How And Why Do Men And Women Experience Hormonal Imbalances Differently
Hormones impact men and women differently, particularly when you’re dealing with those specific to the reproductive system. Men and women also go through different developmental stages. Women will experience hormonal changes with their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, which men do not experience. Women may experience hormonal imbalances that present through:
- Vaginal dryness or discomfort
- Erectile dysfunction
Causes And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
When the endocrine system is functioning smoothly, its precise and timely release of hormones works to promote optimal health and function. The glands in this system assist in nearly every critical bodily function. So, if there is a problem with one or more glands, hormonal imbalance can occur, causing a variety of problems, some more serious than others. These changes can be detected by undergoing a hormone imbalance test, which is an opening door towards getting the right kind of treatment to address your hormonal imbalance symptoms.
Misconceptions Of Acne Causes
Common misconceptions about hormonal acne include:
- Dirty skin causes acne: Washing the skin often helps minimize oil buildup, but hormonal acne still occurs with clean skin.
- Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne: There is not much evidence that chocolate or greasy foods cause acne. However, eating excessive amounts of foods high in sugar and dairy can worsen acne.
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Getting Your Insulin Tested
If you wanted to see if you were insulin resistant, you would get this done through your regular doctor with a test called Fasting Glucose Level.
However, doctors can often be living with tunnel vision, and they may be resistant to letting you do it unless you are overweight, have been diagnosed with PCOS, or have a history of diabetes in your family.
If you have good reason to believe your acne might be tied to blood sugar levels, then push to get the test done. If not, keeping your blood sugar levels stable is a great acne strategy regardless.
Which Tests Are Best For Hormonal Imbalance
Most companies that offer hormone test kits have several options. If you suspect a specific hormone imbalance, like a thyroid issue, you can order a test kit that focuses on those hormones. Otherwise, most companies offer a comprehensive test option that will check the levels of most or all of your major hormone types.
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How Does The Male Reproductive System Work
While there are hundreds of hormones that control the bodys chemistry, testosterone is a versatile and critical part of the balance that specifically controls male characteristics and sex drive. When the levels dip, the result can cause a male to experience low sex drive and depression, among other complaints. Low T as it is commonly referred to in the media, can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Fatigue or generalized weakness
- Memory problems or lack of concentration
- Changes in mood or irritability
- Erectile dysfunction
Some diseases, like diabetes, can cause similar symptoms, so it can be hard to diagnose. To further complicate matters, testosterone decline in men is a slow process and, some healthy men can produce sperm well into their 80s.
In addition, there are variables that affect hormonal decline and speed up the process. These include weight gain, drug use, tobacco or alcohol abuse, mental illness or severe depression, as well as stress and chronic illness. One may need to keep in mind that medical experts still disagree about the link between declining hormone levels in men and their need for HRT.
Should I Get A Blood Test For My Acne
With all of our Initial Consultations, we will provide you with particular markers of what should be tested for your acne, first starting with general pathology through a General Practitioner or referral to one of our collaborative Integrated GPs . General pathology refers to the laboratory testing of body fluids such as blood, urine, stool samples, and certain tissue samples to measure levels of direct markers. Your GP can order these for you as these tests are often covered by Medicare so you wont have to pay out of pocket . Otherwise, we can organise this testing for you.
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Is Hormonal Acne Caused By Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, hormonal fluctuations can cause acne. Often, acne gets better as your pregnancy progresses. There are several treatments that you should avoid during pregnancy, including topical retinoids, salicylic acid and isotretinoin. Ask your healthcare provider about the safest acne treatment for you to reduce and eliminate breakouts during pregnancy.
Why Testing Your Hormones Is Critical If You Want To Eliminate Hormonal Acne
It always puzzles me how doctors give young women hormonal acne treatments without ever testing to see what their hormone levels are. So today Im going to go through with you why its so important to get your hormones tested if you want to eliminate your hormonal acne for good.
It seems pretty straightforward to me that if something is being driven by hormones, like hormonal acne, you need to know what the hormone levels are like before you supply or provide treatment. Otherwise, youre just dishing out treatments willy-nilly based only on assumptions.
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Testing: How To Know For Sure
You can also get your hormones tested. For women, I recommend luteal phase hormone testing. For a 28 day cycle, this means testing your hormones on days 19-22 . Hormone testing for men can be done at any time. You can check your hormones with a blood test, or I recommend using a urine test called the DUTCH test. I use the DUTCH test rather than a blood test when I want to look at stress hormones , as well as how my patient is detoxing their hormones. This additional information is super helpful when it comes to treating hormonal acne.
Common hormone imbalances that cause acne
Whats Involved In Taking Hormonal Therapy For Acne
These medications must be prescribed by a doctor. Each is a pill that you would take daily.
If youre wondering whether hormonal therapy could help clear your acne, you may want to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. After examining your acne and gathering the necessary information about your health, this doctor can tell you if hormonal therapy may be an option.
Before you see a dermatologist, it helps to prepare for your appointment. Youll want to be able to tell your dermatologist the following:
Medical conditions you have , including high blood pressure, heart disease, blood clots, migraines, or cancer
Medications you take
Supplements and other natural products you take
Surgeries youve had
Medical conditions of close blood relatives, including cancer, kidney disease, or heart disease
If the pill is an option for you, you will have your blood pressure taken to rule out high blood pressure. You dont need a Pap smear or pelvic exam before a dermatologist can prescribe the pill to treat acne.
Before your dermatologist prescribes spironolactone, you will need some blood tests.
If you begin hormonal therapy, you will need to keep follow-up visits with your dermatologist. Spironolactone requires that you gradually increase the dose, so youll need to see your dermatologist every 4 to 6 weeks when you start taking it.
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Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know
Estrogen is known primarily as a female hormone that helps regulate menstrual cycles, yet the hormone plays a bigger role in mens health than most people realize. Men produce small amounts of estrogen as part of their normal functioning male reproductive system, along with the male hormone testosterone. As they age, less testosterone is produced.
Yet questions are beginning to emerge as to what specific part estrogen plays in male development, especially as a man ages. Once largely ignored, estrogen levels in men are now under the microscope as researchers are trying to determine this hormone’s role in men and how it affects the body’s different hormone levels.
A decrease in estrogen, for example, may be a factor in fat accumulation in men as well as women. One endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School reported in a 2013 study that some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in males, including a decline in libido, were at least partially caused by lower estrogen production.
When Thyroid Levels May Be Tested
You may need a thyroid hormone test if you have symptoms of either an underactive thyroid or an overactive thyroid .
Hypothyroidism symptoms include:
If results start out with low TSH and high thyroid hormones and then reverse with further testing, it indicates thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid gland.
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Testing For A Hormonal Imbalance
There are numerous types of tests for your doctor to choose from in order to detect a hormonal imbalance. Your symptoms will surely put him in the right direction. So, you do need to fully disclose to your doctor about your signs and symptoms for him to order the right hormones to be tested.
A blood test is one of the most common ways to test hormone levels. This test can detect testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and thyroid levels. You should order a test that’s specific to your gender, as a women’s hormone test will look for different levels of sex hormones than a men’s test. A simple saliva test can detect several types of hormones as well. With a saliva test, you can look at your estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone levels.
If your doctor is concerned about a particular gland in your body, he or she might order an ultrasound. This can be the case of testing the pituitary gland, uterus, testicles, ovaries, and thyroid. An X-ray or MRI will offer further opportunities for imaging. Depending on the results of prior tests, additional types of testing might often be needed to have a better diagnosis. A biopsy of a problematic gland can help your healthcare provider find issues with that specific gland.
What The Results Mean
If progesterone levels are low during pregnancy, it could be a sign that you’re at risk of miscarriage or premature labor. You may be given a synthetic form of progesterone to prevent early labor.
High progesterone levels usually do not signal any health problems unless they continue for a long time. In those instances, high levels may indicate an increased risk of breast cancer.
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What Tests Are Included In This Package
Luteinising hormone plays a key role in reproduction. Mid-cycle, your LH levels increase which triggers your ovaries to release an egg ovulation. If your LH levels are too high or low you might have irregular periods and have trouble getting pregnant. High LH levels can be a sign that youre menopausal or have PCOS.
Follicle-stimulating hormone helps your ovaries to function normally and plays a key role in egg production and ovulation. Your FSH levels naturally increase as you age high levels can be a sign that you’re menopausal. If your FSH levels are too high or low you might have trouble getting pregnant.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that’s important for your sex drive, bone and muscle health, mood, and cognitive function. Your levels gradually drop as you age this process speeds up around perimenopause and menopause. If your levels are out of range you might feel tired, have a low sex drive, and have low mood.
Sex hormone-binding globulin binds with certain hormones and transports them in your blood. When these hormones are bound to SHBG your body can’t use them. This helps regulate how much is available for your body to use. If your SHBG levels are too high or low it can cause affect your testosterone and oestradiol levels.
A basic thyroid profile measures Thyroxine , the main hormone produced by your thyroid, and thyroid-stimulating hormone a hormone that regulates your thyroid.
Hormonal Imbalance And Women
Female hormones are powerful chemical messengers that regulate the reproductive system and influence many other vital systems. When they are present in the body in the proper amounts and ratios, they work in concert with one another to promote optimal health and well-being. However, when female hormonal imbalance becomes an issue, the consequences can manifest themselves throughout the body, taking a toll on a woman’s health and quality-of-life. When the condition is accurately identified and treated, the balance of female hormones can be corrected, reducing the symptoms and health risks associated with hormonal imbalance.
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Should I Get My Hormones Tested For Acne
General pathology testing done post ovulation can help us determine whether your acne is caused by deficiencies or hormonal imbalances. So yes, you definitely will get your hormones tested for acne after your first initial consultation.
Hormonal imbalances such as excess estrogen relative to progesterone, or excess androgens such as testosterone can be related to disrupted pH balance in the skin, excess oil and sebum production, reduced liver detoxification, increased histamine levels, and more.
Once we know which hormones are affected, we can have a more targeted approach to your acne treatment. It is important to wait at least 3 months after discontinuing birth control to accurately identify if your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
The following markers are common hormones that we commonly request tests for:
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Acne
For teenagers, hormonal acne breakouts will often appear in the same places as typical teen acne: the forehead, cheeks, around the mouth, and the chin. Unlike teenage acne which is predominantly on the upper parts of the face, hormonal acne appears mostly on the lower parts of the face around the mouth, chin, and lower jawline. Though the chin and jawline are the most common locations for adult hormonal acne, the face and sides of the neck may also be affected.
Like teenage acne, hormonal acne will include comedones . Many women with hormonal acne will also have “under-the-skin bumps”, cysts that are not red or visible on the skin’s surface.
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How Do Testosterone And Estrogen Differ
Testosterone, the key hormone in men, is the chief regulator of muscle tone and lean body mass, or the very essence of what gives a man his masculine appearance. A normal level of testosterone is a broad term, making deficiencies difficult to detect. The hormone is produced by the adrenal glands and testicles, with levels highest in the mornings and decreasing throughout the day.
Testosterone also regulates a mans sex drive. Lack of sexual desire and performance, often associated with low levels of testosterone, or low T, is a common complaint from men as they age and hormone levels drop. Sex drive and performance, however, require the presence of both estrogen and testosterone.
Estrogen, by contrast, is the hormone responsible for sexual and reproductive development in women and is also referred to as the female sex hormone. Estrogen is really a group of hormones that includes estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries but also by fat cells and the adrenal gland.
What Do I Test If I Dont Have A Period
If your period has stopped showing up , this is what is called amenorrhea.
- Primary amenorrhea is when you havent gotten your period by age 15 or 16.
- Secondary amenorrhea is when you have had a period, but now its gone.
Often, doctors will try to prescribe the birth control pill as a means of treating amenorrhea. If you begin birth control you will not be able to test FSH, LH, estradiol or progesterone accurately. The Endocrine Society guidelines clearly advocate against the use of the pill in women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea solely to restore a period or even improve bone mass. They also recommend educating patients who are currently using the pill that it may mask these issues.
Lab Test to Consider for a Missing Period
- Pregnancy test
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
- Luteinizing hormone
- Fasting insulin
- Glycated hemoglobin , fasting glucose or glucose challenge
Will you need all of these? Maybe. Maybe not. This is where an experienced clinician can help.
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Hormonal Acne: What It Is And Why It Happens
Acne does not just affect young teens going through puberty, but instead, also affects adults of any age. About 40% to 50% of the adult population ranging from 20 to 40 years old have some sort of acne on their body.
While any gender can have hormonal acne in their adult life, it typically affects women more than men. Studies have shown that about 50% of the women population ages 20-29 deal with acne, and 25% of women ages 40-49 also deal with it. Why do women experience more hormonal acne than men?
Women tend to experience more hormone fluctuations compared to men due to puberty, menstruation cycles, pregnancy and menopause. If you suffer from hormonal acne, check out this guide on what it is and why it happens.
What Are The Best Oral Contraceptives For Women With Hormonal Acne
We know that dealing with hormonal acne can be super frustrating, so the idea of taking a birth control pill sounds like an appealing way to help to regulate hormones and get breakouts under control. However, before you start taking birth control pills, you should know that not all contraceptives work the same way and that some birth control pills can actually make acne worse. Seriously. Talk about a bummer. But knowledge is power, and here’s what you need to know.
The best oral contraceptives to control hormonal or adult acne are the ones that contain Ethinyl estradiol and one of the following: drospirenone, norethindrone, or norgestimate. Beware that oral contraceptives are contraindicated in women with a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and women that smoke.
A study recently published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology categorized the different types of contraceptives by their efficiency in clearing acne. These are the birth control pills the study said significantly improve hormonal acne: Yaz, Ocella, Yasmin, Trinessat, MonoNessa, Apri, and Reclipse. Pretty long list, right?
There are also some contraceptives that the study found to have little or no effect on acne. Those are Nuvaring, Microgestin pills, and Orthoevra . The study also found that some contraceptives can actually make acne WORSE. That list includes Depo-Provera , Skyla, Lylema, Implanon, and Nexplanon .
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