How Do You Treat These Issues
Depending on the diagnosed cause of your hormone imbalance, treatment options can be quite different.
The goal with any hormone treatment is to attempt to restore normal hormone level production to whichever gland is the source of your symptoms. The treatments they suggest could also vary from men to women, even if theyre experiencing similar symptoms.
Once the endocrinologist identifies the source of the symptoms, they could suggest treatments such as:
- Estrogen therapy, oral or sometimes intravaginal
- Anti-androgen medications
- Certain medications
Hormonal Belly Woman: How To Fight Stubborn Fat In Your Midsection
There are many different reasons why people have stubborn fat in their midsection, but one common culprit is hormone imbalance. The reason for this is that when your hormones are out of balance, they can cause weight gain or difficulty in losing weight in certain parts of your body. This means that you might be able to fight off belly fat by correcting hormonal imbalances first. But how do you know if you have a hormone imbalance? And what should you do about it?Heres some information on how to tell if youre experiencing hormonal problems and what steps to take after determining that this may be the case.
What Is A Hormone Imbalance
The human body produces a variety of different chemicals called hormones that help regulate many of your bodily functions. They can affect your sleep cycle, reproductive cycles, libido, appetite, and more.
If your hormones become imbalanced, your body might not function properly. You may feel sick or depressed, or even struggle with infertility, weight gain, or other symptoms that can affect your quality of life. Hormone imbalances can even cause sleep disorders and chronic fatigue.
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They Provide Plenty Of Individualized Attention
One of the greatest benefits of seeking top-of-the-line medical care is individual attention. Ask your potential hormone doctor how much time they typically spend with a patient during consultation and follow-up appointments. Then, consider if thats enough time to truly understand your medical background, symptoms, concerns, and questions.
Youre an individual with unique needs that deserves personalized solutions. Understanding those needs, evaluating your treatment options, and monitoring your progress are all essential components of caring for your healthand they take time. By prioritizing doctors who offer plenty of time and individualized attention, youre making sure that your concerns will be heard.
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How Are Hormonal Imbalances Diagnosed
Healthcare providers typically order blood tests to check hormone levels since your endocrine glands release hormones directly into your bloodstream.
Certain hormone levels vary drastically throughout the day, so providers may order other tests to measure your levels, such as a glucose tolerance test or insulin tolerance test.
Your provider will also ask you about your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam.
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How Hormone Imbalances Can Impact Your Mental Health
More research is needed around how hormones and mental health are connected, but experts say there is definitely an interaction between hormones and well-being.
Heres what we know: Your endocrine system works in tandem with your nervous system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary system to maintain a sense of homeostasis, or physiological equilibrium.
This equilibrium is what the body wants, but when its not achieved, a lot can go wrong.
When something is out of balance with your hormones it has an effect on the whole system, which means youre going to feel it manifest both in your body and your mind.
According to Dr. Cory Rice, DO, The major endocrine glands in humans are the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands. If this chemical messaging system or the hormone feedback loops are negatively compromised in any way, this can have profound effects on someones health, particularly as it relates to their mental health.
For example, he says, the thyroid gland is the master gland of our endocrine system. Its responsible for producing the hormones and , and its T3 that has a major role in ones mental health.
Many of the T3 receptors in our body are concentrated in our brain. So if we have a thyroid gland that is underperforming , there is not enough thyroid hormone getting to the brain. This can, and oftentimes will, lead to increased rates of depression or anxiety or other mental health issues, he says.
Diagnosis And Treatment Options For A Hormonal Imbalance
Various tests are done to confirm hormonal imbalance and to check for complications arising out of them. The doctor may call for blood tests to check for thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol levels. A Pap smear will be used to check for unusual lumps, cysts, or tumors while an ultrasound will be used to get images of the uterus, ovaries, thyroid, and pituitary glands. A biopsy will be done if the tumor is suspected, while an MRI or X-ray will look for bone loss.
Treatment options are wide and varied. Estrogen therapy, vaginal estrogen, hormonal birth control, and anti-androgen medications aim to balance the sex hormones. Thyroid hormone therapy and drugs such as Levothyroxine are given to address thyroid issues, while drugs such as Metformin, Flibanserin, bremelanotide, and Eflornithine are given to address various consequences or complications arising out of hormonal imbalance. IVF techniques and drugs such as Clomiphene and letrozole are given to women with PCOS who are trying to conceive.
In addition to the above, friends and family may suggest native medicine or alternate treatments. However, these should be pursued with caution as there is no documentary evidence on their efficacy or side effects.
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Causes Of Endocrine Disorders
Endocrine disorders are typically grouped into two categories:
- Endocrine disease that results when a gland produces too much or too little of an endocrine hormone, called a hormone imbalance.
- Endocrine disease due to the development of lesions in the endocrine system, which may or may not affect hormone levels.
The endocrines feedback system helps control the balance of hormones in the bloodstream. If your body has too much or too little of a certain hormone, the feedback system signals the proper gland or glands to correct the problem. A hormone imbalance may occur if this feedback system has trouble keeping the right level of hormones in the bloodstream, or if your body doesnt clear them out of the bloodstream properly.
Increased or decreased levels of endocrine hormone may be caused by:
- A problem with the endocrine feedback system
- Failure of a gland to stimulate another gland to release hormones
- A genetic disorder, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia or congenital hypothyroidism
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.
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How Do I Know If I Need To See A Hormone Specialist
If you bake a cake, adding too much or too little of just one ingredient can mess up your entire recipe. The same thing holds true for your hormones.
Your hormones play a vital role in your health and well-being by regulating crucial bodily processes, including your sleep cycle, reproductive cycle, appetite, metabolism, body temperature, mood, and sexual function. An overproduction or underproduction of any of your hormoneswhich can occur due to aging, stress, certain medical conditions , among other factorscan cause these processes to go awry. A disruption in these processes can result in symptoms that do not only affect your quality of life but can also put you at risk of developing health problems.
In such case, it is best to see a hormone specialist, preferably an osteopathic or a naturopathic doctor, who offers unique, all-natural, and highly effective solutions to health issues like hormone imbalances. Know exactly when to seek the expertise of a hormone specialist by reading about the signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance, as outlined below.
What Experience And Training Do Endocrinologists Need
Endocrinology is a subspecialty of internal medicine. Endocrinologists are healthcare providers who have trained in the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat endocrine conditions specifically.
To become an endocrinologist in the United States, a person must obtain or complete the following:
- A bachelors degree .
- Approximately four years of medical school.
- A two- to three-year residency in internal medicine or pediatrics.
- A two- to three-year fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.
- Pass an exam to become board-certified in internal medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine.
- Pass an endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism exam to become board-certified as an endocrinologist.
Endocrinologists and all healthcare providers also partake in yearly learning and training courses known as Continuing Medical Education to stay up to date in their medical field.
How Is Your Sleep
If you arent sleeping as soundly as you used to hormones may be the culprit. Lower levels of progesterone and estrogen, as you get older, have the capability to interfere with sleep and wake you up in the middle of the night. That can trigger you to grab OTC sleeping pills however, theyre a band-aid to a much deeper issue.
If getting out of bed every morning is a struggle, then thats a clear indication your circadian hormonal output is out of balance. Particular hormones are produced in a cyclical or circadian pattern daily, and if their rhythm gets modified youll begin to feel fatigued, and cant function properly.
For instance, lets look at the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol should be high in the early morning it wakes you up, gets your brain in high gear sets you up for the day. If you notice that it takes more effort than usual to get going in the morning, then your circadian cortisol high might be stuck in neutral. How does this rhythm get out of balance?
Well, if youre always on the go and consuming a few cups of java or stimulants, it can affect your deep sleep and eventually circadian pattern. Additionally, having a hectic social life and a couple of beverages every night can likewise impede your deep sleep and circadian rhythm.
Mood Swings Anxiety And Depression
A hormonal imbalance can cause you to experience mood swings and heightened anxiety just before your period or during the menopause.
Estrogen levels constantly fluctuate during the reproductive cycle. Researchers from Harvard found that women with low estrogen levels are more prone to feeling the effects of emotional stress. They found that in clinical trials, higher levels of estrogen helped to calm the fear response helping you to be less fearful.8
Other studies have found that fluctuations in the hormone cortisol and hormones produced by the pituitary, hypothalamic, and gonadal glands can cause depressive symptoms. Researchers found that low levels of the cortisol hormone were found in women who have fibromyalgia and symptoms of depression.9
If you suffer from mood swings and anxiety during the menopause, you can find some helpful advice in my article on 10 herbs and supplements for menopause. If depression and anxiety is a result of hormonal imbalances, then you can help relieve these symptoms naturally by trying some natural treatments for depression after consulting with your doctor.
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Write Down Your Symptoms And Diagnoses
It can be easy to forget your symptoms and medical history during your visit especially when working with a provider for the first time. To avoid missing any important information, be sure to write down a list of your symptoms and diagnoses prior to your visit.
Below are some common symptoms of a hormone imbalance that are important for your doctor to be aware of:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Osteoporosis or bone loss
- Vaginal dryness and low sex drive
- Hair loss, dry nails, or dry skin
- Excessive or abnormal growth of body hair
- Insomnia and fatigue
Its important to keep a record of your current and past medical conditions, hospitalizations, and surgeries. If youre seeking care for a womens health disorder and are having menstrual cycles, using a period tracker will help streamline your visit as well.
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Asokumar buvanendran, president of the american society of regional anesthesia and pain medicine and an anesthesiologist at the rush university medical center in chicago, says that acute pain chronic pain leads to changes in the hormones, the cardiovascular system and in the brain. Take this quiz to find out what kind of doctor you should consider. What kinds of doctors prescribe growth hormone therapy? Children may need to see a doctor sooner than this. These specialists assess and treat internal glands that produce hormones and other bodily functions. This should help you choose a doctor the next time you are. Being constipated means your bowel movements are ask your doctor or pharmacist which kind might work for you and how long you should take it. To me, these both sound like a hormonal imbalance issue. Introduction to cancer symptoms and signs. Once you take the medication, then your blood is tested to see if your body reacted properly to the introduction of the growth any kind of doctor can write you a prescription for growth hormone. What do you think is the most important thing that a doctor should bring always? Specific organs in the endocrine system for hernia repair surgery, you should see a general surgeon. An endocrinologist diagnoses and treats disorders of glands and hormones.
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Why Would Someone See An Endocrinologist
You would be referred to an endocrinologist by your family doctor, or you can visit him/her on your own if you have the following signs:
- You are a diabetic and
- Your high blood sugar level has not been controlled by your doctors treatment
- Your doctor does not have experience in treating diabetes
- You are on many insulin shots or on an insulin pump
- You have developed complications of diabetes
How To Balance Hormones Causing Irregular Periods
While there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help regulate your hormones, its best to see a doctor if youre having symptoms of hormone imbalance or if your periods are irregular.
They will be able to monitor hormone levels and make sure theyre where they need to be. They can also determine whether or not treatments are working.
Depending on the underlying cause of the hormone imbalance or which hormones are irregular, other treatments might also be used.
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What Is A Hormone Specialist
Hormone specialists aim to restore hormone levels to proper levels so that the bodys functions work correctly. Compared to other medical professionals, hormone specialists have a more in-depth knowledge of hormones, their diseases, and effective treatments. Hormone specialists also have access to the latest technological solutions that may make treatment more effective, convenient, and faster for patients.
Dangers Of Hormone Imbalance
The most dangerous thing about a hormonal imbalance is not actually the symptom, but what it may represent. Common causes of a hormonal imbalance range from diabetes to thyroid issues, to glandular issues and possible tumors either benign or malignant. If your body is reacting in these ways to changes in your bodys chemicals, it could be sign of a deeper issue, which could be dangerous if left untreated.
Particularly in women, a hormonal imbalance could indicate early onset of menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, primary ovarian insufficiency and even ovarian cancer, among other conditions. In men, hormone imbalance could indicate any number of conditions, including prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms that are not typical of your personality or body. Many people keep a log to keep track of changes this is helpful when describing to their doctors any concerns or symptoms. Once diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to prescribe medicine, advise life-style changes, conduct additional testing, or refer you to a specialist.
Remember, a hormonal balance can be serious if left untreated, but speaking to your doctor even if youre wrong can only help make the issue better.
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It Might Not Be Your Hormones
While its important to advocate for your health, try not to be swayed by broad, overarching claims that insist that everyone needs hormone testing or that every symptom youre experiencing is related to your hormones.
Just because youre experiencing symptoms of a hormonal imbalance doesnt mean you have a hormonal imbalance. Nearly every symptom of a hormonal imbalance can have other causes, as well. Its important to not lump everything together under hormones, and to instead break down each symptom individually, Dr. Batur advises. We have to take a deep dive to make sure were not missing anything, whether its lifestyle factors or another medical condition.
Finding A Hormone Doctor Doesnt Need To Be Complicated
Finding the right doctor and receiving the correct hormone treatment can vastly improve your quality of life and overall well-being. The information included in this article can be used to help guide your decision, and take some of the guesswork out of finding a new hormone doctor.
Blending complementary and conventional therapies gives you access to a wider array of treatment options, so feel free to shop around for multiple providers. Additionally, keep an eye out for any red flags that we discussed, and always trust your judgment when looking for any kind of healthcare practitioner.
If youre currently looking for a hormone doctor, our functional medicine providers have experience in treating many different types of hormone disorders and imbalances. Reach out to our clinic at the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine to schedule an appointment and begin your healing journey today.
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