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“Why Don’t I Feel Good?” Functional Medicine Goes Beyond Only Ensuring the Absence of Disease

Getting your Hormones in Shape for Summer

Swimsuit season is here! But if you are struggling with the symptoms of hormone imbalance, you might not be too excited about showing off your “beach bod.” Both men and women can have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight and muscle mass ratio when they are “out of balance.” When your hormones are out of whack, the rest of the body usually follows. 

Weight Gain in Women
Ladies, does any of this sound familiar?  

  • Weight gain around the middle 
  • Bloating 
  • Favorite jeans don’t fit 
  • Less muscle mass 
  • Have a harder time losing weight 

As estrogen levels drop during perimenopause and menopause, weight gain and changes in weight distribution can be an unpleasant side effect. Women gain an average of five pounds during menopause, but many women who are already overweight or obese will continue to gain. Other factors can contribute to weight gain during this time, including fatigue, antidepressant use, sleep changes, “empty nest syndrome,” and changes in job or relationships. 

 And it’s not just about switching from a bikini to a one-piece. Significant weight gain in your 40s puts you at greater risk for serious health problems like breast cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.  

 One way to prevent this cascade of health problems is to maintain healthy hormone levels. With SottoPelle bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, one treatment every few months can keep you feeling and looking your best all year round without the hormone roller coaster. Customized to you, pellets deliver the right dose of hormone at the right time for constant, consistent results. 

Weight gain in Men
Men aren’t immune from hormone-related changes that affect their beach body, either. As testosterone levels drop, men tend to experience an increase in weight, an increase in body fat, and a decrease in lean muscle mass and strength. Sometimes breast tissue enlarges (gynecomastia).  

 Additional symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, depression, and a decrease in motivation or self-confidence can also contribute to weight gain in men during this time. And, just like with women, obesity raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  

 Something else many men don’t realize: obesity and hormone imbalance can contribute to erectile dysfunction. In fact, obesity and hormone imbalance in men seem to feed into one another, each causing the other to become worse. 

 Good thing SottoPelle Therapy works for men, too! SottoPelle’s bioidentical testosterone therapy delivers a steady, consistent dose of natural hormone right into your bloodstream, keeping your T levels where they need to be all year long. 

 Men and women, If your 40+ “beach bod” isn’t what you hoped it would be and you can’t seem to get and keep the weight off, it could mean that your hormones need to get in shape before you can. 

Book your SottoPelle appointment today and your beach vacation next! 

Resources 

https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/june/obesity-and-weight-management-at-menopause/ 

https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/men-is-obesity-affecting-your-sex-life/ 

Re-igniting Your Relationship

Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain?

You don’t have to answer… these are just the lyrics to a familiar song about a longtime couple who went “looking” for adventures in romance and wound up re-discovering one other.

Maybe one of the reasons the song has stood the test of time is because many men and women can relate. Keeping a relationship fresh can be challenging when you’ve been together for a long time. Jobs, kids, parents, stress, plus the effects of aging can all take a toll.

If the romance between you and your partner tastes a little flat, don’t assume it’s “love on the rocks.” There are many things you can do. Think of this list as a swizzle stick for your marriage, stirring up all those feelings from when you first fell in love! So, belly up to the bar and let’s see what’s on the menu.

Write a Love Letter to Your Spouse

Everyone loves to feel loved. Spending some time thinking about and expressing what you love and appreciate about your partner is a great way to re-kindle some of those feelings. Human psychology often leads us to take things (and people) for granted. Let your spouse know you are still in love with him or her. There’s a good chance that some of those little details you fell in love with haven’t changed a bit.

Try Something New Together

Whether it’s a new restaurant, a weekend away to a place you’ve never been, or a salsa class, doing something new together will boost both of your dopamine levels and give you that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling we associate with new love. According to Psychology Today, studies show that learning a new activity together strengthens a couple’s bond.

Kiss More Often

Did you know that simply by smiling, you can improve your mood? The physical act has an impact on your mental state. In the same way, you can increase feelings of love and attraction by simply making an effort to kiss, touch, and cuddle more often with your partner. Give it a try!

Revisit Special Places

Where did you meet? Go on your first date? Did you have a particularly romantic encounter, for example on a cruise or vacation? Go back to that place and watch how the triggered memories can rekindle your flame.

Fix Your Physiology

Sometimes there is a physiological component to why you just aren’t “feeling it.” Hormone imbalance can take a toll on your sex life, creating loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and vaginal dryness. Low hormone levels can cause belly fat build-up and a reduction in lean muscle mass, making you feel less attractive. Out of whack hormones can even tank your mood, create anxiety, or launch you into depression. If any of this sounds familiar, a SottoPelle provider may be able to help. Bioidentical hormone replacement with pellet therapy is a safe, proven way to bring your hormones back to healthy levels so you can look and feel your best.

So, whether it’s piña coladas, whiskey sours or a cold glass of non-alcoholic bubbly water, let’s toast to your relationship and all the ways to keep it fresh and fun even as the years go by!

Why Your Bones Want You To Have Healthy Hormones

You know that having balanced hormones helps alleviate symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido and mood swings. But healthy hormone levels do more than improve the way you feel– they can save your bones (and maybe even your life).

May is National Osteoporosis Month, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

● An estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, 80% of them women
● Almost half of women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis
● A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.1

Not only that, studies show that the risk of death goes up sharply in the event of a hip or back fracture.2

What does this have to do with hormones?

The hormone estrogen protects women’s bones, and when menopause hits and estrogen levels plummet, women are at greater risk for bone loss, osteoporosis and fractures. Hormone replacement therapy keeps estrogen levels where they should be, protecting your bones and, as a result, your health and vitality.

What if I am already taking medications to prevent bone loss?

While for older women with a diagnosis of osteoporosis, bone building drugs can and do reduce the incidence of fractures, many younger post-menopausal women with osteopenia (bone loss that is not as severe as osteoporosis) are being prescribed these drugs on a “preventive” basis. These drugs can have serious side effects, and research shows that they don’t provide much protection from fractures for women in these situations.3

Maintaining healthy hormone levels can help women protect their bones without the side effects associated with bone building medications.

What about men?

Just like with women, healthy hormone levels are an important part of protecting bone health in men.

A 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that one year of testosterone therapy significantly increased bone density and bone strength in men aged 65 and older. This is part of what researchers have dubbed “the T Trials,” an effort by the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of testosterone treatment in 790 men ages 65 and older. The ongoing trials will next seek to confirm if testosterone therapy and its bone-building ability also protects men from suffering fractures.4

In the meantime, it’s exciting that the research is catching up to what we already know– that healthy hormone levels are key to aging well, staying strong, remaining vital, and holding onto your health, all the way down to your bones!

Resources:

1. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124750/
3. http://hormonebalance.org/userfiles/file/aarp_bone_health.pdf
4. https://www.healio.com/primary-care/mens-health/news/online/%7B65bd909f-b9ad-420a-89f8-2128df053f51%7D/testosterone-treatment-improves-bone-density-strength-in-older-men

Testosterone Therapy: Help For Men With Low T & Weight Issues

Obesity is a problem for 70 million adults in the United States including 54 million men. But while we know that obesity raises our risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and more, for men it is also linked to hormone deficiency.

Bottom line: many men who are obese might also have low testosterone (T).

Looked at closely, it appears to be a case of the chicken and the egg. Testosterone deficiency causes men to gain fat and lose lean muscle mass. Insulin resistance caused by obesity lowers testosterone levels. As those two forces feed each other, the result is a man who is overweight and getting bigger, is unmotivated to lose the weight, and if he does try, has very little success.

If you know someone like this, testosterone pellet therapy could be the answer.

The numbers support this. A 2007 study of men ages 40 and up found that each one-point increase in BMI coincided with a 2% decrease in testosterone. A 2008 study of men ages 30 and up found that a four-inch increase in waist circumference increased a man’s odds of having low testosterone by 75%. Waist size was the strongest predictor of developing symptoms of testosterone deficiency. Australian research suggests that one in every seven obese men could benefit from testosterone replacement.1

By raising testosterone to proper levels with the help of pellets & SottoPelle’s bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, patients report signs that the vicious cycle of obesity and low T are lowered.

Fit mature man smiling while standing in a gym lifting heavy weights during a workout session

How can healthy levels of testosterone help men lose weight and keep it off?

  • Healthy testosterone levels help men build lean muscle mass
  • Healthy testosterone levels help men burn fat more effectively.
  • Healthy testosterone levels help improve mood and make men feel more motivated, competitive and excited about life in general.

It’s not just anecdotal, either. According to Endocrine News, a study presented at ENDO 2019 showed that long-term testosterone therapy in men with obesity and hypogonadism contributed to prolonged weight loss without added risks. In fact, losing the weight and being healthier as a result actually lowered their risk of mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events.

Not only that, but even though patients in the study were always counseled on exercise and nutrition, it was only once they had begun testosterone therapy that they began to follow the recommendations and even ask for more!

It appears that testosterone replacement therapy knocked them out of the vicious cycle of low T and weight gain into a healthier feedback loop of weight loss, physical activity and motivation.

That’s great news! Here’s more:

Over the ten years of the study, the men who received testosterone lost over 20% of their baseline weight, their waist circumference dropped by almost five whole inches, and their BMI decreased by over seven kg/m2. The control group (who received no testosterone) gained in all three measurements.2

Now that you know the link between obesity and low testosterone, what can you do?

First you need to find out if low testosterone may be fueling your inability to lose weight and stay healthy.

Make an appointment with a SottoPelle practitioner to find out if you are a candidate for bioidentical hormone replacement and break the vicious cycle!

References:

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Obesity: Unhealthy and Unmanly.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School, Mar. 2011, www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/obesity-unhealthy-and-unmanly.
  2. Bagley, Derek. “The Long Haul: Treating Men with Obesity with Testosterone.” Endocrine News: Endocrine Society, June 24, 2019, https://endocrinenews.endocrine.org/the-long-haul-treating-men-with-obesity-with-testosterone/

Five more Myths about Testosterone and Women

Five more Myths about Testosterone and Women

We’ve already posted our Top 5 Myths about testosterone use in women, but, believe it or not, there is even more misinformation out there! Let’s dispel a few more untruths about testosterone replacement therapy for women.

Myth #1: Testosterone has adverse effects on the heart. We aren’t sure where this one came from. Perhaps because men have more testosterone than women and men are at greater risk of heart disease than women, someone drew a correlation where none exists. In reality, the exact opposite is true. There is substantial evidence that testosterone is cardiac protective. It has a positive effect on lean body mass, blood sugar metabolism, cardiac muscle, and lipid profiles in both men and women. It is even used to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. For women with congestive heart failure, testosterone has been shown to improve muscle strength, insulin resistance, and functional capacity. You heard it here: healthy levels of testosterone are good for your heart!

Myth #2: Testosterone causes liver damage. Perhaps this myth arose after concerns of liver and kidney damage in men who took anabolic steroids and oral synthetic androgens. Testosterone patches and implants, unlike pellet hormone replacement therapy, pellets bypass the liver and have no adverse effects on the organ itself, liver enzymes, or clotting factors. We might also add that non-oral testosterone does not increase the risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis the way oral estrogens, androgens and synthetic progestins do.

Myth #3: Testosterone causes aggression. This completely unfounded myth couldn’t be more wrong. Although anabolic steroid use has been shown to increase aggression, this is not the case for testosterone therapy. Even large doses of subcutaneous (under the skin) testosterone therapy do not increase aggression. In fact, studies show that in 90% of women treated for symptoms of androgen deficiency, instances of anxiety, irritability and aggression all decreased with therapy. We’ve known this for a long time: androgen therapy has been used to treat PMS for more than 60 years.

Myth #4: Testosterone may increase the risk of breast cancer. This myth can be a little complicated to sort out because some past studies have noted an association between elevated androgen levels and breast cancer. However, methodological limitations and inconsistencies in these studies call them into question, as well as the fact that they do not account for elevated estradiol levels (excess testosterone can be converted by the body into estradiol, an estrogen associated with breast cancer). Clinical trials have confirmed that a healthy balance of testosterone and estradiol is breast protective. Testosterone therapy does not increase the risk of breast cancer and may actually lower it in women on estrogen therapy.

Myth #5: The safety of testosterone use in women has not been established. We’ve been accumulating data on testosterone use in women since 1938, when testosterone implants were first used in female patients. Long-term data confirms the safety, efficacy and tolerability of doses of up to 225 mg in women for up to 40 years of therapy. Additionally, data on higher doses of testosterone used in transgender “female to male” patients shows no increase in mortality or major health problems, including breast cancer or vascular disease. Testosterone is safe for women. Seven decades of data proves it.

For more myths about testosterone therapy and women, read our Top 5 Myths on Testosterone Use in Women.

Reference:

Glaser et al. Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and misconceptions. Maturitas (2013) 74:231-234