Mark James Bartiss, M.D. – New Jersey Bioidentical Hormones Specialist
For most people the first thought that comes to mind regarding hormone imbalance is a women in menopause. A decline in a woman’s hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) is generally seen at a stage in life known as menopause. The decline is usually rapid and dramatic and accompanied by symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, sleep disorders and a loss of sex drive to name a few.
Unbeknownst to most of us however, men to go through a period or phase similar to a woman in menopause known as andropause. Andropause, sometimes referred to as man-o-pause or “midlife crisis”, is experienced by nearly every male at some point in their lifetime as hormone levels decline although the onset is much more gradual than in women and therefore not as readily noted as are those symptoms affecting women in menopause.
Who Needs HRT and Why?
Any man or woman of any age that suffers from symptoms of hormone imbalance should seek out advice and possible treatment. We age as a result of a change in our hormone levels not the reverse. Staying young and healthy is key to a better quality of life and longevity.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe?
It depends on who you talk to and what type of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) you choose. In a nut shell, many studies have shown the safety and efficacy (positive benefits) of Bio-Identical HRT (BHRT) as opposed to the long term use of the “synthetic” hormones frequently –and until recently used, namely Premarin or Prempro. These synthetic imitators have been shown to be unsafe and not beneficial in certain subsets of women in a large multi-center trial known as the Women’s Health Initiative study released in 2002.
What is Bio-Identical Therapy (BHRT)?
BHRT is a therapeutic process where hormones that are deficient in the body are supplemented utilizing only compounds that are the exact replica of those the body normally produces and utilizes. It is because of this Natural approach to hormone replacement, that the side effects of BHRT are nil (minimal) in relation to those seen with the synthetics. Bio-Identical Hormones are derived from a natural plant source like soy or yam (or other plant) that is available only through compounding pharmacies. They are exact duplicates of those hormones found within the body. BHRT is essentially giving back AND BALANCING what the body can no longer produce.
This type of therapy has been documented and researched in the medical literature for nearly a century yet has been “pushed aside” since the advent of the pharmaceutical industry and development of the patent process. In other words, once again, wealth beats out health.
What Can BHRT Do For Me?
The quality of life given back to any man or woman undergoing BHRT is second only to that achieved from Intravenous Colchicine for disc disease and back pain.
Some of the quality of life benefits re-established through BHRT are:
- Restored/Increased Sex Drive and Performance
- Improvement and Consistency of Moods
- Relief from Anxiety and Depression
- Increased Mental Clarity, Focus, Energy and Memory
- Greater Capacity to get your Body Back into Shape
- Decrease, Reverse and Prevent Chronic Disease States such as; Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Dementia and Osteoporosis
- Improved sleep
I’ve heard that there are Different Types of BHRT, is this True?
Yes there are a variety of different forms of BHRT all of which have their individual pros and cons, pluses and minuses.
A list of some of the most frequent forms available can be found below:
- Pills and Trouches
- Oral/Rectal/Vaginal Suppositories
- Sublingual Drops
- Patches, Creams, Lotions and Gels
- Implantable Pellets
Which is the Preferred mode of Therapy?
The choice should be individualized and discussed between the doctor and the patient. It should take into consideration; ease of administration, cost and the presence of any other medication or therapies you are currently receiving. In my practice, I encourage the use of the implantable pellet therapy for a variety of reasons. The most compelling being the excellent track record in terms of safety, consistent hormone levels as well as the ease of administration. (You don’t have to remember to take any medication since it stays implanted and functional for several months). The choice however is ultimately up to the patient.
Why do Most Patients Opt for Pellet Therapy as Opposed to the Other Forms of Therapy?
My patients usually opt for what seems to give the best results and is most convenient. This of course would be the pellets however if cost is the main focus, most choose capsules or drops.
The thought of having a foreign object inserted into your body may sound displeasing and unnatural however it is the only form of BHRT that will give you a constant level of hormones 24/7 without the hassle of applying creams or gels or having to stick yourself with a needle or remember to take pills every day. The pellets are implanted into an area with the most fat-usually the buttocks or the lower abdomen. The procedure is painless and affordable but it is the most costly. Pellets avoid the roller coaster effect (waxing and waning levels of hormone) seen with all other forms. The reason for this roller coaster effect is because the half life or the amount of time that the other forms of BHRT are effective within the body is short lived—six to ten hours for most other therapies. Because of this short half life, all forms of hormones-except the pellets, must be taken at least twice a day.
Which Hormones will I Receive?
Both men and women require all three sex hormones-estrogen, progesterone and Testosterone. The type and amount of hormone (dosage) required is individually based on the results of your lab testing and your body’s needs.
Dr. Bartiss has often been referred to as “a doctor’s doctor”, and is frequently called upon for his diagnostic skills. He is founder and Medical Director of ICAM and a member of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, American Academy of Ozone Therapists and American Academy. Dr. Bartiss is a medical writer, lecturer and author who are recognized as one of the top ten specialists in the field of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is the medicine of the new millennium and will result in the saving and improving of lives against the environmental and sociological turmoil to which we are exposed on a daily basis. Please note that ICAM/Dr. Bartiss is not a replacement for your current primary care physician or your other specialists. Our services complement those you may already be receiving. As multi-specialty trained physician, Dr. Bartiss will work with your other physicians in delivering you the best healthcare available. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you read on this or any other web site.
ICAM’s Women’s Health Initiative Program was created to provide comprehensive evaluation and therapeutic intervention specifically suited to a woman’s needs.
A balance of all endocrine hormones and brain neurotransmitters are required for optimal health. This is where Dr. Bartiss stands out from other practitioners who offer only BHRT. The Women’s Health Initiative Program addresses Peri-Menopause/Menopause, Cardiac Health, Mental and Emotional Health, Anti-Aging and Preventive Medicine and supports Lifestyle Change. This is done through evaluation, optimization and balancing of the entire endocrine and neuro-endocrine system.
Typically in conventional medicine, conditions caused by adrenal and thyroid disorders go untreated as they are misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or worse, DEPRESSION. Although depression is at times a true and accurate diagnosis, when given, it is far too often incorrectly diagnosed by the inadequacies of the healthcare providers and the healthcare system. In other words, the diagnosis of depression is more often a result of the longstanding unresolved symptoms rather than the misconception that the depression is the cause of the symptoms. Now you understand why anti-depressants often don’t help you!
A goal for Dr. Bartiss, is to inform as many people; men, women, doctors and anyone who will listen, as much about healthcare choices as possible. He believes it is critical that the patient plays an active role in their own health care. To do this the patient must be an educated consumer and be willing to make necessary lifestyle changes and attain a new mindset regarding the endless possibilities that Complementary and Alternative Medicine has to provide.