Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Your bodys hormones control most of your basic bodily functions. They serve as an internal communication system between cells throughout the body. They coordinate everything from digestion and growth to your appetite, immune function, mood, and libido. So, when your hormones are out of balance, even slightly, it can have a big impact on your health and well-being.
Often, when peoples hormones drop or become unbalanced, they turn to hormone replacement therapies to ease symptoms. One such therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy , has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. It promises a natural solution to hormone issues. But what exactly is BHRT, and hows it different from other hormone replacement therapies?
Read on to learn all you need to know about BHRT, its benefits and risks, and whether it may be right for you.
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.
Ask For A Referral Or Find Another Md
If youre not confident in your physicians ability to help you address your concerns, its always OK to ask for a referral to an endocrinologist or someone who has more experience treating hormonal imbalance. You may also need to simply shop around for a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and supported.
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Can You Test Hormone Levels
Yes, you can. Hormone testing is routinely done these days and is available for all types of hormones that commonly become unbalanced, including women hormones, men hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisol and much more. Most hormone imbalance tests are blood tests that measure the level of certain hormones circulating in the blood stream, and in some cases, whether complimentary hormones estrogen and progesterone, for instance are present in the proper ratios to work together effectively.
- Hormone tests are commonly done for the following purposes:
- To diagnose hormonal imbalances
Why Cortisol Testing Is Important
Cortisol testing is important because that system does not always function in the normal, healthy manner outlined above. Sometimes cortisone levels can stay too high for too long, which can have far-reaching effects on your health, such as:
- Problems with memory and/or concentration
Issues That Can Cause Abnormally High Cortisol Levels include:
1- Chronic stress: The bodys natural fight-or-flight stress response system is set up to manage short-term stress situations. Stress in todays world is often a longer-term health issue. Rather than being stressed by a sudden encounter with a predator, a situation that can be resolved quickly by running away, we are more likely to face ongoing problems that cause stress, like job pressures, for instance, or financial ones. This can cause long-term activation of the stress response system, leading to chronically high levels of cortisol.
2- Problems with the pituitary gland: Tumors on the pituitary gland or excess growth of the gland can cause it to release too much ACTH, increasing cortisol levels.
3- Problems with adrenal glands: Tumors on the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of cortisol.
4- Other tumors: Growths in other areas of the body can increase cortisol production.
5- Medications: Overuse of corticosteroid medications or long-term use of them can lead to abnormally high cortisol levels.
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Three Questions To Ask Your Doctor In The Most Common Scenarios:
Treatment For A Hormonal Imbalance
There are many different treatment options for hormonal imbalances. The treatment you ultimately be given will depend on which hormone exactly is unbalance as well as the underlying cause of the imbalance. Sometimes, a life event might cause such a fluctuation in your hormones, such as menopause. In that case, your treatment would be short term one. However, if you have a genetic disorder that causes a lifelong hormonal imbalance, you will need to pursue a more prolonged course of medications.
Hormone therapy is a common treatment for hormonal imbalances. Women who are witnessing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms may choose estrogen therapy. Testosterone therapy is a common choice for men with low testosterone levels or adolescents facing delayed puberty. Taking thyroid hormones can help individuals with hypothyroidism. Such hormone replacement therapies may come in the form of pills, patches, or even injections. Your doctor will help you choose the appropriate dosage by checking your hormone levels test results. This is how he will determine the right amount of supplemented hormone you will need to recreate the balance.
Bioidentical hormones can be produced by pharmaceutical companies using different doses. Examples include bi-estrogen which is 50 to 80 percent estriol combined with estradiol, or tri-estrogen which is 10 percent estrone, 10 percent estradiol, and 80 percent estriol.
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
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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What Is An Endocrinologist
Your family doctor or general practitioner has the skills to diagnose and treat basic hormonal conditions, but sometimes the help of a specialist is needed.
An endocrinologist is a doctor who specialises in the endocrine glands and hormones. This means they are medical experts who care for people affected by a wide range of conditions caused by problems with hormonal systems.
An Endocrinologist works with your doctor or GP
Your doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist to get further advice or expert opinion about your symptoms or condition. Your endocrinologist will report back to your doctor about your health.
This means that your doctor and endocrinologist will work together to ensure you are on the path to health and receiving the right medical care.
Because Of Their Essential Role In The Body Even Small Hormonal Imbalances Can Cause Side Effects Throughout The Body
If you have a problem relating to hormones, when you go to your doctor, ask them why it’s happening. What kind of hormonal imbalance treatment should i use if i don’t like these others? With the widespread prevalence of hormone imbalance amongst women kind, it’s easy to believe hormone imbalances are a normal part of being a womanthey. Hormones play a major role in women’s health and well being. My doctor is about to start my estrogen. Hormonal imbalances cause more health issues than you’d expect. These kinds of physiological messengers are actually created all throughout the body, and through their transmission with our body organs and each other, they assist preserve a harmony designed to maintain an individual content. Then you will need to see a doctor who specializes in hormone replacement therapy. A hormone imbalance could be to blame. Your symptoms will depend on which hormones aren’t being produced properly and as a result there is a pretty what kind of doctor should i see? Aren’t hormone tests just for women dealing with infertility? What kind of doctor should i see for hormone imbalance. Have you had your hormones tested?
Causes Of Hormone Imbalance
Most cases of hormone imbalance occur in women older than 35, although an imbalance may develop at other ages. Hormone imbalance may be caused by a number of contributing factors, which include the following:
Women suffering from hormonal imbalances may experience headaches, depression, mood swings, irritability and memory lapses.
Which Hormone Tests Should I Ask For
Which tests you undergo will depend on your symptoms and preferences. If youre experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, and other telltale signs of menopause, it would make sense to have your estrogen and progesterone levels checked. If youre feeling fatigued, depressed, or having trouble with your weight, comprehensive thyroid testing would likely be a good option. If youre a man, you may also want to check your testosterone levels, as low testosterone can produce similar symptoms.
On the other hand, you might simply be interested in a general hormone health check without any specific concerns. This can be useful to establish a baseline that helps you identify hormonal changes in the future or detect asymptomatic health conditions.
Regardless of whether you have specific concerns or just want an overview of your current hormonal health, your health care practitioner can help you determine which tests are most appropriate for your situation.
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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.
What Kind Of Doctor Do I See For Hormones
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Is It Hard To Find The Right Doctor For Testosterone Therapy
It does not have to be hard to find a doctor to prescribe testosterone therapy for you. In fact in can be summed up in four easy steps:
Step One Evaluate your symptoms of low-T
Step Two Have a physical exam and your blood tested for your testosterone level
Step Three Evaluate your test results and if you are found to have low-T receive your prescription for testosterone therapy
Step Four Fill your prescription for testosterone therapy and begin an individualized program tailored to your unique needs and lifestyle.
Remember, any kind of doctor can write you a prescription for testosterone therapy. However, it is highly recommended that you only get your testosterone therapy from a medical professional whose practice is dedicated to hormone replacement therapy. Only a well-qualified physician who specializes in hormone replacement therapy, should prescribe your testosterone therapy. This way you can be sure your testosterone therapy will be the safest and most effective for your particular needs and lifestyle.
When you get your HGH Human Growth Hormone therapy from a doctor who specializes in age optimization through hormone replacement, not only will such a physician be able to provide you with the most accurate testing of testosterone levels and provide you with the most effective prescription testosterone treatment, he or she will also be able to evaluate your other hormones.
Natural Ways To Support Healthy Hormones
While you should always speak to your doctor if you have hormonal imbalance, he might not have to give you any kind of medication to restore the balance. This is particularly true if the imbalance is caused by something like diet or stress. In general, people who have the following criteria are at higher risks of developing hormonal imbalances:
- Being overweight or obese
- Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol
- Being exposed to pesticides and toxins
- Experiencing high stress levels
- Not sleeping enough
Many of these risk factors are easily controlled when you’re mindful of your diet, exercise routine, and daily habits. If you quit smoking, moderate your drinking, or avoid exposure to pesticides, you can help reduce your risk factor for hormonal imbalances and naturally keep them moderated.
Changing the way you eat can go a long way towards improving your hormonal balance. For example, when you exchange carbohydrates for healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocado, you can lower your bodys inflammation and help maintain your hormone at the right levels. Consuming enough proteins will help control the ghrelin hormone that makes you feel hungry. This gives you the feeling of fullness; and then, you will stop eating at the appropriate time and maintain a healthy weight.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone imbalance symptoms depend on the type of imbalance and your overall health and lifestyle. They include:
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin dryness
The difficulty experienced by a couple or an individual during any stage of normal sexual activity, such as arousal, physical desire, preference, pleasure, or orgasm, is referred to as sexual dysfunction.
Sexual dysfunction is a common problem associated with hormonal imbalance, particularly menopause and the lack of reproductive hormones.
Reasons To See An Endocrinologist
Typically, youâll see an endocrinologist in an outpatient setting after being referred by your primary care doctor. However, an endocrinologist could be called in to consult during an inpatient visit if there are concerns about an underlying hormone-related disorder.
Patients see endocrinologists for reasons ranging from diabetes management to problems with their thyroid, certain types of cancer, adrenal disorders, and more. Your doctor will likely refer you when there are concerns about:
Difficulty Managing Diabetes with Standard Treatments
Individuals with diabetes typically see a primary care doctor regularly and may take medication to help keep their blood sugar levels stable. However, if standard treatment doesnât get your blood sugar levels under control, your primary care doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist will look for additional strategies to help control your diabetes.
Thyroid disorders can involve too much or too little of different types of hormones produced in the thyroid. You may be referred to an endocrinologist when a thyroid disorder is first diagnosed to review your condition and create a treatment plan. If there are no other complicating factors, youâll complete follow-up care with your primary care doctor.
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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.
When To See A Hormone Imbalance Specialist
Hormones are often a blanket term used to explain the cause of issues related to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone in women. Testosterone levels in men are also looked to frequently as the reason for certain symptoms thought to be related to a hormonal imbalance. In truth, there are a vast array of hormones that play a role in numerous bodily functions. While a specific diagnosis requires testing and an in-depth examination, there are some common indicators of when to see our hormone imbalance specialist.
Youre Not Sleeping
If youre not able to fall asleep at night or you find yourself waking up frequently, there could be a few hormonally related causes. You definitely want to see a qualified medical professional about your lack of slumber in order to get down to the bottom of the issue. Sleep deprivation is a very serious problem. You wont feel refreshed, and this lack can lead to additional problems or create a cycle of hormonal imbalance. As such, its important to see our hormone imbalance specialist.
Youre Constantly Tired
If sleep issues arent something you deal with, yet youre still tired all the time, there could be a reason to see our hormone imbalance specialist. Different types of hormonal systems play a role in your energy levels. Your problem may not be hormonally related at all. However, its worth looking into since multiple hormones could cause extreme tiredness.
You Experience Irritability and Mood Swings
You Notice Other Unpleasant Changes
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