At least three hormonal replacement therapy clinics have opened in Cy-Fair since March. Jason Starr, owner of Men’s T Clinic, said the trend could be credited to a growing awareness of benefits.
Starr left an 18-year corporate career with Mattress Firm to open Men’s T Clinic in Houston in November 2015 and another in Cypress this March after seeing positive results from testosterone replacement.
“Men’s testosterone levels decrease as they age, and that’s not new,” he said. “What is newer is this notion that men no longer have to accept it.”
Starr, 42, said men and women are having children later in life: He has a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. In the last five years, pharmaceutical giants have taken notice and invested in hormone replacement gels and injections, he said.
Hormone clinics have been opening up because clients are looking for convenience and specialization, Starr said. Men can have blood work done in the on-site lab and see their results in about half an hour.
“Our medical staff is equipped to deal with a wide array of issues,” he said. “We’ve discovered tumors in people in the short time we’ve been open. We’re not just about injecting someone with one medication.”
Treatment plans can be personalized and are monitored regularly to ensure safety and efficiency, Starr said. Most clients range in age from 35 to 65 and come every week or two for hormone injections.
Starr said the stigma around his industry is treatment is about sexual dysfunction. Although this can be a factor for some men, other outcomes include feeling younger, having more energy and being able to burn more fat and build more muscle mass.
“We hear about how people’s weekends used to be about catching up on rest, staying on the couch,” he said. “Now they’re about getting out and living their life, playing with their children, being more involved in organizations. We’ve also seen people come in six months later having lost 25 pounds.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, risks of testosterone therapy include sleep disorders, skin reactions, prostate growth, enlarged breasts, limited sperm production, blood clots and heart disease. Risk levels can depend on age, medical history and family history, so the clinic advises both men and women to speak with a doctor before engaging in hormone therapy.
If someone has a pre-existing condition that testosterone could accelerate or is treating himself without monitoring his hormone levels, the therapy can become a risk, Starr said.
“You’re substituting a naturally made hormone in your body with a synthetic version of it,” he said. “We’re continually monitoring to make sure we’re treating people safely and effectively.”
Women find hormonal balance
Karilyn Barnett opened BeBalanced—a hormone therapy practice focused on women—on Hwy. 290 in April. Similar to Starr, Barnett opened the clinic after finding success in the program herself.
“I saw my family physician right before I found [BeBalanced], and I had hit a plateau for several weeks,” Barnett said. “She looked at me and said, ‘Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you’re getting older.’ She didn’t have any answers.”
Barnett said she had heavy menstrual cycles as a young girl, and she was diagnosed with endometriosis in her 20s. This led to infertility, and she had a hysterectomy to address the issues, which led to other problems, including a 60-pound weight gain.
Many women come into the clinic at a loss because exercising and dieting does not always deliver weight loss results, Barnett said.
“I had worked from home for the last 15 years, which allowed me to hide and harbor my weight,” she said. “It got to the point where I didn’t want to do anything socially or leave the house, and I had anxiety and depression.”
About a year and a half ago, Barnett started researching career opportunities outside the home and stumbled upon franchising for BeBalanced online. Skeptical at first, she went through treatment to learn more and quickly began to feel better about herself after using homeopathic creams that support glandular systems and balance progesterone levels.
Within the first month, Barnett said she lost 18 pounds, no longer experienced anxiety or depression, stopped having hot flashes and did not crave sugar anymore. Results were not only immediate, but they were also long-lasting, she said.
“Our centers are designed to be a place where women can share some of the things they’ve been experiencing,” she said. “We validate that you’re not crazy, but these things are very real. To me, the biggest thing that I got was hope that there was something out there that could help me.”