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Balancing your hormones: what you need to know 

14th May 2024

If you ask Dr Sohere Roked, hormone balance is one of the foundations of health and wellbeing. At The Tweakments Guide Live event in February, I had the chance to interview Dr Roked, who specialises in both body-identical and bioidentical hormones (we’ll explain that in a minute) and who has treated thousands of patients during her career, about the essentials of hormone balancing. This is what she wants you to know

 Should we be balancing our hormones?  

This is a question we get asked a lot at The Tweakments Guide and Dr Roked’s answer (perhaps unsurprisingly as a hormone specialist) is a firm ‘Yes’.

“We all want to look good, but it’s also about feeling good and feeling optimum in ourselves, too,” she explains. “Our hormones play a huge part in that. If you’re perimenopausal or menopausal, that has a huge impact on your energy, your mood, your sleep, your concentration and focus. And if you’re not sleeping well, you’re not going to look your best.”

So, if we don’t feel great, are hormones the first thing we should blame? Well, hold on a moment, it’s not quite that simple: “There are so many facets to your health to explore,” says Dr Roked. ‘I also look at people’s gut health, vitamin and mineral levels, and stress hormones.”  

 Where do hormones fit in with tweakments? 

According to Dr Roked, considering your hormones could also help you get more bang for your buck from the wrinkle-reducing and collagen-boosting tweaks you are investigating. Here’s how:

“As our oestrogen levels decline, so does the amount of collagen in our skin”, which contributes to wrinkles and crepey skin as we age, explains Dr Roked. “So if you balance your hormones and improve your oestrogen levels, you’ll feel better on the inside, and also the treatments you’re paying a lot of money for have a lot more benefit.”

 How do you know if your hormones are out of balance?

“You need to become an expert in yourself,” advises Dr Roked. “You should be asking: ‘Is my sleep a bit off? Is my mood off? Is my cycle changing? Am I a bit foggy? Is my focus ok?’ Perhaps you feel your skin and hair aren’t looking so good, you’re tired all the time, or forgetful. That’s maybe the time to get your hormones checked, because you’re clearly not quite your optimum self.”

As for how hormone testing works: ‘It’s an individualised approach according to what’s going on in that person’s circumstances, but also according to their symptoms,” says Dr Roked. So, it is best to speak to your doctor (or a hormone specialist like Dr Roked) who can answer your specific questions and advise on the best next steps personalised to your needs. 

 What hormones are available for hormone replacement therapy?

“We have three types of hormones [used for supplementation],” summarises Dr Roked. “Body-identical and bioidentical hormones both have the same chemical structure as the hormones your body produces or used to produce. Then, there are also synthetic hormones, which are drugs with some hormonal properties – I’m not the biggest fan of those, though they are still prescribed.

What is the difference between body identical and bioidentical hormones?

One of the biggest areas of confusions when it comes to hormone replacement therapy – the difference between body identical and bioidentical hormones. Luckily, Dr Roked explains all:

“Body-identical hormones are made by a drug company; bioidentical hormones are custom-made by a pharmacy. The hormones you may be able to get from your GP will be body-identical hormones, and they come in standardized doses. So there are progesterone tablets, there’s a gel for oestrogen, and you can also get oestrogen as patches or tablets. That’s fine if the standard doses work for you (and I don’t see any reason to take something that’s bioidentical if you’re responding well to the body-identical hormones), but if you can’t tolerate the full medicine, then your GP doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

That’s why a hormone specialist like Dr Roked comes in: “If body-identical hormones aren’t working for someone who comes to see me, I would then look at the bioidentical route. The other key thing that I do is testing your hormone levels, which your GP doesn’t. I like to monitor my patients at least annually.”

What about the cost of hormone replacement? 

“I will always work to find the most cost-effective option within someone’s budget,” concludes Dr Roked. ‘There are a range of different things you can do. The bioidentical, custom-made hormones are more expensive. So obviously if someone’s starting on them, we need to be mindful of the long-term cost.

Interested in learning more? Here’s the full interview with Dr Roked.

Dr Sohère Roked BMed MRCGP DFRSH DipSIM is one of the most experienced bioidentical and body-identical hormone doctors in the UK. Dr Roked offers consultations via Zoom and at the Omniya Clinic in London.

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