Most Common Medications for Hormone Regulation
high drug prices
If you've ever had the need for hormone imbalance treatment, you know how critical it is to find a medication that works for you and your body chemistry. The good news in most cases is that there are plenty of options available for the wide variety of conditions (both acute and chronic) that require hormone regulation.
Most often, hormone replacement is discussed with regard to women — and it's true that women are more likely to need hormone replacement therapy because of menopause — but the fact of the matter is that someone's gender doesn't necessarily have a bearing on whether or not they'll need hormone regulation.
There are many reasons that your body's hormones could be thrown out of whack — menopause, general aging and getting older, autoimmune disorders, cancer, hysterectomy, low testosterone, etc. The list goes on and on and on.
Here are the most common medications used to treat hormone imbalances, and what they're used for.
Menopause is the most common reason women take hormone replacements. During this time period (which can present symptoms for four or even five years), the body undergoes major shifts in its body chemistry. Throughout the reproductive phase of a woman's life, estrogen and progesterone fluctuate in order to create ideal conditions for conception.
Once the early stage of menopause hits (also known as perimenopause), estrogen and progesterone levels begin to naturally fall, and while periods continue for quite some time afterward, they often become less regular. Additionally, other menopause symptoms may appear, such as hot flashes, sleep disruption, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
These symptoms can be extremely disruptive for people, affecting multiple aspects of their lives. Not only does sleep naturally become disrupted because of changing hormone levels, but hot flashes can wake them up at night and make it difficult to fall back asleep. Not to mention the hot flashes that happen during the day while they're trying to be productive. Thankfully, quite a few hormone regulation treatments have been developed that help curb these symptoms.
The Vivelle Dot (which goes by the name Estradot in Canada) is a hormone patch that is placed on the skin. It contains estradiol, which is a type of estrogen similar to one that is often found in hormonal birth control (ethinyl estradiol, in that case). By supplementing the body with a small dose of estrogen, symptoms can be much more manageable.
Unlike the Vivelle Dot (Estradot), Estring is a localized treatment. Estring is a soft, flexible vaginal ring that can be prescribed for the treatment of atrophic vaginitis, which is typically a result of lower estrogen levels in the body. This causes dryness, irritation, and thinning of vaginal tissue, which can not only make sex painful, but can lead to urinary issues. When placed properly the Estring should last about 90 days before needing to be replaced.
As the name suggests, Estrogel is a low-estrogen gel that is applied directly to the skin on a daily basis. Your skin absorbs the hormones, just like the Vivelle Dot (Estradot), but there's no need to worry about a patch staying in place.
Premarin is a medication that is composed of multiple different types of estrogen to help alleviate symptoms associated with menopause. It is often taken orally, but it can be formulated to be used topically in the form of a cream.
The thyroid is essential to countless functions in the body. The hormones it produces affect every single tissue, cell, and organ. It helps control your metabolism, heart rate, digestive function, brain development, and bone maintenance. When this balance is thrown off, it affects every other major system and can cause symptoms severe enough to disrupt someone's daily life.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the hormones it's supposed to. This can occur for any number of reasons, including genetic abnormalities, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, nodules or goiters, and cancer. Common symptoms include abnormal fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, dry skin and hair, and brittle nails.
One of the most common medications used to treat hypothyroidism is Synthroid (levothyroxine). Two other medications that have the same active ingredient are also commonly prescribed — Levoxyl and Tirosint. In many cases, the difference between these drugs is simply what works better for one person's body chemistry over another.
Cytomel (liothyronine) is another common hypothyroid medication, in part because it has a readily available generic. However, even this generic costs more than Synthroid.
The other option available for hypothyroidism is what's called a natural thyroid hormone replacement. In all of the above cases, the hormones are synthesized in a laboratory, but for those who want a substance as natural as possible, they can ask their doctor about a product called Thyroid by Canadian manufacturer called ERFA or ARMOUR THYROID by Forest Pharmaceuticals. However, people who follow a vegan lifestyle would not be able to take natural thyroid products because they're made with dried thyroids from pigs.
The opposite of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive — it creates too much hormone, which causes a whole host of other issues, including unintended weight loss, vision problems, sleep disruption. The good news is that there are multiple treatments available.
Propylthiouracil (PTU) is very commonly prescribed to people with an overactive thyroid. It prohibits the interactions between iodine, enzymes, and proteins that ultimately causes the production of hormones. All of this helps slow hormone production down to normal (or closer to normal) levels. PTU is very affordable because there is only a generic available at this point.
Another option for hyperthyroid treatment is something called methimazole, which can be found under the brand name Tapazole. Like PTU, methimazole slows the production of hormones made by the thyroid. Because generics are favored by default by insurance companies (and most consumers) in the United States, the brand name is more difficult to find there.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid and causes it to go into overdrive. In this case, methimazole or PTU may be prescribed, but if the medication isn't helping enough, radiation or surgery to remove the gland may be recommended. If that's the case, hypothyroid medication may be prescribed to replace the hormones that are no longer being naturally made.
For women of childbearing age, birth control is one of the most common forms of hormone control therapy. It comes in many forms, such as pills, patches, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and arm implants. For the most part, all forms of birth control feature a mixture of estrogen and progesterone to control a woman's fertility over the course of a month.
However, many women are initially prescribed birth control to counteract severe menstrual symptoms, such as heavy bleeding, mood swings, fatigue, painful cramping, and lower back pain. Typically, hormonal birth control will not only help cut the severity of these symptoms both before and during a woman's menstrual cycle, but will be very effective (but not 100%) at preventing pregnancy.
Male andropause is a less common topic of conversation than female menopause, but it's no less important. Andropause, also known as male hypogonadism, is a naturally occurring hormonal shift in aging men. While the terms can be debated, the medical basis for them is not.
Much like women's bodies stop making as much estrogen and progesterone, some men's bodies stop making so much testosterone. Generally speaking, every man's testosterone levels decrease with age, but the majority of men will still be within a range considered to be normal. According to the Mayo Clinic, only about 10-25% of men will actually have low testosterone.
All women go through menopause, but not all men necessarily experience symptoms that lead doctors to deliver a hypogonadism diagnosis. Because testosterone levels aren't checked routinely, it's easy to miss, and (like most other medical issues) symptoms can go unnoticed. Common symptoms of low testosterone include night sweats or hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, decreased erections, reduced sexual desire, breast swelling or discomfort, or literally getting shorter.
Treatment for low testosterone is similar to treatment for menopause. There are a variety of delivery methods (such as patches, pills, gels, pellets, and injections), but all of them involve adding testosterone to the body.
It's important to note that no one should start taking testosterone supplements without consulting a doctor. Too much testosterone can have negative health effects, and the symptoms you're experiencing could also point to a different diagnosis.
Hormone therapy is sometimes used in cancer patients and those in remission. It's important to note that hormone therapy is not used to exclusively treat cancer so much as it's used to either alleviate symptoms or assist in the long-term treatment of cancer. For example, breast and prostate cancer feed on hormones, so in those cases, medication may be given to block hormone production.
Hormone replacement may also be used if the cancer or the treatment associated with it is disrupting the way hormones are supposed to function within the body. However, this would not be used if the type of hormone that needs to be taken can be used by the cancer as fuel.
Finding More Affordable Medication via International Online Pharmacies
With any hormone replacement therapy, it's important to remember that the first thing you try may not be the answer to all your problems (or even most of them). Sometimes, hormone replacement therapy is a matter of trial and error, and dosage will be different for everyone. Because everyone's body chemistry is different, it can be difficult — even for doctors — to judge what dosage you need. It may take some adjustments before your symptoms are alleviated. It's important to be patient.
Hormones can be taken for a wide variety of conditions, and only a few of the most common are listed here. Sometimes, these hormones are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive, but that is not always the case — especially in the United States, where the cost of healthcare is out of control and the price of medication is essentially left unchecked. Generic drugs are available for some of the hormone medications listed here, but even in those cases, pharmacies in the U.S. don't necessarily offer them at a cheaper price than international pharmacies.
Hormone imbalances can completely disrupt a person's life, making even simple tasks (like sleeping and working) feel insurmountable. This is a major reason that we take so much pride in ensuring that people can find their necessary medications at a more affordable price than they can find elsewhere. In fact, we're so committed to quality, low-price medication that we offer a lowest price guarantee — if you find a lower price elsewhere, we'll beat it.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we don't want anyone to have to choose between paying their bills or getting necessary medication. We also understand that any circumstance having to do with healthcare or medication can be extraordinarily stressful, which is why we are committed to providing the highest standards of customer service. And best of all, we'll deliver the exact medication your doctor prescribed straight to your door — you don't have to leave the comfort of your home to pick it up at the post office.
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