Hormone Replacement Therapy for Fibromyalgia
If you have fibromyalgia, your muscles and joints may hurt constantly, or you may suffer from shooting sensations of pain on a daily basis. In any case, this disease has the potential to significantly impair your quality of life and interfere with your capacity to work and function properly.
Frustratingly, traditional drug therapy treatments such as pain medicines and antidepressants may actually exacerbate existing problems. Even in the best of cases, these drugs typically only target just the symptoms rather than the underlying causes of fibromyalgia.
But while fibromyalgia has no known cure yet, some new and effective therapeutic alternatives are available. And one of these treatments showing promise for alleviating some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
The Fibromyalgia Hormone Connection
In many instances, sex hormones are now thought to have a role in the manifestation of fibromyalgia. Individuals with this illness often have low hormone levels, most notably low levels of the so-called sex hormones estradiol and testosterone.
When these two hormones are present in the appropriate quantities and ratios, they function in unison to preserve the body’s internal balance. This equilibrium enables the organs, systems, and glands to function optimally. So, using the appropriate hormone replacement therapy may provide some fibromyalgia patients with relief from their pain, fatigue and other symptoms.
In a study conducted by Dr. Jarred Younger of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers examined testosterone, progesterone, estradiol, and cortisol levels, as well as cortisol, in eight women with fibromyalgia – while they also recorded their pain levels. It was discovered that both progesterone and testosterone were inversely linked to pain levels in fibromyalgia patients. In other words, the greater the progesterone and testosterone levels the women had, the less pain they reported.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Sadly, for many years, doctors were dubious of the existence of fibromyalgia. Indeed, it was often misdiagnosed as a mental illness. Finally, in 1981, a scientific investigation established its existence officially. Today, we recognize it as a legitimate and often severe disease – and one of the most prevalent chronic pain diseases. It is believed to affect more than 10 million individuals in the United States and upwards of 200 million people worldwide.
The first “clue” that fibromyalgia may be hormone related is that researchers have now established that fibromyalgia is more prevalent in women who are perimenopausal or menopausal. This is the period when their primary estrogen (estradiol) and other critical hormones are fluctuating, in declining quantity, or absent entirely.
The second “clue” is that numerous fibromyalgia symptoms are similar to those associated with hormone shortages of menopause. Among the most frequent side effects of both fibromyalgia and menopausal hormone decline are chronic pain, inflammation, tiredness, insomnia, and concentration or memory difficulties.
The Science of Fibromyalgia and Hormones
Sex hormones have been shown to influence several of the body’s systems that regulate pain, including: the activation of pain receptors, the central pain processing pathway in the brain, spinal cord inflammation, brain microglia, and opioid pain processing.
And two sex hormones, testosterone and progesterone in particular, seem to have pain-relieving qualities, while a third hormone called progesterone also possesses anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective characteristics.
Additionally, a deficit in the hormone estradiol alone may initiate a chain reaction that disrupts a number of bodily processes. For example, estradiol is associated with nerve function and pain sensitivity. Low estradiol often precedes low serotonin levels in the brain. Furthermore, serotonin insufficiency has been associated with persistent joint and muscular pain.
Vitamin D deficiency, which is really a precursor to steroid hormones, has also been linked to persistent joint and muscular pain, as well as depression. Similarly, testosterone is involved in the health of muscles, emotions, cognition, sleep, and energy levels.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Bioidentical hormone replacement treatment is a kind of hormone replacement therapy that uses hormones obtained from natural plant sources. On a molecular level, the body perceives these hormones as identical to those produced by the body. Bioidentical hormone therapy for fibromyalgia may include treatment with estriol, thyroid hormone, progesterone, or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), among others.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are seeking relief from its painful and exhausting symptoms, hormone replacement therapy may help provide much needed relief. A SottoPelle physician can conduct thorough blood tests to assess your hormone levels and see if they are insufficient or out of balance and may be contributing to your fibromyalgia symptoms.
The SottoPelle method of bioidentical hormone replacement administers patient-specific, individualized treatment plans with dosages that are custom compounded for each patient’s unique needs. Fibromyalgia patients are then re-checked on a regular basis to determine their hormone levels and to modify the hormone dosages as necessary.
If you are suffering from the daily, debilitating pain of fibromyalgia there is finally good news on the horizon. SottoPelle hormone replacement therapy for fibromyalgia may be able to provide you with some dramatic and long-lasting relief of your symptoms and help restore your quality of life.
Hormone Replacement After Surgical Menopause | Phoenix: (323) 986-5100
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.