My Personal Road to Hormone Optimization
October 25, 2023
As a Physician Assistant (PA) with specialized training in emergency medicine and a long-standing career in the high-intensity environment of the Emergency Room, I have witnessed firsthand the consequences of people neglecting their health. In addition to medical emergencies, the ER unfortunately often serves as the last line of defense for individuals who haven’t taken proper care of themselves, and it’s an eye-opening experience: Smokers with lung cancer who continue smoking, obese people who refuse to change their eating habits or exercise. Over time, being in the ER has made me want to focus on a more proactive approach to medicine – and to work with people going on offense about their health, longevity and anti-aging.
This professional evolution also aligned with my own personal health experience. When I hit my late 20s I found myself feeling sluggish, and not quite as energetic as I was even five years earlier. This personal sense of discomfort led me down a path of exploration that eventually took me into the world of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). At the time, HRT had a bad rap and questionable reputation; but I learned this was largely from questionable sources.
Historically, HRT had faced criticism due to improper administration and misconceptions surrounding what was considered “normal” within the medical community. The conventional approach was to look at a patient’s hormone levels, compare them to what was considered within the normal range, and conclude that they were fine.
But this approach failed to acknowledge that “normal” doesn’t necessarily equate to “optimal.”
The medical system, driven by insurance requirements and incentives, sometimes failed to consider the unique needs and experiences of individual patients. It became clear to me that many people were put on medications like blood pressure and cholesterol drugs without addressing the underlying issues causing these imbalances. The pharmaceutical industry seemed to play a significant role in this pattern, promoting quick fixes over holistic approaches.
This is when I decided to take a deep dive into HRT. I trained at the Hormonal Health Institute, read every book I could get my hands on and took courses from the most respected institutions, including those offered by organizations like A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine). These courses introduced me to the concept of optimizing hormones and addressing imbalances within the body.
Through my studies and learning from experienced HRT doctors, I discovered that a tailored approach to HRT was not only possible but highly effective.
It involved a deep understanding of each patient’s symptoms, rather than a sole focus on hormone levels. The idea was not to throw hormones at a problem but to restore a patient’s health by addressing the root cause of their symptoms.
Hormone optimization wasn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and it wasn’t about chasing higher hormone levels. More wasn’t necessarily better, as excessive hormones could lead to adverse effects. This became the bedrock of my philosophy.
My number one priority is to listen to my patients, consider their age, symptoms, and medical history, and develop a personalized plan that will truly work for them.
The results are often astounding. I’ve witnessed people coming off multiple medications and feeling better than they had in years – and this wasn’t rocket science, but rather an art of fine-tuning the body’s natural systems.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is helping patients rediscover what “normal” feels like. I’ve had patients come to me after treatment and say, “Oh my God, I feel like I’m 20 again.” And this is common. Hormone optimization offers a renewed sense of vitality and well-being, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to see these transformations.
When it comes to who would be a good candidate for HRT, I believe that anyone over the age of 30 should consider hormone screening.
The body’s testosterone levels decrease by about 2% every year after the age of 25, and many people are unaware of their suboptimal hormone levels.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalance include fatigue, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, and mental fog. These are often dismissed as part of the aging process, but they don’t have to be. Another important thing to note is that people often get misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression, when in fact what that person has is an underlying hormonal issue. Commonly prescribed antidepressants actually bind up free testosterone and make matters worse. The good news is that by restoring hormones we can sometimes get people off antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.
In addition, having optimal testosterone levels boosts immune function and can have a favorable effect on cholesterol. It also lowers insulin resistance and increases blood glucose response at a cellular level. Instead of being put on statins and diabetic meds, an underlying hormonal imbalance should be explored.
Through tools like the ADAM Questionnaire and comprehensive blood work, I help individuals recognize the signs of testosterone deficiency. Once they see the correlation between their symptoms and their hormone levels, they become motivated to take charge of their health. This is very gratifying to see and the physical and emotional transformation in my patients is incredible. In many cases, I have seen patients notice significant improvement in 10 weeks.
If you’d like to request an appointment with me, you can do that here.
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