BY DAVID BUICE | PHOTO BY SCOTT PEEK PHOTOGRAPHY
At WeCare Frisco, Dr. Jennifer Engels practices functional medicine for both female and male patients. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Dr. Engels initially specialized in radiology, with an emphasis on women’s imaging and breast cancer prevention. However, as she studied and practiced, she became increasingly interested in functional medicine’s different approach to medical treatment.
Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease and devising the most effective ways to treat them. This form of treatment requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to develop personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
Rather than focusing on symptoms and writing prescriptions to address those symptoms, functional medicine practitioners concentrate on causation, identifying the complexity of disease, including its many possible origins and manifestations. For example, one health condition may have several different causes, while one cause may result in many different health conditions.
“I was absolutely fascinated by this new style of medicine that saw the patient as a whole biological system, rather than focusing on only one organ system at a time, such as cardiology,” Dr. Engels says. “This was a complete paradigm shift from conventional medicine and how I was trained.”
Bioidentical Hormone-Replacement Therapy for Women and Men
One of Dr. Engels’ specialties at WeCare Frisco is the use of bioidentical hormone-replacement therapy (BHRT) to replace the body’s decline in hormone production as we age.
“One of the easiest ways to understand hormones is to think of them as chemical messengers traveling through your blood to your body’s tissues and organs and regulating how your body functions,” she says. “As we age, the reproductive hormones naturally wane, a change that can affect men as well as women.”
For women, bodily changes brought on by declining hormonal levels during perimenopause and menopause include loss of bone density, wrinkly or sagging skin, chronic fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, depression, low libido, anxiety, agitation, and irritability, to name just a few.
For men, this decline in hormone levels, particularly the male hormone testosterone, is referred to as andropause and its symptoms are more gradual than those associated with menopause and can occur any time from the 30s onward. Symptoms include low libido, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat, irritability, and mood swings.
In contrast to traditional hormone-replacement therapy using synthetic hormones, BHRT uses hormones drawn from plant sources and chemically similar to the hormones naturally produced by your body. Ideally, the effects of BHRT can help restore the body’s vitality, making you feel as if you are again in your 30s.
If you’re interested in discussing the benefits of BHRT or the other healing effects of functional medicine, contact WeCare Frisco to schedule your initial consultation.