Women On Birth Control
If you are on the birth control pill, all of your hormones in the ovary are suppressed so there is NO egg production and no thick, fluffy lining built up to accept a fertilized egg .
Balancing hormones for women on the birth control pill can be done, but it is trickier. Often times, the birth control pill is the cause of some of the problems which is quite an eye opening statement to some patients. A lot of women have been on the birth control pill for a majority of their lives, so they never suspect their birth control pill could be the problem. But, maybe it is. Why? Well, the pill is not changing, but you are. When we are older, the pill could drop our hormone production down so much that it is more of the problem than the solution. Most women who are done having their children might be better off finding a non-hormonal method of birth control . Then when you are hormone free, and the birth control pill is out of your system, test your hormones and see how many problems being off the pill fixed or caused, and go from there.
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.
What Is The Best Way To Medically Treat A Hormone Imbalance
How a hormone imbalance is treated depends on the condition and the practitioner. Options include medication, creams, pessaries, the pill and hormone replacement therapy .
Regular HRT medication contains synthetic hormones but there are natural options. As an expert in natural medicine, Dr. Eccles believes that the best way is to use bio-identical hormones since these do not appear to have the long-term downsides and risks that we can see with synthetic hormones.
While many of us prefer natural methods and some of us swear by them, the jury is still out on their efficacy. The NHS currently doesnt offer bio-identical hormone therapy, stating that its not known how effective they are in reducing menopausal symptoms.
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Testing Your Hormones The Right Way
Jul 8, 2020 | Hormone Health |
Weve posted a lot about the most important female hormones. Hormones that, when out of balance can cause a multitude of daily health issues for women. Now Im tying it all together, to show you how the whole picture determines your level of adrenal fatigue, your sleep-wake cycle, and other important information such as cancer risk. Understanding your hormones is the first step towards empowering you in your health. This starts with testing your hormones the right way.
Determining your level of adrenal fatigue
Lets review the hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. These are the most important sex hormones in women that we test in saliva to understand where your overall hormone levels are. From this information, we can also calculate your progesterone to estrogen ratio. This ratio is critical in understanding how stress is affecting your hormones.
In addition, we would test your am and pm cortisol and melatonin levels. This is the final piece needed to determine your stage of adrenal fatigue. These levels will also give exact information about how to improve your sleep and energy. There are 4 stages total, Ive outlined these stages below.
Stages of adrenal fatigue:
Raising and lowering hormones
Adaptogenic Herbs For Hormone Balance
Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional medicine as early as World War II.
But only now theyre trending and being massively marketed to the public.
Well, only recently did adaptogens go through rigorous scientific research and were proven to have healing properties on the human body.
Without further ado, here are our top adaptogenic herbs and adaptogenic products for hormone balance:
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Can You Test While On Bioidentical Hormones
For my patients on oral bioidentical progesterone, I use blood and dried urine. Serum tells me levels that are clinically relevant and supported by research. Dried urine tells me about the metabolism of progesterone and cortisol. I do not use saliva testing for my patients on bioidentical hormones as I believe the data suggests it leads to underdosing.
Skipping Periods During Perimenopause
Each woman is different when it comes to symptoms, including changes in menstruation. Often times, especially in the perimenopause period, the ovary can be secreting too much testosterone. In this zone of life, patients ovaries are either screaming or whispering hormones. Sometimes your ovary will struggle and hormone production will be low, or it will thrive and the hormones will look high. This is why some months your symptoms may seem severe and some months you are just fine.
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Final Thoughts On Hormonal Imbalances
- Some of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalances include unexplained weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and changes in hair, skin, and nails.
- Root causes of hormonal imbalances include compromised gut health, elevated inflammation, and high stress levels.
- Natural ways to balance your hormones include eating anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, reducing your exposure to endocrine disruptors, getting adequate sleep, and using supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps related to gut health and vitamin D levels.
What Is The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is in charge of coordinating the relationship between different organs and hormones, which are chemicals that are released into your bloodstream from cells within your endocrine glands.
Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced, it can cause widespread health problems affecting growth, sexual development and function, sleep, metabolism and hunger.
Once your hormones are in circulation, they target specific tissues or cells by binding to receptors that are located inside the cell or on its surface. These hormones work as chemical messengers and play a key role in your bodys daily functions.
The endocrine system is made up of many glands, including the pituitary gland or master gland thats responsible for sending information from your brain to other glands in your body. The pituitary gland also produces many hormones that travel throughout the body and have different important functions.
The pituitary gland is made up of two different tissue types: the anterior pituitary that synthesizes and releases classic hormones, and the posterior pituitary gland that secretes neurohormones that are made in the hypothalamus.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Female Hormones
What is the lifelong role of estrogen in female health?
Most people think estrogen is primarily responsible for reproduction, but it also helps with bone, skin and cardiovascular health. In addition, it affects thyroid hormone production. During menopause, estrogen levels decline along with the production of progesterone and testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy , which means replacing lost hormones by re-introducing them into the body, is often suggested to offset the positive benefits of estrogen and can be helpful in reducing common symptoms of menopause. But some studies show that artificial doses of estrogen carry risks and have been linked to cancer, dementia, strokes and arthritis. Never assume that hormone replacement therapy is the right thing to do without consulting your healthcare provider.
What is Puberty? Hormones that control puberty
Puberty is the time in life when children begin to show changes through hormone secretions that indicate they are about to become adults physically. In girls, the most obvious sign of puberty is the onset of menstruation. It can happen anywhere between the ages of 9 17, with a median age of 12. The menses, or monthly cycle, is interrupted during pregnancy and typically ends when the ovaries stop secreting steroid hormones a stage known as menopause.
What are the hormonal milestones in a females life?
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Why do I feel so different during my monthly cycle?
Why dont men have monthly cycles?
Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain
People with Cushing syndrome have high levels of cortisol in their blood. This leads to an increase in appetite and fat storage.
Hypothyroidism, if the condition is severe, can also lead to weight gain.
During menopause, many women gain weight because the metabolism slows down. You may find that even though youre eating and exercising like normal, you still gain weight.
The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying condition.
During a normal, healthy pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes. This is different than a hormonal imbalance.
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Is It Safe To Have Tests During The Pandemic
Dr Aziz-Scott: Its understandable that there is some hesitation about being around others at this time, but we would like to reassure you that your safety is of the utmost importance to us. It is safe to have your blood tests during the pandemic and as per Government advice, it is recommended that you keep any appointments or procedures you have booked.
Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
One of the most common symptoms of perimenopause is hot flashes, which often coexists with night sweats. Almost 80 percent of people who are in perimenopause or transitioning into menopause have hot flashes. Also, most women who receive chemotherapy or undergo surgery to remove their ovaries will experience hot flashes.
Scientists know that hot flashes occur as a result of low estrogen levels. Each hot flash involves a sensation of heat that starts in the chest area and travels to the neck and the head. It can last for a few minutes and may cause sweating. Some women also develop a faster heart rate during hot flashes.
If a hot flash happens during sleep, they are called night sweats. Women who have night sweats often wake up in the morning feeling tired.
Some people experience redness along their neck and face during a hot flash. This is called a hot flush.
On average, each hot flash lasts for about three to four minutes. Hot flashes can occur for a few months to several years. In a few rare cases, some people had hot flashes for 10 years.
Other signs of hormonal imbalance include:
- Heavy or irregular periods, missed periods, frequent periods, or stopped periods
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Weakened muscles
- Pain in the muscles, tenderness, and stiffness
- Pain and swelling in the joints
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Who Gets An Estrogen Test
Doctors may recommend testing of estradiol or estrone for symptoms such as:
Girls whose sex organs develop earlier or later than normal may also get tested for E1 and E2 levels.
Doctors usually test E3 during pregnancy, when it temporarily becomes the main estrogen. Abnormal levels of estriol may be a sign of problems with the babyâs health — but youâd get a lot more tests to find out for sure.
You might need several tests to track changes in your estrogen levels over time.
What Are The Different Types Of Hormones
Endocrine glands are located throughout the body. These glands include the:
- Hypothalamus: controls thirst, hunger, sleep, sex drive, moods, body temperature, and the release of other hormones
- Parathyroid: controls calcium
- Ovaries, in women: controls female sex hormones
- Testes, in men: controls male sex hormones
There are several different types of hormones in the body. When you have a hormonal imbalance, you may have a problem in one of more of these glands. The specific hormone that’s imbalanced will determine the signs and symptoms that you experience as a result. Some of the major hormones found in the body include:
- Estrogen: controls sex drive in both men and women, and regulates the menstrual cycle in women
- Progesterone: influences the body’s changes through pregnancy
- Testosterone: controls sex drive in both men and women
- Cortisol: controls stress
- Melatonin: control’s the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles
- Serotonin: controls sleep cycles, appetite, and mood
- Growth hormone: controls the reproduction of cells and their subsequent growth
- Leptin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re full
- Ghrelin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re hungry
- Insulin: responds to sugar in the bloodstream
If your hormones are well-balanced, you will thrive. An imbalance, however, is something you cannot afford to ignore.
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Natural Remedies And Supplements
There are many nutritional supplements on the market that claim to treat menopause and hormone imbalance. However, few of them are backed up by scientific evidence.
Many of these supplements contain plant-derived hormones. These are sometimes called bioidentical hormones because they chemically resemble the bodys natural hormones. Theres no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy, though.
Some people find that yoga helps treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also aid in weight loss, which can help regulate your hormones.
You can also make the following lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight. A
The primary cause of acne is excess oil production, which leads to clogged pores. Acne is most common in areas with many oil glands, including the:
- upper back
Acne is often associated with pubescent hormonal changes, but theres actually a lifelong relationship between acne and hormones.
Testing Testing 1 2 3
If you feel like your hormones are out of balance, you can find out exactly what’s happening via a blood test, right? Not always. Current hormone testing for women has its limits. Blood tests show what the levels of hormones are in the blood, and not the body tissues where the symptoms are actually taking place for example, the brain for mental and emotional symptoms, says Dr Worsley.
“We can diagnose some hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome , for example, and see if a woman has gone through menopause using blood tests, but in general they won’t reflect all the ‘hormonal-type’ PMS or menopausal symptoms women might be feeling,” she says.
An alternative to blood testing is saliva testing, to measure the levels of hormones present in your saliva. This is commonly prescribed through naturopaths and other natural therapists, but isn’t recognised as valid by mainstream medicine.
“At this stage, saliva testing hasn’t been researched enough, there is not enough evidence to support that it works, so we don’t use it in medicine,” says Dr Worsley.
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Why Take A Womens Hormone Test
A hormone level test can tell you a lot about your bodyâs well-being. The test results can point you to a hormone imbalance, which can affect your health. This is because hormones regulate many vital functions in the body by acting as âchemical messengers.â So out-of-balance hormones can disrupt your bodyâs normal, healthy functioningâand result in a variety of symptoms.
For example, if your thyroid hormones are out of balance, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, cold sensitivity, irregular periods, dry skin, thinning hair, and more.
Or if your steroid hormones are imbalanced, you could have symptoms like increased body fat, lowered sex drive, loss of strength, and so on.
Are Your Hormones To Blame
If youre feeling off-kilter, can you blame it on your hormones? Probably not.
Dr Milsom said if youre having your period regularly in a cycle between 21 and 35 days, its unlikely theres anything wrong with your reproductive hormones. The problem usually lies elsewhere.
Its more likely the symptoms have another cause, including lifestyle. Its common for many women to feel over-burdened with their job, household and family responsibilities, she said.
Dr Ussher noted a study that found career women with child-rearing responsibilities reported the highest levels of premenstrual distress. Hormone testing kits arent going to provide the answer, she said.
What can help with symptoms?
Its tried and true advice: eat a good diet and exercise regularly. Research shows women who exercise tend to have milder PMS.
Keep a diary and note your symptoms to understand your cyclical changes. Note other important events going on in your relationships, home life and work.
If your PMS is severe, see your GP. Medical options include the birth control pill. You may also want to consider cognitive behavioural therapy or mindfulness, which can improve feelings of anxiety.
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What Are The Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Men
Many concerns surrounding a man’s bodily changes can be answered by fluctuations in the male hormonal makeup. If changes are being identified, it may be a good idea to see whether there are any deficiencies or overabundance in the body’s chemistry.
1- Low Testosterone: This is also known as Low-T and is defined by the American Urology Association as testosterone in the blood accounting for less than 300ng/dL .
Signs of Low-T include:
- Hot Flashes
- Trouble Concentrating
2- Increased Estrogen: An increase in estrogen production in a mans body can cause a condition called gynecomastia. This is where you begin to develop breasts. Increased estrogen levels can also cause problems with your prostate organ that is in charge of producing one of the fluids that make up semen. Obesity can increase the production of estrogen in a mans body.
3- Low Cortisol/Adrenal Fatigue: Men suffering adrenal fatigue often have difficulty focusing mentally and are excessively tired.
4- Hyperthyroidism/Overactive Thyroid: Signs of high levels of thyroid hormone in your body include:
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Increased Sensitivity to cold