The symptoms of hormone imbalance may vary from person to person and will typically evolve over time. Often as the symptoms evolve women will have a tendency to think that the symptoms are “just the way it is,” or due to stress, or getting old. Women often do not know how bad they have feel… UNTIL they feel better, with the correct hormone balancing. Women often experience what feels like pre-menopausal symptoms long before menopause. Women can have hormone and imbalance in their hormones anytime from the time they start their period. For example, a woman may experience hot flashes or night sweats in the PMS time period or vaginal dryness after delivering a baby. Additionally, women may continue to experience menopausal symptoms for years after their last period, and often they do not ever go away without hormone therapy.
Some hormone imbalance symptoms include:
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Weight gain (mostly mid-section)
• Headaches- tension/migraine
• Muscle and Joint Pain
• Fibromyalgia symptoms
• Insomnia or Wakefulness at night
• Mood swings/Depression
• Loss of ZEST for life – lack of enthusiasm
• Irritability (feeling “mean”)
• Difficulty concentrating or following a conversation
• Memory Loss or loss of thoughts/words
• Low Stamina
• Loss of sexual drive
• Reduced orgasms and sexual functioning
• Vaginal dryness or loss of lubrication
• Bladder infections and vaginal pain
• Premature skin aging and skin changes
• Loss of Skin Elasticity, excessive skin wrinkling
• Loss of Head Hair
• Facial Hair
• Loss of vision
Testosterone deficiency in Women:
Testosterone is a hormone that is generally considered to be important for men, but did you know it is also a vital hormone for women to maintain a high quality of life? The symptoms of low testosterone in women are often passed off as just part of getting older, but they shouldn’t be.
Testosterone deficiency symptoms in women include:
Fatigue and Exhaustion
If you’re constantly tired, even when you’re able to obtain a full night’s sleep, you could be experiencing one of the symptoms of low testosterone in women. Decreased testosterone levels may contribute to you feeling exhausted and drained.
You may even find it difficult to sleep through the night. Disrupted sleep is another common symptom for women with low testosterone. A healthy hormonal balance is key to achieving consistent, restful sleep.
Weight Gain & Difficulty Losing Weight
Many women with low testosterone experience loss of muscle and progressive weight gain. Midlife weight gain is so common that women often assume it’s just part of getting older, but if you are appreciating the inability to control your weight or have changes in muscle tone and bone density, you may be exhibiting symptoms of low testosterone.
Decreased Interest in Sex
Just like in men, testosterone affects sexual arousal in women. Low testosterone can affect women’s sex lives. Women may experience reduced sex drive or “libido”. Women may experience vaginal dryness, which causes painful intercourse. Women may experience a general lack of interest in sex
Mood Swings, Depression and Low Mood
If you are experiencing sudden bouts of depression, unexplained mood swings, or a generally low mood, then you may be suffering from low testosterone. Testosterone plays an important role in mood regulation in the body, and low levels of testosterone can play havoc with the body’s ability to regulate itself. If you are considering taking antidepressants to deal with your depression, then you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility that your testosterone is low. Even if you are not experiencing severe depression, you may still be having unpredictable mood swings, or even just a general “low” feeling, or low mood. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of low testosterone.
Another possible symptom of decreased testosterone levels is anxiety. Although anxiety caused by low testosterone is usually mild, it can possibly cause panic attacks. If you suddenly experience bouts of anxiety, especially if you have never had anxiety issues in the past, then you may want to talk to your doctor about low testosterone. According to this article, “These mood-related symptoms, like anxiety and depression, occur because testosterone plays an important role in mood and neuropsychiatric regulation, and hormonal fluctuations can cause changes in brain chemistry that trigger symptoms.”
If you find that you are having difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, especially when you have always been able to concentrate easily on the task at hand, then you may be suffering from low testosterone.
Hair loss is one of the more obvious symptoms of low testosterone, so keep an eye out for any hair loss, on your head or otherwise. Although hair loss from low testosterone will be most obvious on the head, hair loss on other areas of the body may also occur. If you notice that you have to shave your legs and armpits fewer times per month than normal, or if you notice that your hair is getting patchy, you may be suffering from low testosterone. According to this article, “Hair loss is one of the more visual symptoms of low testosterone as the hormone supports healthy hair production and maintenance"
Testosterone deficiency in men has become more prevalent in recent years.
Healthy men continue to produce testosterone throughout their lives, but at a slowly decreasing rate. Young men have high levels of testosterone and older men have lower levels.
Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer or BPH. If testosterone were the cause, young men (who have much higher levels of testosterone than old men) would be suffering from enlarged prostates and prostate cancer. Studies show that older men with the highest level of testosterone have the least prostate enlargement. Conversely, men with the highest level of estrogen have enlarged prostates.
As most men age, the level of estrogens, estrogen look-alikes and xenoestrogen toxins in their bodies rises. Declining testosterone from aging, together with this increasing level of various estrogens, is the most likely cause of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer in men.
Over a third of all men over the age of forty show some symptoms of testosterone deficiency. They are middle aged and older men who have symptoms associated with low testosterone levels but do not have primary or secondary hypogonadism. Their symptoms are often non-specific, and can be further complicated by pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and other chronic illness.
Symptoms of low testosterone in men:
• Low energy and lethargy
• Loss of head hair and body hair
• Muscle strength diminished
• Muscle bulk/mass decreased
• Insomnia, wakefulness at night
• Fat gain mid-section, belly fat
• Change of body shape, with increased abdominal fat and rudimentary breast development (man boobs)
• Mood changes, ill temper, depression, loss of feeling of wellbeing and optimism. Poor memory performance
• Decreased cognitive status, mental acuity and clear thinking
• Lack of focus and attention
• Erectile Dysfunction - difficulty getting and maintaining an erection
• Low Libido loss of sexual interest
• Low sperm count in semen
• Osteoporosis or decreased bone mineral density
Causes of / risk factors for low testosterone in men:
• Vitamin D Deficiency
• Stress – Adrenal Fatigue
• Excessive adrenaline production/usage with stress or sports or work
• Lack of regular exercise and lack of regular sex. Both these activities help in stimulating the body's production of its own testosterone.
• Pharmaceutical drugs (including glucocorticoids, opiates, anabolic steroids, blood pressure meds, heart meds, antidepressants)
• Severe trauma, illness, burns or major surgery
• Testicular damage (primary hypogonadism) • Klinefelter's syndrome (when males have an extra X chromosome)
• Cryptorchidism (the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum)
• Problems during testis development (twisted or strangulated testes)
• Orchitis (inflammation of the testes)
• Orchidectomy (testes surgically removed) • Toxic damage (radiation, chemotherapy, industrial or environmental toxins) • Brain disorders (secondary hypogonadism)
• Pituitary gland malfunction
• Hypothalamus malfunction
• Kallmann's syndrome (genetic disorder of sex glands)
• Haemochromatosis (Blood iron excess disorder)
• Brain tumor
Benefits of Balanced Hormones:
Finding the right hormone balance offers women and men significant benefits, such as more energy, better sleep, stabilized moods, support in aging physically, emotionally and mentally. Research has also shown that hormone therapy improves overall health by reducing risk of disease.
Late in 2015 the results of the Veteran’s Study found that men who had documented low testosterone and were treated with testosterone therapy experienced a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) early 2-16 found that testosterone therapy improved mood, sexual health, and physical fitness in men. For women, there have been thousands of studies over the years that have shown lower heart disease with early onset treatment at the time of menopause, osteoporosis protection, dementia protection, reduction in colon cancer, and reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms associated with low female hormones (which are the same hormones as men but in different ratios). In March of 2016, the results of the highly anticipated ELITE study published in the NEJM - found that women who begin hormone therapy early in their menopausal years' experience a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hormones from specific glands are tested and identified to either be in or out of the OPTIMAL range. The optimal range AND balance of all hormones create the greatest resolution of symptom relief, disease prevention, and patient satisfaction.
The following glands and hormones are tested and balanced:
• Ovaries • Estrogen • Progesterone
• Thyroid hormones: TSH, Free T3, Free T4
• Reverse T3 (when necessary)
• Thyroid antibodies (when necessary)
• Adrenal Hormones
The interest in a more natural approach to hormone therapy has focused attention on bioidentical hormones- hormones that are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women and men make in their bodies. They’re not found in this form in nature but are made, or synthesized, form a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy. Bio-identical hormone therapy is often called “natural hormone therapy” because these hormones act in the body just like the hormones we produce naturally. The body cannot distinguish between bioidentical hormones and the ones that the body makes. On a blood test for hormones, your estradiol (estrogen) or testosterone or progesterone will reflect what you are taking and what your body is continuing to make. If a man or women were to take a non-bioidentical hormone, that is not identical to the chemical structure of their own hormones, it would not show up on the hormone blood test. These hormones can be compounded (made up in a pharmacy by a certified compounding hormone specialist) into creams, gels, capsules, sublingual drops or troches, pellets (placed under the skin.) There are pharmaceutical hormones manufactured by companies that are also bio-identical (but not plant based) that are available.
The following hormones are prescriptions and should be customized to meet the individuals needs:
• Pituitary Hormones
• CSH • TSH • FSH/LH
Brain Chemistry can be tested to evaluate how the neuro-brain chemicals are interacting positively or negatively to the female hormones.
Vitamin and Mineral Testing:
Vitamin and mineral testing is helpful to identify levels that might be low causing problems with continued symptoms:
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin B12
I'm • Folic Acid (and others)
• Iron (to determine if the body is absorbing and storing iron well for optimal energy)
• Inflammation markers (to determine how the diet and genetics are working for optimal aging, gland functioning, chemistry, cholesterol, and less body pain.)
Each patient is treated individually to find their perfect balance. This is often referred to as “putting the puzzle together.” This treatment is meant to help the patient not only conquer the symptoms of hormone decline, but stave off age related, hormone decline induced diseases and disorders.
The integration of diet, movement/exercise, improved sleep habits, and nutritional supplements are all part of how men and women achieve their most optimal results physically, mentally and emotionally. The age-related benefits of hormone and life balance are tremendous. Working with a certified hormone practitioner who truly understands the intricate balance between the hormones, what tests to order, and how to interpret and treat men and women, is of utmost importance if optimal results are to be achieved.