What You Need to Know About Hormone Balancing
Balanced hormones are essential for men, women and children, as hormones impact every tissue in the body. Bones, skin, nails, digestion, blood sugar metabolism, memory, libido, energy, ambition and body fat are influenced by hormones.
Hormone imbalances have long been perceived as a women’s health issue. PMS, menopause and peri-menopause are well publicized disorders. PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, and peri-menopause, are predominately “estrogen dominate” or low progesterone disorders whereas, menopause, is generally an “estrogen deficient” disorder. Recently, “low T” (low testosterone), or andropause, the male version of menopause, has gotten a lot of press. Finally, men have their own documented hormone imbalance, which can be corrected.
Both men and women produce testosterone. Men with low testosterone, frequently complain of poor muscle tone, lack of ambition, decreased libido, poor healing of sprains, and often have “beer bellies” even if normal weight. In the past these symptoms were attributed to “age”, however, young men in their thirties, who should have high levels of testosterone, are being diagnosed with “low T.” Women with low testosterone experience some of the same symptoms as men, decreased libido, lack of ambition and poor muscle tone, in spite of exercise. One the opposite side of the spectrum women with high testosterone levels can experience symptoms of PCO (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) which include rapid weight gain, inability to lose weight, acne, hirsutism, and hyperinsulism. Men with high testosterone (usually teenagers) rarely complain except about acne. However, people around them complain about their daredevil attitude, and irritability.
If estrogen, testosterone and progesterone were the only hormones in the body, any imbalance, including PMS would be easy to correct. However, there are numerous other hormones which can impact not just the sex hormones, but overall health and well being. Two fairly common hormone imbalances we see in at Medicine 369, are, Thyroid disorders. (hyper, hypo and hashimotos and sub-clinical thyroiditis), and Adrenal Fatigue. Thyroid imbalances can cause weight gain, weight loss, palpitations, lipid disorders, memory loss, depression, anxiety, and for some women infertility and miscarriages. Adrenal fatigue or exhaustion can cause fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight gain and decreased ability to cope with stress. Thyroid disorders and adrenal fatigue can make any hormone imbalances worse. Left untreated, they can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances, causing depression, anxiety, food cravings, gastrointestinal
disorders, and weight gain, further complicating the clinical picture.
Hormone production, (no surprise here) is affected by lifestyle choices. Poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, excessive exercise, drugs, illness and candidasis can negatively impact hormone production. Toxic metals found in pesticides and some fish block hormone receptor sites, particularly testosterone and thyroid, in susceptible individuals. A chemical known as xenoestrogen found in pesticides, insecticides, plastics (PCB, BPA, phylates), VOC paints, cleaning supplies, and foods preserved with BHA, is a known endocrine system disruptor. Xenoestrogen, a foreign estrogen, mimics estrogen in the body, again blocking hormone receptor sites. Some research has implicated xenoestrogens as the cause of precocious puberty and ADD in children.
The good news, hormone balance can be achieved, once the imbalance or imbalances are identified. A complete work up must include blood test, hormone testing, plus a detailed history and physical. Testing for neurotransmitter levels, heavy metals, vitamin and mineral levels may also be indicated.
As nutritional deficiencies can affect hormone production, any deficiencies identified can be addressed with vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and /or precursor hormones. Sometimes, a combination these items, plus, prescriptions for natural thyroid and/or bio-identical hormones are necessary. Once any hormone imbalance is corrected, a healthy lifestyle, which includes the Hamptons Diet, stress management, reduced chemical exposure, adequate sleep and exercise, will help you to continue to feel great, and stay IN Balance.