Susan Ashley, M.D. – Spokane Bioidentical Hormones Specialist
Dr. Susan Ashley specializes in anti-aging medicine, and she combines specialized anti-aging therapies, such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy with traditional and alternative medicine practices to provide a way for patients to reduce or eliminate the many signs of aging.
One of the most common culprits for the symptoms of aging is hormone imbalance, and because hormones control thousands of functions in the human body, they must be balanced for a person to achieve and maintain optimal levels of health. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women to recover from imbalanced hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are identical in chemical structure to the body’s natural hormones. They are produced in a lab from plant matter that has an abundance of “phyto-hormones” which can be easily converted into bioidentical hormones.
These hormones include estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol), progesterone, testosterone, melatonin, pregnenolone, and adrenal hormones such as DHEA and cortisol. Bioidentical thyroid hormones are also available.
Bioidentical hormones have an identical chemical and molecular structure to the natural hormones produced by the human body. They are custom formulated for each patient to generate normal, physiological responses when taken in the required doses. The human body has receptors for specific hormones, and bio-identical hormones attach easily to these receptors for a “perfect fit”. Synthetic hormones are different in molecular structure to human hormones and do not provide an exact fit, which can result in numerous side effects.
Restoring Deficient Hormones
Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Many women gain weight during menopause. How much weight gain and where it is distributed depends on which hormones are declining and out of balance. Weight gain is in the middle of the body when estrogen decreases out of proportion. Cortisol facilitates increased fat storage and weight gain around the waist. If progesterone is too low and estrogen is too high, weight gain is around the hips. Low levels of thyroid can cause obesity. The balance of all hormones in the body is important to maintain the correct weight and body composition.
Bioidentical hormones reestablish hormonal balance in the body in a natural way. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can ease the symptoms of menopause, peri-menopause, and andropause. BHRT is also effective in alleviating symptoms of uterine fibroids and PMS, and regulating menstrual cycles. BHRT has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and heart disease, reduce osteoporosis risks, slow down the aging process, and improve muscle tone, skin and sleep quality, as well as enhance energy.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is beneficial whenever a hormone imbalance is diagnosed. Hormone imbalances can manifest as peri-menopause, menopause, andropause, PMS, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The goals of BHRT are not only to ease unpleasant symptoms but to also restore hormonal balance naturally and provide the body with the same protective health benefits that the body’s own hormones would provide.
BHRT has many positive health benefits and no dangerous side effects when administered and monitored by a doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormones and BHRT. While bio-identical hormones can be taken for a prolonged time, the length of BHRT depends on the individual hormonal imbalance and health conditions.
Getting Started With Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Consulting with a medical doctor who specializes in BHRT is the first step. Baseline hormonal testing will ensure the safe and precise application of BHRT. Hormone levels should be tested every three months until a proper hormonal balance is established, then tested on an annual basis.
Very few physicians are trained in bioidentical hormones and BHRT. Patients must follow the guidelines of a bioidentical hormone doctor to experience the full range of benefits BHRT provides. An experienced, knowledgeable bioidentical doctor can interpret a hormone test and prescribe a BHRT program customized to an individual patient.