The age-old adage is youth is wasted on the youth. One day we may discover the secrets of eternal life. Until then, physicians and scientists will continue to focus on improving many of the symptoms associated with aging. Hearing aids, knee replacements, and glaucoma medication may become necessary for many of us. Our bodies change as we age. We allow these external and internal modifications to our bodies primarily because we need them to function. If you cannot hear, see, or walk, then the prospect of 'golden years' does not seem that enticing. Our needs get us places. Our wants are often saved for a rainy day.
The unique and somewhat remarkable thing is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) allows patients to focus on what they want, not just what they need. We appreciate the experience with age but like the feeling of some semblance of youth.
As we age, men’s testosterone levels naturally decline, while as women go through menopause, their estrogen levels decrease. These changes to our hormone levels become one of the hallmarks of aging but are different for men and women. However, living with the symptoms associated with these declining levels is not. Not every man develops low testosterone (hypogonadism), nor does every woman have severe menopausal symptoms.
Over eighty percent of women and forty percent of men suffer from menopausal symptoms and low testosterone as they age. When these symptoms affect day-to-day life, it becomes a problem. You can live with hot flashes or low libido, but do you want to? Do you want to feel better?
When done in a medically supervised setting and with proper patient screening, hormone replacement is incredibly safe. There are risks and benefits to everything we do, from eating a donut to buying a car. The key is shared decision-making with your medical provider and making informed choices. Unfortunately, for anyone looking for an upper hand in competitive competition, testosterone replacement at therapeutic levels is not what you are looking for or is misuse advised. However, HRT can be a transformative experience. Replacement of deficient hormones (HRT) can have a tremendous impact on our lives.
Ultimately, what matters is the feeling you can function at your best and do the things you want without thinking about how you will get through your day. Hot flashes can be debilitating. There is a sense of anxiety and conscientiousness that is understandable that comes with the symptoms. Not to mention mood swings commonly associated with menopause. Loss of vitality or vigor is widely associated with low testosterone. Imagine feeling run down every day. Low testosterone takes its toll. Furthermore, both men and women complain of sexual side effects related to hormone changes associated with aging. Relationships are impacted.
We utilize modern technology in healthcare daily. The question is not if hormone replacement therapy works. It’s if it is right for you. There is no replicating the experience that comes with age, but we can safely copy our body's natural hormone cycles. It’s ok to want to feel better. Youth doesn’t need to be wasted on the youth.
By: Alexander Dydyk, DO
Director of Pain Medicine