At certain turning points in your life, you will experience hormone fluctuations (puberty, young adulthood, adulthood, perimenopause, and menopause). As a natural, normal shift in your hormones happen, you may feel a little more sensitive to the rise and fall of these chemical messengers. Have you felt like you have had a recent shift in your hormone levels? This may be why you have not felt like yourself recently or suspect something is "off" in your body that you can't put your finger on the cause. At Shumway Cosmetic Surgery, we understand that on some days, you may wake up feeling tired, depressed, or edgy. Dr. Robert A. Shumway would like you to consider having your hormone levels analyzed at his practice in La Jolla, CA. Not only is he a cosmetic surgeon with special skills in skin rejuvenation, but Dr. Shumway is also highly trained in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) because he believes that you should not only "look as young as you feel but feel as young as you look."
Dr. Shumway does his best to help each patient customize a treatment for their unbalanced hormones, presenting symptoms, and illnesses that arise because of unstable hormones in the body. He can also take a proactive approach to your health when hormones rise and fall to avoid unpleasant symptoms. BHRT can optimize hormone levels for more vitality, energy, and a better quality of life.
Our hormones perform as chemical messengers that travel through our bodies, regulating our development, behavior, digestion, metabolism, mood, fertility, and other processes. The brain signals our glands to secrete hormones and send them into the bloodstream. Each hormone targets specific receptor cells that respond to the signal. The hormone then binds to the cell and causes a biological response. Some of the most common hormones we treat at Shumway Cosmetic Surgery are:
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone manufactured by your adrenal glands and your brain, then leads the way to the production of testosterone and estrogen. Most people's DHEA levels begin to decline after age 30. Pharmaceutical-grade DHEA supplements have been shown to help with obesity, depression, adrenal insufficiency, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus. Some physicians have prescribed DHEA to treat sexual dysfunction in men and women and improve symptoms associated with osteoporosis.
Did you know that men need estrogen, too? Estrogen is one of several hormones that women possess in abundance; however, men need it, too. Low estrogen can cause excess belly fat and a decrease in sex drive for men. Men with high levels of estrogen may experience infertility. Low estrogen levels in women can cause hot flashes, problematic sleeping, weakened or no sexual desire, mood swings, osteoporosis, and dry skin. High levels of estrogen in women can result in weight gain, uterine fibroids, loss of sex drive, and feelings of depression or anxiety.
When you are healthy and get enough sleep, the hormone melatonin is produced in a rhythmic cycle: more at night and less during the day. The bloodstream carries it to different parts of the body, where receptors pick up the sleep signal. Overall, melatonin levels decline throughout your life, and low levels can make it difficult to sleep. Supplementing with melatonin can get you a better night's rest.
Women with low levels of progesterone have abnormal menstrual cycles and may have trouble conceiving. Women with low progesterone (who do conceive) are at a higher risk for miscarriage or pre-term delivery. What's more, low progesterone levels can cause estrogen levels to skyrocket, which can decrease sex drive, result in loss of sleep, contribute to weight gain, or cause gallbladder problems.
Testosterone is generally considered a male hormone, but it is important for women as well. A low testosterone level in women can affect the libido and muscle strength. Too much testosterone for women may cause irregular periods, body hair, high blood pressure, infertility, and weight gain. Low testosterone levels in men are linked to low energy, depression, low libido, erectile dysfunction, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Your thyroid hormone plays a much larger role in your health than you may realize as it is a regulator of your metabolism. When you don't have enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroid), you may feel tired or cold, have a very sluggish metabolism, have constipation, and inexplicable weight gain. An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can leave you feeling nervous, irritable, unable to properly focus, have trouble sleeping, and encounter an unwanted weight loss.
"I had a facial last week with Heather, it was such a nice relaxing experience. Heather explained how all the products work and the benefits of using them consistently! Heather was very gentle and I highly recommend her! After I finish this review I am calling the office to schedule my next appointment."- K.M. / Yelp / Feb 07, 2019
"Had a facial with Heather Shumway, by far amazing ! She's very knowledgeable about skincare .. my skin was feeling very dry and dull and was having some mild breakouts .. my skin feels and looks amazing!!! I will definitely be going back"- A.M. / Yelp / Jan 10, 2019
"I've been a patient here for many years and had several procedures. Dr. Shumway is always caring and takes the time to answer all questions and concerns and the results are fantastic. I visited several doctors before deciding on Dr. Shumway and am glad I made the decision to become a patient here. Follow up care and scheduling by the staff are top notch. They all truly care about the patient and go the extra mile to make sure you are well cared for. When I developed breast cancer (I did not have any breast procedures here) and was down, they took the time to send me a card to lift my spirits. Not many doctors and staff would do that. I'm also very happy with Heather Shumway, please go and enjoy a facial with her. Very relaxing and she provides great advice on your skin."- J.P. / Yelp / Dec 28, 2018
"They did a great job. Love everybody. I recommend them a 100%. They care about their patients."- L.T. / Google / Nov 09, 2018
"A Center of Excellence is no accident. Especially when headed by one of the Top Docs in Cosmetic Surgery on the West Coast. Besides his multiple Board Certifications he is a great Human being with genuine concern for his patients and has amazing bedside manners."- M.T. / Facebook / Aug 02, 2018
There are many identifiable traits of a person with hormonal deficiencies. When you meet with Dr. Shumway, be sure to divulge your complete medical history and describe any symptoms you think are important. He will order the correct blood work and provide you with professional guidance regarding the benefits and risks of BHRT and recommend a treatment protocol that is right for you. Some of the symptoms that may suggest a lowered hormone level of some nature may include:
- Low energy
- Loss of muscle
- Unbalanced or erratic moods
- Inadequate sleep or insomnia
- Loose, hanging skin
- Libido shifts
- Weight fluctuations
- Hot flashes
- Various degrees of erectile dysfunction for men
- Lack of vaginal lubrication for women
- Hair loss
- Brittle bones, hair, and/or nails
You may qualify for different types of BHRT modalities with hormones that are the same as those found in the body. Your options to remedy your particular imbalances will be personalized for your condition based on your blood hormone levels. Dr. Shumway can provide you with targeted dosages with BHRT skin patches, gel, oral tablets, pills, creams, or nasal sprays to boost the hormones needed to reestablish balance in your body. Dr. Shumway also offers pellet therapy for patients not wanting a synthetic source for their BHRT. Made from plants, pellets of hormones, like estrogen or testosterone, can be created by a compounding pharmacy as specified for the precise level of need (it is a customized dose for each patient). These pellets are produced small to be placed under the skin in some fatty tissue. Once the customized pellet is delivered, Dr. Shumway can insert BHRT pellets here in our La Jolla office.
As soon as the pellet hits your bloodstream, you will get a gradual distribution of BHRT around the clock for up to five months of the needed hormone (unless otherwise directed by Dr. Shumway). With pellet therapy, you do not have to remember to take pills, endure shots, or put on gels or creams on a daily basis. All you are required to do is keep your pellets up to date so that you do not have a relapse of your symptoms. Dr. Shumway can also reevaluate your blood hormone levels at each follow-up appointment to see if you are at a therapeutic dose.
BHRT for Women
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is changing the way women are experiencing the aging process — in a positive way. BHRT is responsible for improving the quality of life and health for many women through the supplementation to balance hormones.
As one of the most vital hormones in a woman's body, estrogen levels need to be just right for good health. If not, a woman with low estrogen can have issues with her teeth, vision, heart, colon, bones, reproductive system, central nervous system, and so much more. Postponing treatment for low estrogen will progressively make all symptoms worse as health declines and may even cause premature death.
Not every woman will have the same symptoms or severity level of the issues. There may be times of the month that mood improves, the pain eases in the joints, and the complexion of the skin looks a little better. However, it is not enough to prevent the life-threatening diseases and conditions that low estrogen can bring. Estrogen naturally fluctuates for women, especially women with a menstrual cycle or in a premenopausal stage of life. In the first week of menses, estrogen may rise enough to elevate some symptoms briefly. However, once estrogen plunges to a below-average level again, a woman's mood and overall health worsen. Low estrogen can bring on the development of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, loose skin, tooth and bone loss, and much more.
Even though it is a male hormone (an androgen), the production of testosterone is required for women to live happy, healthy lives. Testosterone is produced by a woman's ovaries and adrenal glands. It is in charge of several components in her mental and physical health. This hormone contributes to libido, bone health, muscle building, mental focus, and clarity. Dr. Shumway will test female patients for low testosterone when they report symptoms, like sleepiness or not sleeping, no interest in sex, depression, lack of focus, moodiness, and problems with putting on muscle mass no matter how much time is spent at the gym — only to put on fat weight. The lack of this hormone can weaken the brain, muscles, heart, bones, and metabolism if it is not renewed. Estrogen also needs testosterone to keep it in check for serotonin production to stabilize moods, to delay rapid muscle atrophy, to prevent early development of osteoporosis or joint pain, and much more.
BHRT for Men
Dr. Shumway provides men with symptoms of unbalanced hormones a chance to take a more proactive approach to health with BHRT therapy. Testosterone is the number one hormone we treat for men. Starting around the age of 30, men naturally begin to produce less testosterone each year at a rate of 3 – 10%. Given that men will lose some of their testosterone in adulthood, a patient with premature low testosterone in his early 20s or extremely low levels into adulthood will feel the loss of the hormone in more disruptive ways. Symptoms of low T in men can include:
- Weight gain and sluggish metabolism
- Poor quality of sleep or insomnia
- Feeling tired all of the time (even with sleep)
- Lack of concentration or focus
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- No sex drive
- Fertility issues
While there are many ways to supplement a man's bloodstream with additional testosterone, Dr. Shumway offers BHRT in pellet form. It keeps a constant reserve of testosterone in the body for 4 – 6 months for continuous coverage with no pills to take, injections, or creams to apply on the skin.
What to Expect
Maintaining optimal levels of the correct hormones promote an improved lifestyle and perhaps prevents further illnesses. Bio-identical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones that are naturally made in the body. They can be made from plants and vegetables, like yams and soybeans. Your hormones are responsible for regulating just about every function in your body. When your hormone levels are depleted, it can drastically impact the way you think, feel, and function. BHRT can get your hormones back in check.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if BHRT is appropriate for me?
You are right to ask this question because BHRT is not always right for every patient. Yes, it can be life-changing in improving symptoms, but hormone levels need to be closely monitored on a regular basis to make sure you are getting the accurate dosage. This means that as long as you are taking a BHRT, you will need your hormone levels checked frequently. Your hormones can fluctuate and cause an imbalance in your body, even while you are on medication or other therapies. You may also have symptoms of another underlying condition.
How do you diagnose a hormone imbalance?
Generally, you will go through a physical exam, a consultation, and a review of your current health conditions, medications, symptoms, and family medical history. Then, the diagnostic process for hormonal imbalances is a blood draw that studies the hormone levels in the body that corresponds with your symptoms.
How long does it take for BHRT to work?
We will explain in your initial consultation that every patient we see for BHRT will have their own treatment process, prescriptions, and protocols for applying the medications for optimal outcomes. Many of our patients at SCS will see and feel results within a few weeks as symptoms are relieved. Dr. Shumway truly understands that looking young is indeed wonderful, but feeling young and full of vitality is amazing.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- From $1,000
Feel More Like Yourself Again
We would like the opportunity to enhance the quality of your life at Shumway Cosmetic Surgery, especially if you have health indications pointing to hormonal issues. Dr. Shumway believes strongly that the aging process does not have to get the best of you or impede on your lifestyle. Our staff is committed to helping you feel like yourself again. Call us today in La Jolla, CA to schedule a consultation.