Herbal And Alternative Medicine:
I love using herbal formulations with my patients in order to provide safe and effective relief for their symptoms. Herbals are a gentle way to treat for many symptoms such as hot flashes, painful periods, unpredictable periods, hormonal acne, fertility, sleep, and more! Here are some common herbal supplements to balance hormones and combat these unwanted issues
Unfortunately, there are so many wonderful herbal supplements to balance hormones that I cannot possibly mention them all. It is also important to know that there is more to herbs that simply checking what health issues they are indicated for. They also have synergistic properties, which means that some herbs work better together! A naturopathic doctor can come up with a herbal formula that is dosed safely and appropriately for your individualized health history and concerns. There are also pre-made supplements on the market which are formulated for hormone balance. My trustworthy brands in this category include Vitanica and Femenessence.
Puberty Can Trigger Hormonal Acne
Puberty was probably the first time you noticed how fluctuating hormones affect your skin. During puberty when a womans ovaries turn on theres a rise in estrogen as well as testosterone . Receptors in the skin are sensitive to testosterone, pumping out sebum as a result, which can lead to acne, says , clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. For women, hormonal birth control pills are an option, as they put the ovaries asleep and as a result, shut down testosterone production, says Dr. Minkin.
How Is A Hormone Imbalance Found
To detect a hormone imbalance the best way is by blood test or by urine test, says Dr. Eccles. In some circumstances testing hormone levels in saliva can also be useful, adding that if tests are in a pre-menopausal woman then the timing of the test is also important.
Your GP may also offer a pelvic exam, which can include a smear test, or refer you for an ultrasound to gather images of the pituitary or thyroid gland, the ovaries or uterus. Other detection techniques include biopsies, MRI scans and X-rays.
There are home test kits available that measure hormones through saliva or blood samples. These can be expensive so its worth speaking to your GP first, who should be able to determine what specific tests you need and what tests can be conducted on the NHS.
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How To Check Estrogen Levels
This article was medically reviewed by Aimee Eyvazzadeh, MD, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD. Aimee Eyvazzadeh is a Fertility Specialist and the Founder of The Egg Whisperer Show, a fertility care program focusing on fertility education based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been featured in magazines such as People, Forbes, and Marie Claire, and she has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and CNN. She earned an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001, completed an OB/GYN residency at Harvard Medical School in 2005, and finished a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University of Michigan, where she also completed an MPH. This article has been viewed 11,014 times.
Estrogen is a hormone that affects the reproductive system and the development of secondary sex characteristics . Estrogen levels can also impact your mood and the health of your skin, bones, liver, and heart.XResearch source Whether you are pregnant, trying to conceive, concerned about a possible hormone imbalance, or taking hormone-based medications, you may need to keep an eye on your estrogen levels. Visit your healthcare provider to get your levels tested, or ask your healthcare provider to order an at-home test kit for you.
Causes Of Hormonal Imbalance
Many factors can throw hormone balance off, including weight loss or gain, stress, injury, medications, chemical exposures and tumors.
Medical conditions such as diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome , thyroid problems, as well as Addison’s disease and Cushing syndrome are linked to hormone imbalance.
But in most people its more likely to be stress, thyroid issues, some nutritional deficiencies, poor eating habits, being under or overweight, eating disorders, hormonal birth control, drug abuse, infections, allergies, autoimmune disorders and exposure to toxins, pollutants and pesticides.
In other words, many things that we have some control over.
The good news is that hormone levels can be checked by your doctor with a simple blood draw and there are some lifestyle changes you can adopt .
Significant fluctuations in body weight
Both extreme or rapid weight loss and weight gain can cause menstrual cycle irregularities and even delay or prevent ovulation.
Losing a lot of body fat can lead to a reduction in the estrogen and LH, whereas gaining weight can lead to lead to a state known as ‘estrogen dominance’ where the body produces and stores high amounts of estrogen.
Both high estrogen AND low estogen cause problems in our bodies.
Signs of estrogen dominance in women can include:
Changes in sex drive
High levels of estrogen can ALSO lead to weight gain particularly around the hips and waist.
Still, women of all ages could develop low estrogen, and experience symptoms like:
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What Kind Of Doctors Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Primary healthcare providers can diagnose and help you manage many hormonal imbalances, but you may benefit from seeing an endocrinologist.
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in endocrinology, a field of medicine that studies conditions related to your hormones. They can diagnose endocrine conditions, develop treatment and management plans and prescribe medication.
The Female Sex Hormones
A woman’s menstrual cycle is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis .
The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are two structures which are located in the brain. They have many functions, one of which is to regulate hormones found in blood.
For their part, the ovaries are responsible for releasing the sex hormones, which exert their function over the uterus. In addition, these hormones are responsible for the appearance of the secondary female characteristics in women.
Hence, any abnormality that affects the release of hormones by the HPO axis can lead to menstrual irregularities and, as a result, infertility.
This is why getting your hormones tested with a simple hormone analysis is a crucial female fertility test.
The regulation process of the menstrual cycle can be split into two different parts: the hypothalamic-pituitary function and the ovarian function. The following sections will provide you with more information on the hormones involved in each:
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Testing For T3 T4 And Tsh Levels
Here at PrimeHealth, we administer a more robust set of thyroid function tests than most of the medical community. Many conventional primary care doctors and endocrinologists tend to only focus on TSH levels.
Additionally, its important to take into account optimal levels versus reference range levels. Thats why we administer a more thorough panel of tests.
Also, keep in mind that if youre taking thyroid medications, the time from your last dose will change the way we interpret your lab values. Your provider may have you test your thyroid panel before or after taking your medication in the morning to assess your thyroid levels at various times during the day.
We believe the most accurate and thorough way to test for thyroid function is to measure:
- Anti-thyroglobulin and anti-TPO antibodies
- Thyroid-binding globulin
Important: Make sure youre not taking biotin when testing for thyroid hormone levels. This popular supplement for hair and nail growth can interfere with test results.
What are normal TSH test results? The normal range of thyroid test results is 0.5-5.0 mIU/L, but we recommend TSH levels stay under 2.5 mIU/L. If your TSH level sits outside this reference range, you probably suffer from a thyroid disorder that needs to be treated.
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety
Yes, certain hormonal imbalances can cause anxiety, including:
- Hyperthyroidism: If you have hyperthyroidism, it means your body has too much thyroid hormone. Excess thyroid hormone speeds up your metabolism. This can cause anxiety, in addition to unusual nervousness, restlessness and irritability.
- Cushings syndrome: While its not as common of a symptom, Cushings syndrome can cause anxiety, as well as depression and irritability.
- Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency: Adults with growth hormone deficiency often report having anxiety and/or depression.
Several other conditions and factors can cause anxiety. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider if youre experiencing anxiety.
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Testing Perimenopause And Menopause Hormone Levels: Is It Worth It
We see the numbers a lot: estradiol, estrogens, FSH. But what do they mean, and what can they actually tell a woman about where she is in the menopause transition?
Turns out, the team at Gennev found that using a menopause hormone levels chart may be less helpful than weâd like.
While there are uses for having hormone levels tested, pinpointing your place on the perimenopause-to-menopause journey probably isnât one of them. Hormones just donât cooperate during this time , and hormone tests can only really offer a limited snapshot of where you are right now â which is probably not where youâll be tomorrow.
To understand all this better, we had a Q & A with our ob/gyn Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, on to test or not to test.
False Positives And Negatives
It is possible to test positive for a condition you don’t have or test negative for a condition you do have-but it is rare. This may happen if the test is not carried out correctly, it is done at the wrong time, or there are problems with the equipment. It is important to understand that it can happen however, it is not common.
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Try Some Of The Strategies To Help You Manage Stress:
Learn to say no
Protein with every meal to stabilise blood sugar and moods
Regular exercise that you enjoy and is not too strenuous
Time outdoors: barefoot on the ground
When it comes to supplementation, ashwagandha is an incredible natural solution. Here at Nourished we have created the purest ashwagandga supplement on the market, our Calm + De-stress vitamin. It is made in the USA, FDA certified and 100% natural.
Symptoms Of A Thyroid Issue
What are the symptoms of a thyroid problem? The symptoms of a thyroid problem comes from hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, both caused by unbalanced thyroid levels. Thyroid disease symptoms include:
- Enlarged thyroid
Graves disease or Hashimotos thyroiditis can lead to dangerously high or dangerously low thyroid hormone levels, respectively. There are many triggers for Graves or Hashimotos.
Its crucial to know if a patients thyroid imbalance is due to Hashimotos or Graves disease these are autoimmune conditions with a significantly different root cause and treatment strategy than thyroid disease which is not autoimmune in nature.
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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.
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Estrogen Levels Vary On A Daily Monthly And Yearly Basis
This variation NEEDS to be taken into account when testing estrogen.
If you go into your Doctors office and your Doctor orders an estrogen on just some random day, it’s almost impossible to make any sort of claim based on that single lab test about your estrogen level.
The only exception is probably menopause because at this time in your life your estrogen is no longer fluctuating on a monthly basis and will stay relatively stable.
Because it is known that estrogen varies based on the day of the month lab tests come equipped with “ranges” which are designed to help with interpretation.
The problem with these lab tests is that the reference range is very wide :
You can see from this example that mid-follicular phase estrogen may vary from 27 to 123.
Mid-luteal phase estrogen can vary from 49 to 294.
So why is this a problem?
Let’s say that you are suffering from some symptoms, such as menstrual irregularities, which leads you to the Doctor for testing.
If your Doctor tests your estrogen and you come back in the normal range for the mid-luteal phase estrogen with a value at 58 you may be considered “normal”.
But what if the true “normal” for you is closer to 200? There would be no way to know what is actually your normal unless you have a baseline testing of estrogen .
This is just one way in which testing for estrogen is not as straightforward as it might seem.
Its Really Really Hard To Lose Weight
Weight gain or trouble losing weight is maybe the most frustrating symptom of hormone imbalance. No matter how much you exercise, or how long you stick with a healthy dietthe belly bloat wont budge.
Often, weight gain around the middle is linked to either stressed out adrenal glands or insulin resistance with PCOS. Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects nearly 1 in every 10 women, and is also the culprit behind excess body hair , an irregular menstrual cycle, and fertility struggles.
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Herbs Nutrients And Nutrition Options For Hormone Balance
As a Naturopathic Physician, I am lucky to have so many tools in my toolbox to provide treatment options to my patients having hormonal balance issues! Depending on symptom severity and patient preference, I can choose between a variety of options that will work best for them. This is one of the many reasons that I love Naturopathic Medicine and one of the reasons I often use supplements to balance hormones.
How To Naturally Balance Hormones
Hormone ups and downs are a fact of life, but you shouldn’t have to put up with uncomfortable or unwelcome side effects of extreme fluctuations.
While doctors may prescribe medications for diagnosed hormone disorders or for specific times in life such as menopause, there are many things you can do naturally to encourage hormone balance.
Some lifestyle modifications are known to be effective.
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Changing Hormones Influence Your Skin Throughout The Years
Similarly, your doctor may grow suspicious that other hormonal factors are at play if your skin is not responding to tried-and-true treatments, says Hollmig. For instance, acne largely caused by a hormonal imbalance would not likely improve significantly with a topical antibacterial wash, he says. If your skin is not responding to treatment, your doctor may request lab testing.
What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
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The Four Phases Of The Menstrual Cycle
What happens during each menstrual cycle? High-level, an egg develops and is released from the ovaries. If a pregnancy doesnt happen, the uterine lining sheds during a menstrual period. You bleed, and the cycle starts again. The four phases of the menstrual cycle are the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation phase, and luteal phase. The length of each phase can differ from woman to woman, and it can change over time.