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Scottsdale, AZ 85253
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Hormone Imbalance

Understanding Hormone Imbalances

A hormone imbalance can occur at any age. The fact is that after age 30, people produce 3-10% lower hormones each year. Hormone imbalances are often associated with perimenopause, menopause, thyroid disorders, menstrual irregularities, insulin resistance/blood sugar imbalances, adrenal insufficiency and andropause (in men). If you are feeling a little off lately, it may be a hormone imbalance.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance:

  • Insomnia, Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Perimenopause/ menopause -hot flashes, palpitations, menstrual irregularities, vaginal dryness, hair thinning, night sweats
  • In ability to lose weight
  • Fatigue during the day, lack of energy and drive
  • mind fog, depression, irritability, decreased libido
  • Andropause- trouble with weight gain in the middle, decreased muscle tone, low libido

It is important to evaluate all the symptoms and obtain the proper testing to find the source of the imbalance.

The reproductive organs (ovaries, testes), adrenal glands, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary, liver and pineal gland are all responsible for producing and maintaining the proper balance of hormones in the body. Many endocrine organs interact and depend on the proper functioning of the other endocrine organs.

The reproductive organs rely upon the proper stimulation from the thyroid in order to maintain a proper estrogen/ progesterone balance, hence sex drive or fertility becomes a problem. The endocrine system is a complex system with a little fine tuning it can be back in balance. It is important to test hormones via saliva testing or by blood serum levels.

Perimenopause and Menopause

The one of the most common hormone imbalance is associated with perimenopause and menopause. In the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), menstrual cycles may become irregular and may also be heavier or lighter than usual. They may become erratic due to the fluctuations of highs and lows of estrogen and progesterone several times a day. Testosterone and DHEA levels may also decline. During this time women may become more emotional; they feel like they are on a rollercoaster.

Once a woman has made the transition to menopause (12 months without a period) estrogen levels have dropped to 60% and progesterone drops to nearly zero. This situation creates an imbalance in the estrogen/ progesterone balance resulting in an estrogen dominance common in menopause. Even though the most likely imbalance is due to both low estrogen and progesterone.

Many women in perimenopause do well by making a change in their diet, exercise, botanicals, and possibly adrenal support. Treatment should be individualized since everyone is different. It is essential to get a base level of the hormones estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and Cortisol (salivary). Once the baseline has been established, then use of diet, exercise, herbal formulas and Natural Hormone Replacement (NHRT) may be necessary.

Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is a problem in some people which may contribute to some cancers and other conditions. We are constantly exposed to environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens) from air, food, water, pesticides, and plastics.

Symptoms of Estrogen dominance in Women:

  • PMS, breast tenderness or swelling,
  • fibroids, Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer,
  • Weight gain (waist, hips and thighs), water retention, craving sweets, increased aging
  • decreased libido, depression, fatigue, hypoglycemia, memory loss

Estrogen dominance in Men:

  • BPH, Prostate Cancer,
  • Erectile dysfunction, low sex drive
  • depression, irritability, fatigue.

Estrogen Insufficiency

Estrogen Insufficiency is most commonly associated with perimenopausal and menopausal women.

Symptoms of Estrogen deficiency are:

  • Hot flashes, night sweats, lethargy, fatigue, memory loss, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, recurrent UTI’s, irritability, anxiety, headaches, joint stiffness, weight gain, thin hair and skin aging.

Progesterone

Progesterone plays a role in maintaining and calming the nervous system. It has protective qualities for the brain. It stimulates the new formation of bone. It is a natural anti-depressant; it restores a normal sleep pattern. It can normalize blood sugar levels and reduces cravings for sweets/carbohydrates. It is also responsible for maintaining a normal menstrual cycle along with estrogen, FSH, and LH.

Symptoms of Progesterone Insufficiency are:

  • Anxiety, depression, stressed, weight gain (hips, waist, thighs), mood swings, irritability, fibrocystic breasts, irregular periods (spotting), PMS, bloating, candida overgrowth, headaches, sleep disturbances, endometriosis.

Adrenal Function

Stress plays a huge role in affecting hormone imbalance. Cortisol, norepinepherine and epinepherine are produced by the Adrenal glands. In times of stress, cortisol is released promoting a fight or flight response. If a prolonged period of stress occurs, the adrenals become exhausted and in extreme cases cortisol may not be released. The adrenal glands strongly depend on the functions thyroid, liver, pituitary and reproductive organs.

Symptoms of adrenal problems:

  • chronic fatigue, allergies, lowered immune system, irregular cycles, stress, insomnia, anxiety and mind fog

Androgen Insufficiency (Low Testosterone and DHEA)

Testosterone and DHEA are released from the testes or ovaries and the adrenal glands. Both hormones help to regulate the sexual response, define muscle mass and important in brain function.

Symptoms of low Testosterone or DHEA are:

  • Decreased libido, depression, osteoporosis, BPH, Prostatitis, increased aging, Andropause in men, memory loss, increase in coronary artery disease risk and Myocardial infarction risk.

Androgen excess

In some menopausal women, their ovaries over produce testosterone and under produce estrogen and progesterone. Women who have PCOS also have excess androgens which interfere with ovulation and can cause fertility problems.

Some symptoms of Androgen excess are:

  • Acne, hair thinning, increase in hair of the face, chest or below the naval, middle weight gain (spare tire or pear shape figure), and may have male pattern baldness, irregular menstrual cycles

Thyroid Imbalances

Thyroid problems are very common in today’s society. The thyroid cannot function by itself; it works in conjunction with other endocrine organs like the adrenals, pituitary, pancreas, liver and reproductive organs. The thyroid is required to work harder if the other organs such as the liver or adrenal glands have been overworked or overstimulated by stress, food allergies, poor diet and lack of sleep. Often a thyroid imbalance may be due to an iodine deficiency. Thyroid function is evaluated by blood levels of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), Free T4 or T3 (Thyroid hormones) and thyroid antibodies.

Symptoms of low thyroid function are:

  • Fatigue, constipation, hair thinning, dry skin, weight gain, cold hands and feet, depression, slowed sensory reactions, menstrual irregularities, muscle cramps, puffy face and hands and fertility problems.

Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid:

  • Goiter (swelling of the thyroid), nervousness, palpitations, anxiety, diarrhea, easy to fatigue, intolerance to heat, excessive sweating, restlessness, insomnia and weight loss