Looking to Reclaim Youth, Some Women Turn to Hormones
Doctors say there is no evidence that hormones are an anti-aging cure, but that the use of hormones may lead to problems such as diabetes and cancer.
When you value your appearance, and when your success at work may depend on it, what can you do to stay attractive and looking youthful? In unending search of that fountain of youth, some women try microdermabrasion, skin peels, Botox injections, oxygen facials, laser liposuction and even vaginal rejuvenation therapy. Some simply use cosmetic products and exercise regimens in attempt to keep looking young and fresh. And still others turn to methods that are not yet well-researched or FDA-approved, and may or may not even work.
Some doctors claim that getting old and fat is no longer inevitable: it is a glandular disorder caused in part by dwindling hormones. The way to treat the disorder would be to replenish hormones to levels found in 20 and 30 year olds, under the premise that people taking these hormones will then look and feel that young again.
Celebrity Suzanne Somers, age 62, claims to have found the magic cure by inserting human growth hormone (hGh) directly into her vagina everyday, and she also rubs a bio-identical hormone called estriol onto her left arm daily. Two weeks out of the month, Somers uses progesterone on her right arm. She appears to be hormone therapy's biggest fan.
Some doctors do not feel that the use of hormones for anti-aging is safe; firstly, the treatment has not been approved by the FDA. They say that there is no evidence that hormones are an anti-aging cure, but instead believe that the use of hormones may lead to problems such as diabetes and cancer. They point out that Somers actually developed breast cancer and had a hysterectomy due to precancerous changes in her uterus while on her hormone heavy regimen. HGH is normally only available by prescription for short stature in children, AIDS wasting syndrome, and growth hormone deficiency syndrome, which is quite rare (5 of every 10,000 adults).
When a successful real estate agent in Southern California was faced with a dwindling career based in part on her fading good looks, she approached a variety of doctors in Southern California to treat her with hormones. Though many rejected her as a patient, some agreed that giving hormones would help her to retain her youth. She was eventually diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency syndrome because she is on the low end range for hormones, and claimed that though she is still within the normal range, if they could bring her hormone levels up, she would feel a whole lot better.
The growing industry is dubbed "age management" and doctors can skirt the law to prescribe hormones by diagnosing many people with growth hormone deficiency, even when they are in the normal ranges for their hormone levels. These anti-aging specialists prescribe a variety of hormones, including estrogen, hGH and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a pregnancy hormone normally injected during fertility treatments. The Spa-Med industry has been losing their profit margin on procedures like Botox injections and laser hair removal, so skeptical doctors this turn to prescribing hormones to patients searching for youth is because it is largely unregulated, and they can charge any price they want for the hormone treatments. Our take? Embrace your age and leave your hormones to the expert: the intelligence in your own body.