adjusted to meet your body's needs. They can be administered in daily creams, weekly shots or quarterly subcutaneous pellets.
How will I know if it's working?
Your symptoms should decrease and usually go away entirely. For women this means they stop having hot flashes and night sweats and their mood improves. They should sleep better and have more energy for work and sex. In men we see a loss of abdominal fat, increased muscle mass (you still have to hit the gym to get optimal results), increased energy and more libido. Depression is also helped if it is present.
To learn more, download the attached articles which describe what is done specifically for men and what is done for women. The initial consultation takes 45 minutes or so and after some easy lab tests we get you started. Follow up exams are done at approximately 3 month intervals. We'll also implement some over the counter medications (neutraceuticals) and encourage you to lead a more healthy lifestyle including a low carbohydrate diet and regular exercise.
Download Female Hormone Replacement Info
Download Male Hormone Replacement Info
I look forward to seeing you.
Dean Jabs, MD, PhD